Filmmaker Feature: Moose Huerta

The short film “THE END IS THERE” began as a personal return on investment analysis of weekend summer surf in Montauk. Shot entirely on an iPhone, the footage catalogs the weekend waves at Ditch Plains Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 2010. Within the course of the summer the project evolved into a video back-drop for a dialogue between NYC transplant, Moose Huerta and Montauk local, Grant Monahan. The two were introduced through the recent passing of their mutual friend Andy Kessler. During the film they discuss and theorize the right and wrong ways to assimilate into a tight knit coastal community.

What is your background and relationship with surfing?

I grew up in Florida at the beach. I started surfing by trying to stand up on a raft at age 8, and then graduated to a surfboard by age 10.

What inspired you to make this short film?

Unless you have “fuck you money,” it is a major financial sacrifice to afford time in Montauk. The project started as a study for me to see for better or for worse how good or bad the waves were going to be this past summer.

Why did you choose to move from California to a place where the waves cost you an average of $55 per session (according to your calculations)?

It is $55 is because its a second home.  Rockaway is just a $2.25 subway ride.  As far as NYC I wanted to see if I would sink or swim.  So many people told me moving to NYC was a horrible decision.  It’s turned out to be one the best and most pinnacle decisions I’ve ever made.  It’s like people that talk shit on shortboarding. Can you get to your feet on a standard shortboard? If not then you ride a retro board out of necessity not out of choice.

What’s your take on the increasing “cool factor” of surfing in NYC mainstream culture?

Its a lot of city talk.  I’ll be in meetings where people will be talking about how the waves were 8ft (4ft really) and how it was pumping and tubing, all of the time implying that they were surfing it. I’ll see them at the beach and they will have the wackest style or can barely get to their feet.  But I think its because surfing in NYC takes a lot of initiative.  Its not like you can just paddle out down the street.  You spend a lot of time dreaming and wanting.  The desire comes from a very pure place, but at some point ego checks in.  And if there is anything NYC will teach you there is always a bigger fish than you right around the corner.  Just as with surfing there is always someone that can make you look like its your first time in the water. But when you have the buffer of traffic and a commute.  You feel a little bit safer embellishing your talent.

Are you a hipster surfer?

The hipsters call me a yuppie, and the yuppies call me a hipster.  So I’m kind of like a man without a country. Back in the mid 90’s I only rode shortboards and waited for Taylor Steele movies to come out.  But I specifically remember having the conversation with my friend Keith. Talking about how Joel Tudor was the Les Claypool of surfing.  How he took something so bulky and conventional and did stuff with it that beyond being beautiful just outright blew your mind. That opened my mind to new equipment, so back then my friends called me a hippy which slowly has evolved into being a hipster over the course of 15 years.  Escaping through the doggy door on a beach break closeout still gives me that the surf is going off and I’m driving to the beach listening to Pennywise feeling all over again.

There seems to be increasing tensions in the world’s lineups between longtime locals and new surfers moving in. Having been both in your life what do think causes this? What advice do you have for newbie surfers looking gain acceptance?

People are territorial by nature in any community, work, neighborhoods, restaurants etc…… Like anything in life be respectful, be humble, be appreciative.  You don’t walk into a restaurant sit down for 1 minute and say “where the hells my server?”, especially if you intend on the that being your local spot.  But don’t just be polite because you want something out of it.  It’s just a better way to live.

Check out Moose’s blog at http://www.charlesvansant.com

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