Legendary surfer, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, abandoned a successful medical practice to withdraw from the lifestyle of mainstream America. But unlike other American searchers such as Thoreau and Kerouac, Paskowitz took his wife and nine children along for the ride, all eleven of them living in a 24-foot camper. The family spent their days living by Doc's rules on health, fitness, sexuality, and above all surfing. The Paskowitzs' prove that America may be running out of frontiers, but it hasn't run out of frontiersmen.
American history is filled with legendary characters who turned their backs on society, snubbing its conventions and opting for a simple, contemplative life. Like Thoreau. Kerouac. And.. Paskowitz? Well, actually, yeah. Surfwise
, director Doug Prays 2007 documentary, tells the decidedly offbeat tale of Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz. Now in his mid-80s, the guy who calls himself "one of the few dumb Jewish doctors" was once on a big-time career track; a Stanford-educated physician, he was the head of the American Medical Association in Hawaii, an expert surfer, and a strong, handsome man who often donated his services and was asked to consider a run for governor of that state. But more than 50 years ago, Paskowitz and his third wife, Juliette (his previous marriages had failed due to his own "sexual ignorance"), essentially chucked it all for the sake of family, surfing, and precious little else. They had nine children, all but one of them boys, and the entire brood lived in a 24-foot camper, traveling constantly. Money? There was precious little of that (although years later the family generated some income by establishing a popular surf camp near San Diego). Food? They managed, with Paskowitz enforcing a strict organic regimen. School? "Education be damned," Doc said, and not one of the children ever attended classes regularly. To outsiders, it was an idyllic life; "we were not attached to the physical world at all," says one of the (now middle-aged) kids today. But the downside was deep. Crammed into their tiny space, the children watched and listened as their parents noisily made love every single night (not a great thing for the kids own later sex lives). Driven--and sometimes abused--by their ultra-controlling, narcissistic dad, they became excellent surfers but were ill-prepared for adult life when finally, in their 20s, some of them began to leave "home." Remarkably, they all seem relatively (so to speak) fine now, with real jobs in surfing, music, and the film business and a fairly clear perspective on their strange upbringing ("Dont do anything a gorilla wouldnt do" was one of Docs mantras). Extras include outtakes, commentary, surfing footage, and more. --Sam Graham