NorCal Edition - Quick Update | Jan 25, 2010


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  • Win Film Tickets to "Sea of Darkness,"  the true surf tale of drugs, pirates & discovering Lance's Rights and G-Land.
  • Film Fest:  SF Ocean Film Festival's Surf Films + Sea of Darkness review
  • Save Sloat! - TODAY! Town Hall Meeting, 7pm, Monday 1/25
  • Film News: Pat Farley in "Last Paradise" at X-dance

  • Surf Contest:  The Big, Bad & Ugly, Feb 13-14, 2010
  • Tribute:  Phil Matthews Passes Away
WIN *TICKETS* to  Sea of Darkness!
Score TWO passes to the San Francisco Ocean Film Fest's Surf Program next Friday, Feb 5!

Don't miss "Sea of Darkness" & other surf films below next week.  To enter, simply reply to this email with your favorite local surf shop and briefly why they're your go-to store. Include your cell phone.   ENTRY DEADLINE: Enter by this Thursday, Jan 27, 12 noon PST.   Ticket winner will be chosen randomly & notified by email or phone. 

SEA OF DARKNESS:  the must-see documentary


"SEA OF DARKNESS" with SurfBus and Bicycle Trip.  Q&A follows.


Don't miss an amazing lineup of surf films, marking the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival's first dedicated program to the sport.  Tickets are only $12 for this action-filled Friday evening featuring 3 independent surf films from Michael Oblowitz, Sachi Cunningham (a former San Francisco resident) and Santa Cruz's Patrick Trefz. A Q&A session follows with each of the filmmakers.


In addition to the Surf Film program, be sure to check out the other 51 wonderful ocean films showcased in the Festival during February 3-7.  There are films about sharks, rowing the Atlantic, whaling, swimming SF Bay, and much, much more.  The film on renowned shaper/surfer Gary Linden, "Shaping A Life"  is Friday Feb 5 at  1:00pm.

Shaping A Life


What:       San Francisco Ocean Film Festival's Surfing Program
When:       Friday, February 5, 2010, 7:00pm
Location:   Theatre 39 next to the Aquarium of the Bay, The Embarcadero and Beach Street, San Francisco
More info:  | Film Programs |  Tickets


MAX'S REVIEW: Sea of Darkness

(USA) By Michael Oblowitz (88 mins)

Rating:   (4.5 out of 5)

Sea of Darkness is a riveting, dark documentary about the 1970s' surf exploration and discovery of the Mentawais, G-Land and other legendary spots along the remote Indonesian coastline.  This true, modern pirate tale covers the different paths taken by surfers Mike Boyum, Martin Daly, Shaun Tomson, Jeff Chitty and Peter McCabe to support their surf addiction and how their lifestyles gave birth to multinational surf companies like Quiksilver and Billabong.  Doing whatever it took to maintain their indulgent surfing lifestyle, they all suffered the consequences.  For one who disappeared into the jungle like Joseph Conrad's character, Kurtz, the consequences proved fatal.  Caution:  adult language and situation

 “I highly recommend this film for anyone with an interest in the beginnings of surf exploration history.  This film divulges fascinating and shocking stories about the 1970s' discovery of remote Indo surf spots.  The surf pioneers reach a fork in the road -- one side leads to instant gratification; the other is a long hard road to legitimacy.  Shaun Tomson and Martin Daly went one way; Mike Boyum, Jeff Chitty and Peter McCabe went another.  A dark chapter in surf exploration history.  In the 1970s Mike Boyum discovered for the surf world, G-Land, the Mentawais Islands and Cloud 9.  He was also on the run. That fork in the road comes up every day.
Parental guidance is suggested for mature content. Enjoy extensive interviews and archival footage.  The classic rock soundtrack featuring Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan may or may not be released with DVD.  DVD release date TBD. 
Sections of this Indo story were heavily edited due to strong legal pressure.  I recommend staying for Q&A with the highly entertaining director/surfer Michael Oblowitz – you’ll get more colorful stories  that won’t show up on the DVD.

- Max Tom, Zuna's Surf Flix editor

Sea of Darkness is produced, written, and directed by Cape Town native Michael Oblowitz, who avidly surfs Venice Beach, California daily.  Oblowitz is known for directing Steven Segal films "Out for a Kill" and "The Foreigner," as well as shooting early music videos and commercials starring David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Santana, and other musicians. 

