Morning of the Earth


Lustrous and mildly psychedelic 1972 Australian surf film made by Sydney photographer Alby Falzon. Along with coproducer David Elfick, Falzon secured a $20,000 grant from the Australian Film Development Corporation—an unheard-of bonanza for surf moviemakers. Morning of the Earth had no narration, subtitles, or plot, but was earthy and well-crafted nonetheless, with an excellent soundtrack. Surfer magazine described it as being "about the Garden of Eden, plus waves, minus serpent."

The featured Morning of the Earth surfers were mostly Australian, and memorable sequences included Queenslander Michael Peterson at his home break of Kirra; Terry Fitzgerald at Hawaii's Rocky Point; and former world champion Nat Young at Byron Bay, New South Wales. Young and a number of other Sydney-area surfers had at that time left the city for their short-lived but romantic back-to-nature "country soul" period, and Falzon framed the experience lovingly. Falzon also brought the long, perfect surf of Bali's Uluwatu to the screen for the first time, in a set piece with Rusty Miller and Stephen Cooney, setting off a period of Indonesian surf discovery that is ongoing.

Morning of the Earth was the most successful Australian-made surf movie up to that time, grossing more than $200,000 during its first domestic run. The Warner Brothers' soundtrack album sold well in Australia, with G. Wayne Thomas's "Open Up Your Heart" single hitting #1 on the charts.

In the late '90s and early '00s, Morning of the Earth became a touchstone for surfing's burgeoning "retro" movement; in 2004, Aussie writer and moviemaker Andrew Kidman produced a 14-page feature for Surfer's Path on the different board designs as seen in Earth. That same year, the movie was remastered for its long-awaited DVD release, which came with a 64-page booklet.

In 2007, Surfing magazine named Earth the second best surf movie ever made, following The Endless Summer.