Surfwise: The Amazing True Odyssey of the Paskowitz Family
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In this new film he paints a one-third celebratory, two-thirds tragic portrait of the Paskowitz family, a once-legendary surfing clan whose patriarch, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz dropped out of mainstream society in the late 1950s, to follow a near-absolute rejection of modern materialism. Paskowitz and his wife traveled anywhere on a whim for over a decade, surfing up and down the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of North America, surfing, having lots of sex and making lots of babies. In all, the Paskowitzes had nine children, eight boys and one girl, and raised them outside the confines of "straight" life. Instead of going to school, the children surfed, and were reared according to their father's bold, yet ill-defined personal ethic.
Although Doc's decision to drop out preceded the hippie movement by almost a decade, his family's journey intersected with the 1960s hippie-era rejection of cultural norms, and with the "Me Generation" self-absorption of the '70s. But while these larger cultural shifts were widespread, the choices of the Paskowitz family were much more far-reaching and severe than most of the counterculture types of the time. With no fixed income and a total abandonment of the American work ethic, the Paskowitzes were both legendary and tragic. As the children came of age, the strains of traveling together in a small camper intensified, and the family fragmented and fell apart.Read more ›
Dorian Paskowitz was 84 years old when "Surfwise" was made and still very much a passionate and controlling man, and still surfing. His children are all grown and living very different lifestyles from the one in which they were raised. Director Doug Pray tries to construct a picture of what it was like to be a Paskowitz, living the ideals of a single-minded patriarch in a crowded camper, and what its lasting effects were through archival home movies and interviews with Dorian and Juliette Paskowitz and all 9 of their children -7 boys and 1 girl- and Dorian's siblings. We also get an impression of the family's iconic stature and influence on surfing culture through interviews with "The Surfer's Journal" founder Steve Pezman and some big names in competitive surfing.
The Paskowitz children talk about the benefits and disappointments of their itinerant, impoverished lifestyle, isolated from most of American culture.Read more ›
All of the kids grew up with various "baggage" due to the unorthodox upbringing, and the father is a rather magnetic, charismatic character.
The cinematography here is great - you feel you are out in the ocean, in the surf, and can see how this aspect of nature would be seductive. SURFWISE raises questions about the tradeoffs involved in turning your back on the conventional path that society beckons you to follow - the good and bad features, the frayed nature of family ties, the family love that can (at least temporarily) transcend differences and childhood trauma.
Whether you endorse or abhor the lifestyle depicted in this documentary, SURFWISE is an excellent movie!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a good movie. Get's a little preach towards the end as he slips in his opinion about environmentalism but still good.Published 8 days ago by Norbert
Good documentary of true surfers, nothing sugarcoated, just real life. Obviously these are not people trying to get rich of a simple film. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kirk
A family of 11. A mid-size camper. A father determined to haul his family cross-country hither and thither depending on his whims. Living the free life. A life without a taxes. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mylz
What an amazing family, story and way of life. I actually watched it twice! Fascinating and inspiring.Published 11 months ago by Muriel Mercier
Great movie true story about an unusual family and unusual father centered around surfing and whole foods. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Michael L. Shoen