Check out more articles on Sea of Darkness here:


Preceding Sea of Darkness are 2short films:


(USA), By Sachi Cunningham, 3 mins


Inner city kids in Southern California discover the Pacific with a little help from their friends and surfer Mary Setterholm, founder of LA Surfbus. It’s the chance to leave behind their sometimes gang-oriented East L.A. neighborhoods and “get their game on" in a joyous lesson that surf can trump turf. Their journey to the coast is a matter of miles, but could signal the start of a voyage of a lifetime.
(-SFOFF's mary jane schramm)

Bicycle Trip
(USA), Patrick Trefz, 14 mins

The Santa Cruz mountains, city, and shore form the backdrop for this easygoing depiction of a young man’s (and his surfboard’s) journey from mountains to sea. The cinematographer’s clever eye for geometric forms and feelings delivers a tapestry of artfully crafted visuals and sound. Stars Santa Cruz's Peter Garaway. 
(-SFOFF's mary jane schramm)

TODAY: Rally to SAVE SLOAT!  Community Meeting, 7pm, Monday, January 25

Given the recent storms, big swells, and resulting erosion, the SF Dept of Public Works (DPW) issued a “declaration of emergency” last week to protect the bluff just south of Sloat. The Great Highway between Sloat and Hwy 35 is currently CLOSED, and DPW has been dumping sand to temporarily buffer the eroding cliff line at the highway and parking lots.


If you are interested in making your voice about saving Sloat, please join Save the Waves and Surfrider SF at  the San Francisco  “Town Hall” meeting TODAY, Monday January 25th at 7pm at Park Chalet, behind Beach Chalet at 1000 Great Highway. DPW Project Manager Frank Filice (along with possible Boards of Supervisors members)  will be there to discuss the emergency declaration, the short-term strategy, and a process for a long term solution.  More Meeting info & RSVP here.


The Great Highway beach erosion is a decades-old problem, whereby the local community has devoted countless volunteer hours to making specific recommendations that for years have gone largely ignored.  Both Save the Waves and Surfrider Foundation SF have joined forces on a “Save Sloat” campaign and advocate sensible, sustainable solutions to save and protect Sloat, while maximizing beach access and maintaining its ecological integrity.   The biggest imminent concern is that the City will resort to dropping large rocks & rip rap on the beach just south of Sloat, a misguided approach likely to make the problem worse.  For more pics and info, see Save the Waves' stance and  Surfrider SF's Sloat blog.

FILM NEWS: "Last Paradise"

Santa Cruz surfer Pat Farley was recently featured in the New Zealand 35mm film, Last Paradise, at the X-Dance Film Festival, which screened this past weekend.   Last Paradise will be shown twice at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, February 6 & 9

View Trailer


Shot in the remote wilderness of New Zealand, the film is a story of "when necessity was the mother of invention and where a maverick bunch of kids pioneered numerous extreme sports on the roads less paradises which have long since gone, but for one.”  The film includes 45 years of stunning original footage.


Last year at X-Dance, Farley was featured in the film Between The Lines, which received X-Dance's Best Documentary Award. PBS will be airing this Vietnam surf film nationwide this spring.

The Big, Bad & The Ugly Surf & Turf Invitational-
February 13-14 at Morro Bay, CA

The infamous longboard contest, "The Ugly," is the most challenging contest in the Coalition of Surfing Clubs' schedule. Hosted by Estero Bay Surf Club, this "often-a-big-wave" contest includes a golf tourney on day 2 at the Los Osos' Sea Pines Golf Course .  Proceeds benefit Ride-A-Wave, The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation and Project Surf Camp. 

Entry Fee: $65;  $30 for Grom/Menehunes | Adult Entry Form (word) (pdf) | Groms Entry Form (word) (pdf)





Sunday Jan 31 at the Milk Bar

DJ Surfer Spud will be spinning the killer surf tunes in between The Twang Tens, The Reefriders & The Blue Moodys this Sunday, January 31st, from 3-7pm at Milk Bar at `840 Haight, SF (across from Amoeba Records)



PHIL MATTHEWS, a longtime Pleasure Point surfer,  passed away at 2:30pm, Tuesday, January 13, 2010 while at home with his wife, K’lyn Matthews. He was 57. Matthews was widely known for his work with Pleasure Point Night Fighters, a club that has been preserving and protecting the Pleasure Point area since 1919.  The Night Fighters launched the early 1960s' Pack Your Trash cleanups, which evolved into larger beach cleanup trends.  The club has also been very involved in establishing housing development guidelines for the Santa Cruz county’s Pleasure Point Community Plan.  

Aside from running his house painting business,  Phil loved taking photos of the surf, sunrise and sunset, which he shared via his “Pic of the Day” emails to hundreds of subscribers, and on his website, Phil Matthews Photography.  Phil was also club photographer for the Big Stick Surf Association.  He occasionally contributed photos to Zuna Surf as well.

Club members are planning a paddle-out at Pleasure Point to pay tribute to Matthews.  A day and time has not been set.  The annual February St. Valentine’s Day Massacre surf contest – the leashless face-off between Santa Cruz’s Eastside and Westside --  will be dedicated to Matthews.  Read more about Matthews in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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