It's about life - not "lifestyle"
It's taken me weeks to finally get around to writing this review, and not because I didn't enjoy this movie. There was something about it which left me a bit unsettled, and I think I finally figured out what it was. I'll get into that later, but don't let that keep you from watching SURFING FOR LIFE.

This isn't an action film at all, although it does feature surfing. What we have here is an examination of the impact of surfing on the lives of several men and women. Some are well-known, others less so. It explores and exhibits their enthusiasm for what surfing has added to their lives, and in some cases what some costs surfing (or perhaps more correctly their pursuit of the surfing life) has extracted from them. I would say, from memory, the youngest are in their 60's - the oldest was in his 90's.

There is going to be a link at the end of this article that will take  you to the SURFING FOR LIFE website, and specifically to their essay on the genesis of the project. This will tell you everything you need to know if you still need to decide about watching it. Beyond that I'll say my favorite part had to do with John Kelly - truly a man who understood our credo: It's about life - not "lifestyle".

What has held me back on writing this review for so long is, I think, a nagging feeling I had that the very age group of the featured surfers places them in something of a seperate reality from those who took up the sport after 1960. Many had the Hawaiian or Californian experience of pre-popularity; or maybe I should say "pre-media." It was a different world, and they belong as much because of accident of birth (in time) as their commitment (a word I'm growing to hate). But committed they are, and there lies the inspiration.

So if I really wanted to be Joe Film Critic, I'd say this is a good "first step" for the filmmakers. It's very well done and worthy of watching, especially if you have designs on surfing for life yourself. I say "first step" because after watching this I'd really like to see them take the subject down in age - maybe a film for each decade of life. The Forties, the Fifties, the Sixties - in age, not societal era. Something like this would take some time, but the material is out there and the benefits which could come from projects like this would be enormous.

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