Parker Hall’s “Dangerously Average” Film A Tribute to Nantucket’s Surf Community

Waverly Brannigan •

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Parker Hall

Composed of striking visuals from around the island, passionate narration, and spirited surfing, Parker Hall’s film “Dangerously Average” is an ode to Nantucket’s surf community. Three years in the making, the film is set to premiere this Friday, August 18th, at 8 p.m. at Dan LeMaitre’s Gallery at 26 Easy Street.

A Nantucket native, Hall has been surfing his whole life, exposing him to new countries, cultures, and people over the years. Hall explains that for him, surfing has helped him forge strong bonds with others and allows him to push his limits.

“Surfing is… a big part of who I am and it's been the most influential and motivating part of my life,” he says. As for his interest in film, Hall will be a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington this fall, where he is studying communication with a discipline in media production and a minor in entrepreneurship.

A screenshot from the film's opening credit

The idea for “Dangerously Average” was born about six years ago, while Hall was working for the Nantucket Island Surf School. While attending instructor barbeques hosted by the surf school’s owner, Gary Kohner, who showed collections of surf films at the gatherings, Hall was inspired to make a surf film of his own.

Watch the trailer for "Dangerously Average"

The following summer, Hall made “Dangerously Average: Volume 1”, a three-and-a-half-minute film showcasing the surf culture of Nantucket. By focusing solely on Nantucket’s surfers, Hall’s film defied traditional surf film conventions, focusing on the joy and camaraderie found within the local community rather than exclusively spotlighting professional athletes.

With an unwavering desire to create "Volume Two," Hall found an unforeseen opportunity during the COVID-19 lockdown. The pandemic-induced hiatus led to the unique convergence of factors, enabling Nantucket's surf community to reunite under some of the best surfing conditions the island had seen. With most of the world shut down, it allowed for many people to be available for filming, including Henry Michaelis and Katherine Goguen, who filmed much of the production.

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“It was the best, most consistent surf that anyone could ever remember on Nantucket and we ended up getting tons of video from all of that,” Hall recalls. However, the idea of capturing subpar surfing quickly changed, as the rare occurrence of good waves in the spring highlighted strong surfing in impressive conditions.

After an entire summer of filming in 2020, Hall delved into the editing process in the ensuing fall, using his personal touch to bring the film to life. This involved not only orchestrating and editing the visual elements but also scripting and narrating the film, which includes six chapters. “I just wanted the whole thing to come together the way I envisioned it and not try and rush it and knew that no matter what…I need to do it right, because I really just don't see the stars aligning like that ever again,” Hall reflected.

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More than anything, “Dangerously Average” is a love letter to Nantucket’s surfing community. While Hall is excited to share his film with the world, he emphasizes that it was made for the surf community. “I made it for the people who are in it and the people who helped make it, and it's for that community of people,” he said. The premiere will be the first time that anyone involved in the making of the film will see the footage, which Hall hopes will transport them back to the spring of 2020 when the surf was exceptional and the surf community was able to come together amidst a global pandemic.

“Dangerously Average” began as a tribute to the unglamorous, the casual moments between catching waves, and the camaraderie beyond the professional spotlight. Hall sought to showcase the “everyday” surfer, embracing the joy of surfing regardless of skill during a time when remaining connected to others was of the utmost importance.

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Hall hopes that sharing his film will allow Nantucket’s surf community to reminisce on the unparalleled surf conditions and strong bonds that were fostered during the lockdown in 2020 when passion and determination kept the surf community connected. “My goal is just to transport people back into that time and have something for us, something tangible, for the Nantucket surf community.”

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