It’s easy to forget that, unlike many other popular sports, the idea of adventure for adventure’s sake is pretty new. Up to the early part of the last century, adventure as we know it was for reserved for the very few and/or very rich. It’s only since the end of World War II that a lifestyle based around freedom and adventure has become possible for the masses.
In a similar way to many other cultural shifts, it was the 1960’s that really changed things. Increasing opportunities for young people brought about new potential. Continental and world travel became possible and horizons were stretched. The Search For Freedom is a film about the adventure revolution. It’s about the great things that can happen when life is distilled down to the moment. Not the future, not the past, just the present.
Yvon Chouinard features in the Search For Freedom and I don’t think there’s really any one who better embodies the idea of an adventure revolution. As the world’s best known climbing and surfing bum, Chouinard crossed boundaries inn the 60’s and 70’s by fusing a ‘serious’ sport like alpine climbing who’s exponents often lay on the edge of society with surfing, to create a lifestyle based around freedom and adventure.
More recently the internet explosion has made experiencing other people’s adventures more accessible and immediate. On the one hand, all the high res images and 4k films serve to inspire more adventure, but in some ways it also takes freedom and adventure away. Everything is live and immediate and very little happens without everyone else knowing about it. The recent ascent of Dawn Wall is a great example, although I’m certainly not trying to suggest that Tommy’s and Alex’s experience on that climb was any less intense than it would have been if Twitter didn’t exist.
Pseudo accessibility can also bring danger, as the late, renowned ski mountaineer (American) Dave Rosenbarger notes:
Before social media, only a few guys would open fresh, new lines. Now, people are just following bootpacks. There’s tons of bad etiquette…with people saying exactly where they skied. Facebook is destroying skiing.
The internet, then, makes adventure more accessible. But in some ways, it also takes it away.
All this is hugely relevant to our industry as the quest for adventure is always a driving force for change and progression. It’s also a stimulus to get people outside doing stuff – whether that’s climbing, hiking, skiing, surfing or whatever.
The Search For Freedom starts showing at cinemas across America next month and it will no doubt be available to download soon after. That brings me round to another film along similar lines. Lives of the Artists was released a few years ago but it’s as enjoyable now as it was back then. An incredibly intense and beautifully edited film, it follows the lives of 3 different players from surf, snow and music culture. Check it out.