Teenage surfing sensation set to become Scotland's latest film star

A Hebridean teenager is set to become Scotland’s newest film star – thanks to his love of surfing.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 11:59 pm

A new feature film is set to follow Ben Larg’s fortunes after he was crowned a Scottish champion at the age of just 12.

Nearly four years in the making, Ride the Wave will follow his travels from the windswept white beaches on the Isle of Tiree to surfing tournaments around the world before he takes on a mammoth 30 ft high wave in Ireland.

Due to be launched this summer, it will also paint a family portrait of Ben and his sisters Robyn and Lily, and parents Marti and Iola, as they run a waterports business from a beach hut.

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The documentary, made with the help of £106,000 in funding from government agency Screen Scotland, is expected to be showcased at leading film festivals around the world over the next few months after the final staged of editing are completed by director-producer Martyn Robertson.

A camera crew accompanied the teenager on his surfing exploits to Japan, Portugal, Lanzarote and Country Sligo in Ireland, where his high-risk attempt on a 30ft wave is captured on film.

Robertson said: “I’ve known Ben’s family for years having been a regular visitor to Tiree and had followed his exceptional talent as he grew up.

"He’d just been crowned the under-18s Scottish champion at the age of 12 when I started speaking to the family about the possibility of a film.

"The initial plan was to follow Ben and his dad Marti to the International Surfing Association world championships in Japan as a massive underdog, as he was the youngest competitor there, but it became clear that the world stage was beyond Ben at that point.

“It then became a story about an exceptional family who spend most of their time on the beach and Ben’s story of growing up with an exceptional talent but perhaps not quite fitting in on the island.

“It’s a film about boyhood, growing up, becoming an adult, the challenges of living in a remote community, and doing something exceptional against all the odds.”

Ben said: “I think I was on a surfboard for the first time when I was two and probably started surfing every day when I was six or seven. I took part in my first competition in Thurso when I was 10 and entered the Scottish championships the year after that.“It’s just a brilliant feeling catching and riding waves. Every time time you catch a good wave you want to catch a better one.“When you think of surfing you normally think of Hawaii or somewhere like that. But Tiree’s a brilliant place to learn - the waves are so good you can basically go surfing every day. It’s a great training ground for anyone who wants to start.”

The new documentary movie will follow the exploits of Hebridean surfer Ben Larg.

Ben Taylor, screen officer at Screen Scotland, said: “Ride the Wave is an incredibly exciting project. Ben, the subject of the film is an amazing talent and the film will give audiences a fascinating insight into the world of professional surfing and the personal sacrifices made by a young Scottish surfing prodigy and his family.”

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Ben Larg works at the family business Blackhouse Watersports, which operates from a beach hut on the Isle of Tiree.

Neil McIntosh

Editor

Ben's family run the Blackhouse Waterspots business from a beach hut on the Isle of Tiree.
Ride the Wave is expected to be shown at film festivals around the world this year.
Ben Larg was crowned a Scottish champion at the age of 12.