Taylor Steele Likes it Rough

Steel was still living at home, and made his new movie sitting in his bedroom, on a Mac II. It was 40 minutes long, and stripped to the bone. No slow-mo. No water shots. No narration, interviews, comedy bits, or scenics. Yet Momentum marked a generational change, just as Free Ride had done 15 years earlier.

Surfing was the most radiantly cinematic activity to ever light up a screen, but by the early 1990s, surf movies as a rule weren’t looking much better than America’s Funniest Home Videos. Quality took a nosedive in the previous decade as movies were replaced by VHS cassettes, and as filmmakers began shooting directly to videotape. With the release of 1992’s Momentum, San Diego’s Taylor Steele bec...

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