Verdict: 3 / 5
The film adaption of the teen novel of the same title, written by Leon de Villiers, revolves around Tiaan Nothnagel (Edwin van der Walt) coming to terms with the death of his best friend Dirkie Lawrence (Viljé Maritz).
Thick as thieves, Dirkie and Tiaan were inseparable. Little did they know that their mutual passion for surfing would bring great devastation; a freak drowning accident (that can be seen in the bonus features of the DVD). While dragging his best friend out to shore, Tiaan’s whole world crashes as he yelps with a face drowned in sorrow. He vows to give up surfing, as he can’t imagine finding joy in the waters that took his best friend from him.
It’s his matric year and being back at Valkberg without Dirkie feels empty. He is filled with anger as he can’t fathom how everyone acts like nothing happened. Tiaan withdraws and resorts to a brooding state that causes his grades to plummet. Meanwhile, he has to deal with the insufferable Dustin Jackson (Arno Greeff), who acts as the antagonist in this story.
Surprised by the return of Dirkie’s beautiful twin sister, Yvette (Reine Swart), Tiaan finds himself conflicted. He has obviously always had a crush on her, but her presence serves as an unwelcome reminder of Dirkie. She begs him to teach her how to surf – a promise she made to honor her brother’s memory and wish to compete in the Wave Seekers competition. Tiaan refuses to lose another friend to the ocean, so Yvette accepts the help of Dustin, who has ulterior motives.
In the midst of the untimely conflicts Tiaan is slammed with, be it with Dustin, Jasmine (Zakeeya Patel), Yvette, his parents and school psychiatrist Geyer (Neels van Jaarsveld), he finds a friendly face to lighten the tension. Easy going, and very likable Herman (Bennie Fourie), quickly befriends Tiaan and restores some much-needed humor to the plot.
Slowly Tiaan let’s go, breaking down the walls, and expressing his sorrow in some heart gripping, yet cute, scenes with Yvette, who continuous to hope that he’ll change his mind and surf again.
Surfing and surf films are no strangers to the South African shores. This being the first Afrikaans surf movie, it is easy to see why it drew a large audience. Velts handpicked a charismatic young cast that showcases a very natural and comfortable chemistry on screen. Throughout the film the audience is given flashbacks to their younger years, up until the point of the accident, creating an appreciation and understanding of why Dirkie is so missed. It is impressive to note that aside from Maritz, none of the main cast knew how to surf and had only a month to learn. Shot in the popular surfing town, Jeffery’s Bay, locals were all too happy to be part of Die Pro.
Unfortunately, the plot is interrupted by various subplots that don’t contribute enough to the main story. It’s a pity, as the performances in these subplots are noteworthy, but feel unnecessary. For example, the relationship with Geyer, a school psychiatrist with issues of his own, or Jasmine’s character, whom should serve as a sexy distraction and wedge between Tiaan and Yvette’s imminent relationship.
Regardless, it is an enjoyable film ideal for the whole family. Die Pro leaves you with a heartfelt appreciation for those you hold dear.