“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”
For all surfers, the thought of riding the perfect wave and capturing it on film is something we dream about. So when my wife Marla asked me what I wanted for my 50th birthday (many moons ago), my immediate thought was to film a surfing movie with my “old” surfing buddies to recapture some of those glorious feelings about surfing!
I had been major stoked my previous three birthdays in early January surfing large Pacific storm swells at Steamers Lane on waves that never seemed to end. Steamers Lane at low tide on a strong January northwest swell is something you have to experience to understand how good it can be. It is a thick and powerful wave, which can go on longer than any ever ridden in my years of surfing. To ride a wave at Steamers all the way from outside around the point at Indicators and into Cowell’s Beach is a big-time thrill. With a minus low tide, you can walk most of the way back out on the sand to the point for a short paddle out. Since the rain-soaked storms in January were almost as guaranteed as the frigid water, this seemed to be a plan without fail for a real surfing movie.
With Marla’s support, I immediately contacted four close friends from my past whom I knew would be excited about the idea:
- Mark Magiera – I grew up with Mark in CdM (since 3rd grade), roomed together on Goldenrod Avenue, and shared many experiences surfing together and hanging out at 507 Marguerite Avenue (see Corona del Mar and Growing Up). Mark led me to Hollister Ranch, back when you could have your VW bus parked on the bluff at Rights and Lefts, which is exactly what we did! Mark, unfortunately, had a conflict and had to bow out of the HODADS filming.
- John Park – Founder of Clear Spirit Surfboards, John frequented San Onofre with my dad and I back in the late 1960’s when surfing really was about all we talked about (well, almost). Johnny led me to surfing adventures in our many trips to Baja back in the seventies and eighties and was a member of the infamous Mexican Miracle (see The Power of Prayer).
- Jack Schott – Jack was another former roommate who shared many a good day with me in the water, as well as being my loyal tennis partner. Jack was the best surfer I knew, and always seemed to stay out longer and catch more waves than I, in spite of having ten years on me! Jack came down with a horrible cold that weekend, sitting out one day, and then borrowing Gary Irving’s 10mm dive suit to finally get in for some action. And he still out-surfed us!
- John Davis – John was my one and only Silicon Valley high tech surfing bro at Sun Microsystems. Also 10 years my senior (are you kidding me!?), John and his wife Deb built the dream surf cottage on 38th Street in Santa Cruz with its own quiver room and a hot outdoor shower (with a bench seat to help extract the wetsuit). I am eternally indebted to them for that shower, as it is the only way I can get out of my wetsuit on a cold winter day. On our second day of filming John was not feeling well, and not catching waves. He left suddenly, drove home shivering and feeling chest pain. Long story short, he soon was in the Emergency room diagnosed with a heart attack. He had an angiogram that day to install a stint in the blocked artery! Not kidding.
- Gary Irving – was our key to this entire project as cinematographer and producer. I believe God sent Gary to us to do HODADS. He immediately understood what we were trying to accomplish and proceeded to invest untold hours into the final production of our movie, giving it the vital spark we were looking for. Considering the wave situation (see below), Gary did an unbelievable job producing what will someday be remembered as the surf movie to end all surf movies (pun intended). Unbeknownst to us, later that year in 2005 Gary married Paul Newman’s daughter, Nell Newman.
Huh? He never mentioned that one…
Despite some objections from the peanut gallery, I decided to title the movie “HODADS”, which in surfer terminology is a surfer without much skill (aka “kook!”). When you bring together five surfers whose combined ages cover some 270 years, I realized it would be serious HODAD surfing whether we wanted to admit it or not.
Gary filmed HODADS on the weekend of January 14th, 2005. As luck would have it, we had a freak lull for the entire weekend. Steamer’s Lane was so flat there was not a single surfer in the water on Saturday. So we pinned Gary and his camera equipment into a hotel room with unlimited pizza and beer to spend the entire day recording each of us recalling our early surfing days. On the second day, Gary let us in on a secret spot in Monterey Bay that “always had surf”. In fact, he was right! So we did get a couple decent surf sessions for Gary to film.
As John Wooden liked to say “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
This movie was all about being stoked with good friends, sharing some of our most precious times together, and enjoying God’s creation.
There are two parts to HODADS (the movie):
- Part I – HODADS (surfing): 10:40
- Part II – HODADS (surf stories): 12:50