Surfing in Texas had a chance to watch One California Day over the weekend, and it is safe to say that this film will help you get into a California “State” of mind. With 34 million people, 1,100 miles of coast, and one state of mind, Mark Jeremias and Jason Baffa show you the parallels between 7 surfers in the State that they all call home. It gives a great perspective on a State that first started surfing in 1885. This heritage is often not recognized in surfing’s modern day culture, and it is a great experience to be able to take a journey back in time to a simpler way of becoming stoked.
The film is narrated by Devon Howard and stars:
- Joel Tudor in San Diego
- Chris Malloy in the Central Coast
- Alex Knost and Tyler Warren in Orange County
- Jimmy Gamboa in Malibu
- Joe Curren in Santa Barbara.
- Dane Perlee in Santa Cruz
- Tyler Hatzkian in South bay.
The film starts out with old and new images of California, with flashes of gridlock traffic to images classic surf imagery of Velzey and Jacobs original mailbox (at their surf shop) in true vintage form. One common theme is the film is that surfers need to “learn to share”, and to adopt the aloha spirit. The cinematography in the film will appeal to surfers and non surfers alike.
Skip Frye who is one (Joel Tudor’s heros) opens the film as he discusses his appreciation for the ocean. The film shows him picking up trash on the beach after a surf session in San Diego. Skip then talks about how much he admired Phil Edwards and Miki Dora for their style, and how he sees that smooth flowing style passed down to Joel Tudor.
We then see Tudor surfing various waves in San Diego, from overhead Blacks Beach, to Windansea, to Joel stand up paddle surfing with his friends. He describes the advice he received from his heros to “be a regular person and be nice to everyone” and to “not think you are a superstar”. Tudor lost his competitive surfing fire, and focuses most of his competitive spirit on Ju Jitsu.
The next scene cuts to Chris Malloy on a farm that looks like it is somewhere in Kansas. As a 5th generation Californian, Malloy finds California’s “Magic” away from cities. We see how agriculture is still a large and unnoticed part of California. Chris discusses how when they drive down to Baja they can find solitude that doesn’t exist in California. From potholes, police, to not knowing if you will have food or water available, you can do what you want to do down in Baja. Baja is the way California used to be, and as Malloy and company venture deeper into Baja you see them transforming back in time. Surfing various Baja beach breaks in Northern Baja, you follow them as they get access to private spot with a canoe, where they are the only ones to “possibly” have surfed there on those conditions. For surfers seeking solitude outside of the modern world, Baja will fill that void and then some.
The next stop during the day is Alex Knost and Tyler Warren in Orange County. They talk about how even though the gated communities have exploded everywhere, Surfing has changed little in some ways. You see them both surfing at Blackies, where there is an abundance of jive and personality.
Moving up the coast to Malibu, we see the new and fresh Jimmy Gamboa. He recalls when he was younger it was mellow surfing there, and now it’s a yuppie trendy place to live (Jimmy also loves the token speedo wearing Germans). Although crowded, he reflects that more people are sharing waves, and that he feels the “love”, almost like a church. If you are at Malibu he adds that up and down the beach you will hear “hey how are you”, and a lot of “right ons”. Modern Malibu is a refreshing spot, where people want to meet more people. You also see Jimmy take a trip to Venice beach, where Jimmy’s dad owns a barbershop and has worked there since he was 18. Jimmy gives you the vintage Hollywood surfer feel that many people associate the sport with.
Continuing up the coast we are taken to Santa Barbara, and see the dynamics of Joe and Tom Curren. Joe is the focus of the section, and views Santa Barbara as a suburb of LA, or “LA North”. With shots of the Sandspit break wall breaking 20 ft in air, it sets the tone for the heavy wave in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. We also see the “Queen of the Coast” Rincon, and it’s long right handed walls with Joe Curren tucked perfectly into their hollow barrels. While most people are familiar with Tom Curren (1st American to win the pro surfing world title), few know about his brother Joe (is also a pro surfer), who didn’t have competitiveness that his brother Tom had. Joe instead focused on photography, and is fascinated with the “whole process” of surfing.
Next we see Dane Perlee, in Santa Cruz, CA. Dane reflects that there is “a lot to the State”, and that most people don’t think of Santa Cruz as being halfway through California. With colder water, sharks, and jagged rocks, it is easier to find emptier breaks in Santa Cruz and to the North. We see Dane surfing in front of a desolate lighthouse, with a rocky shoreline (almost surfing slalom like through the giant boulders) without another soul in sight. Dane is a shaper at Pearson Arrow, and enjoys shaping a variety of boards. His favorite board is a “challenger aggressor model”, that reminds him to “keep an eye on the past, and other set on horizon”.
Dane takes a visit north to see Jed and Greg Noll. Greg, who was a surf pioneer and now living legend, was best known for his adrenalin and raw power that he had when he was one of the first people to take on some of the biggest waves ever surfed. He was also an influential manufacturer of surfboards in Southern California. Greg eventually moved North and became a commercial fisherman, and is currently passing down his legacy of shaping to his son Jed Noll. Jed will be known as “the authentic guy” according to his father Greg, and is currently shaping high quality boards (including shaping custom wood surfboards). It is great to get an insight to a legacy and tradition that will be carried down from generation to generation.
The film’s final scene heads back down to the South Bay, where we see the Velzey building, and shows the progress he made (he used to build surfboards under Manhattan pier). Tyler Hatzkian is and up and coming shaper, and is maintaining the “high bar” that was set by those before him. We see Tyler surfing a 40 year old board, and he likes to think of the board and it’s history. Almost as if the board could talk, it would be stoked to talk about it’s journey throughout time. Tyler shows his appreciation for surf legends like Lance Carson and Dale Velzy, and that he soaks up as much knowledge from those old school legends as possible. The scene concludes at Velzey’s passing, with a moving memorial at Doheny with a group paddle out.
One California Day ends with a montage of California in fast motion. With time lapses on the beach and in the urban cities, we see a montage of rain, storms, and back to the urban growth of the State of California. We see drainage pipes, then the clouds clear, followed by a sunset with a skateboarder riding across railroad tracks towards the beach. We are reminded that no matter how populated the region we live in may be, we can always find a simpler, more open, more primitive and satisfying way of life (if we are not afraid to look for it). The film closes with the orgins of waves, and how surfers watch for swells, and ultimately for that final moment of the breaking wave that we embrace. We play within the cycles of life, whether you are a surfer or not, this film will make you want to go out and find your moment. You can buy the DVD Here, and we highly suggest you pick this film up! Maybe all of you Texas Surfers will take a trip out West?
The Making of One California Day: