Watch Liam O’Brien and Toby Mossop in ‘TOBLOB’

During Covid-enforced downtime, Liam O’Brien (who you’ll remember from our Bright Young Things of 2020) and Toby Mossop decided to team up for a film project.

The result was full-length surf film TOBLOB—an amalgamation of both their names—shot around home on the Gold Coast, with a few Australia-based strike missions when restrictions allowed. It’s 18 minutes of domestic escapism (aka, the best within our borders) and you can watch it in full in the player above, and scroll on for more on the making of TOBLOB, courtesy of fellow filmmaker Beren Hall.

What was the motivation for the film and where was it shot?

Liam: We started slowly gathering clips about a year ago. We didn’t film religiously or have a set plan. We’d just shoot when the waves were fun around home, impromptu style. The vast majority of the clip is just on the Gold Coast. There’s also a little bit of stuff from some different parts of Aus and I was lucky enough to film in Mexico and the USA while overseas for an event.

Toby: LOB and I had been talking about doing a joint clip for a while now, but it was always hard because we were both chasing different things at the time. But then obviously Covid happened and we were both on the Gold Coast without being able to travel very far, so it made sense to start making the clip. It was a hard one to film though because we both had jobs, so linking up for sessions was a tough one sometimes. The majority of the film is shot on the Gold Coast, but there’s a few other spots we raced to when our domestic borders opened up. That was always a gamble because we weren’t sure if we would be able to come back home.

Why a combined edit instead of a solo project?

Liam: Since we were both stranded in Queensland due to lockdown, we were surfing together every session. When we’d shoot, it would be in the same conditions so it made sense to combine all of our clips into one video. One of my favourite surf films is The Dill and Beeg Project, too. Needless to say, that was a source of inspiration.

Toby: I mean, Lob is my favourite surfer, so having the opportunity to make something with him is super special. His surfing blows me away and I’m sure it does for many others that get to witness him doing his thing. He’s also one of my best mates and super easy to travel and surf with.

What’s your favourite thing about the other person’s surfing?  

Liam: Toby’s surfing is stylish and unique. I really like watching the way he approaches waves as he doesn’t seem to premeditate his rides. Instead, he just seems to react to the wave. It makes his surfing look really natural.

Toby: He’s fucken good at everything! His carves are tapped, his backhand is lethal and he can hog his way through a pit. The best thing is that he’s so humble about it. It’s rare to see him frothing on his surfing. When he went to the States for the comps this year, he snuck to Mexico for a few days and scored. When I asked him if he got any clips he was quick to tell me he hardly got anything. The bloke has a whole Mex session in the clip that’s fucked up. I was tripping.

In waves like you got in the last section, do you guys push each other in the water? Who gets more excited when it’s big?

Liam: Toby is maniacal when the waves are solid. He’s always been willing to have a dig. Despite that, he never seems phased or melodramatic. Just his casual relaxed self. He’s without a doubt always pushing me in big surf. I just try not to drown.

Toby: The little trip we did for the last section was super last minute. I sent him a message about it but didn’t hear back because he was at work, so I just booked it and hoped he could come. The next day we left and found ourselves scoring. Was worth it. Yeah, we push each other for sure. Lob gets super pumped if he sees a good wave. He will put on his wetty and get out there immediately. I get scared and nervous when I’m at a new wave and it looks gnarly. But he just fires up, so it’s really good to be with him. Always ends up getting me frothing. The last section was filmed in one day, it was a lot to take in.

Do you have plans to work on more film projects together?

Liam: Tobes is probably sick of working with me but I’d like to do another. Maybe even with a few more people involved. Working with other people on videos seems more enjoyable.

Toby: Yeah, I think we will try do something again when the world sorts itself out! But for now, I’m really hoping Lob nails it in the QS events overseas so he can qualify for the tour. He has worked so hard for it and he definitely would be able to hold himself against the best in the world. I’ve been filming for an ACSOD movie as well, so once that is done I might have to go caddy for Lob and try get the next clip rolling.

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