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Development   /  Jolyon Hoff

You Should’ve Been Here Yesterday

Australian surfing. Another look.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Jolyon Hoff

  • PRODUCER Craig Griffin



Irreverent yarns, tall tales, and stunningly restored footage from the lost Australian surf films will combine to uncover a social history whose influence reaches far deeper into Australian culture than you ever imagined. You’ll be surprised who turns up.

Between the 1950s and the 1980s, surf films were the biggest night in town. A ragged band of filmmakers raced around Australia capturing images to stoke the crowd and inadvertently documented Australia's naive exuberance and the surfer’s desire to live a more sustainable life.

Today, many of surfing’s more ambitious ideals have been lost. It’s time to take another look and decide; what do we want to keep and what do we want to leave behind?

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0% funded
  • $150,000.00

  • $0.00

  • December 2021

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Surfing has developed from an alternative lifestyle movement to become a beloved mainstream sport and an integral part of Australian folklore. It has also gained a reputation for sexism and white male aggression.

Our love of nostalgia, some cracking yarns, and the beautiful remastered 16mm film footage from the original surf filmmakers will combine in You Should’ve Been Here Yesterday to attract our audience. The film will take them to the very heart of our male-dominated surfing mythology to reflect on our mistakes and decide what we want to keep and what we want to throw away.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Surfing was one of Australia’s first alternative lifestyles. We will remind the surfing community of this history, and celebrate this beautiful time of adventure and naivety without ignoring our mistakes.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We’re encouraging people to re-discover and value the environmentalism, artistic self-expression, and positive ethics at the core of surfing. The revered films and images will give these ideas credibility in the broader surfing community and help challenge the more negative, aggressive and sexist behaviours. With surfing position at the ore of Australian mythology these ideas will then filter through to the broader Australian community.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

You Should’ve Been Here Yesterday will reach a large audience thanks to the popularity of surfing, the support of the surfing media, our social media channels, and our cinema release with Umbrella. It will contribute towards building a positive, diverse and ethical Australia by re-examining our recent history through the beloved and popular lens of Australian Surf Films and surfing.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have agreements with most key filmmakers of the era and are partnering with Umbrella Entertainment for the film’s cinema release.

We are working closely with the National Film and Sound Archive to access, prepare and rescan the materials and the film scanning is being supervised by film colour grading legend Billy Wychgel at Elements Post.

We are in discussions with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the National Maritime Museum about potential exhibitions.

Major online surf publications Surfline, Swellnet and Pacific Longboarder will present stories each month over the 18 months leading up to the release of the film.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

The film encourages the surfing community to look at themselves in new ways. By taking pride in the earliest values of surfing we expect to promote discussion in the surfing community. The film will ask difficult questions not just of surfing’s greatest heroes, but of all of us. These discussions will help create a more ethical surfing and Australian community.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will measure the Box Office, online traffic, editorial and community engagement, and provide the community with an online discussion platform via the Surf Film Archive.