Modern Collective

Generation-defining 2009 surf video, filmed and edited by 24-year-old Australian Kai Neville. The hour-long Mod Coll, as it came to be known, was beautifully photographed, sharply edited, and showcased the quantum leap that aerial surfing had taken over the previous decade.

Neville, a protégé of Momentum's Tayor Steele, edited the entirety of Modern Collective—his first film—on his laptop. Mod Coll starred Dane Reynolds, Dion Agius, Dusty Payne, Mitch Coleborn, Yadin Nichol, and Jordy Smith, performing mostly in disorganized near-closeouts, conditions which represented the kind of air-friendly waves that a new vanguard of surfing flyboys were hot for. It was a strange moment, in some respects. Transworld Surf's Chris Cote noted the wave-quality paradigm shift: "I understand why these guys prefer onshore shit waves in lieu of offshore perfection, but I do appreciate seeing blue water and glassy tubes. Maybe that's the old man in me."

Arthouse surf films of the previous generation had typically embraced a rootsy, soulful, slow-paced vibe; Neville rejected that approach and instead offered a hi-def, relentlessly-paced, electronica-backed package that would play comfortably as a video installation in a downtown art gallery. Modern Collective was organized by surf session, with locations including France, Japan, Australia, Morocco, and Indonesia. The film was lavishly praised by the surf media, and Neville—"the young Spielberg of surfing," according to one website—became, overnight, the most hyped filmmaker in surfing. 

Modern Collective was the 2010 Surfer Magazine Poll Award Movie of the Year.