Darcy Ward

Nonfiction: The Connor O’Leary Profile

About a year ago, while chatting via Facebook with Australian filmmaker Darcy Ward, I pitched Darcy the idea of collaborating on a project. At SURFER we were already all big fans of Darcy’s work, especially “The Set Menu”, Darcy’s piece on Luke Hynd, which was chosen as a Staff Pick on Vimeo in 2016. The vibrancy, quality, and clarity of Darcy’s edits stood out in a time where gritty, low-fi, garage vibe clips were flooding the internet.

As it turned out, Darcy had a couple of scores with Connor O’Leary already under his belt, and was prepping for a couple more strikes with him. And since the two were already tight friends, Darcy and I decided right then and there that we should work together to create a memorable piece on the (at the time) relatively unknown ‘CT rookie.

Because who is Connor, really? And where the hell did he come from? All we’d heard were the rumors. “Last year he was managing a surf shop!” “I heard he still teaches surf lessons on the weekend!” “He’s Ireland’s best surfer ever!”

Someone had to set the story straight. And so, “Nonfiction” was born. “Nonfiction,” an 8-minute biopic, dives into Connor’s backstory and gives us a closer look at his incredible climb, which saw him go from working at a surf shop and teaching surf lessons back in Cronulla (yes, some of the rumors were true) to winning the 2016 Qualifying Series and beating his heroes on surfing’s biggest stage — in less than 12 months.


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