Seeking For A New Port is a film project by friend and fellow Canadian, Marc-André Laurin. Below, Mark shares his latest travels through California:
“California marked the third area for us to document on our “Seeking For A New Port” project a trip from Alaska to Central America interviewing and documenting people in and out of the surf communities relationship with computers and Internet vs their natural surroundings”
After driving down Oregon’s coast, we finally arrived in California with high expectation; surf had been almost absent in the last state we visited and as a Quebec surfer, Cali has always been a symbol of the promise land.
First stop, Crescent City. I never thought Northern Cali water would be colder than Alaska… A couple of double over toe waves later, we figured out we had to increase our longboard skills… Three days of sleeping in a supermarket parking were enough, time to move on.
Eureka, miracle. Humboldt County… well you all heard about their “gold” thing… An early fall swell decided to show up and we tasted a bit of Northern Cali’s beach breaks. While coming in from a late night session, we met Craig Spjut, a kind of surfing pioneer who knows exactly the mileage from his house to Mavericks… that type of big wave cool dude. Foggy morning, local brewery, we stayed for a week in Mr. Spjut driveway and shared surf sessions with our new mentor, everyday. We also had the opportunity to dig in his more than complete Surfer Magazine archive hidden in the attic of his old shop… amazing moment… I found the January 93 issue with Charles Skultka Jr, that we previously met in Alaska, leading Little, Mulcoy and friends on an exploration of “the last frontier”.
Getting real, Santa Cruz. Point Arena, Salmon’s Creek, San Francisco, nothing was working properly til we hit Santa Cruz where a south swell was giving a good time to all the point break surfers of the region. We surfed a couple of days, did our dishes in beach’s washrooms and got our ass kicked out of our secret parking spot when the city police discovered our comfortable nest. Time to move on!
Dane’s region. No Ventura fun for us, no Rincon. Only tons of RV’s parked along the road. Pretty disappointing. We figured out that maybe Huntington could be our next stop just to take a shot of the famous pier. Few miles later, we were about to understand, or not, why so many people surf there. Huge crowd in the water for knee high powerless waves… but I guess I would do the same if I was living that close to an ocean! A quick stop to the surf museum, quick. Tasteful Cali, finally.
The Hurley Pro was a “side quest” to our trip; I knew that filming the event could lead me to some quality meetings. I filed the documents online, to get the press pass and we were ready to hunt! I had never been to Lowers before, and I never tried to park an RV at Lowers before… Really glad that we attached two really old school bicycles to our RV so we were able to make the trail quicker… with cumbersome camera gear. I first met Taylor Ivison, a cameraman from VERB TV, a local action sports channel, who introduced me to PT. In between two heats, I met him, did the interview and like every unique opportunity, the compact flash card, God made his appearance and corrupted half of the interview. FUN. Once the circus was done, it was time for us to get wet. 6 hours straight session. Lowers was good. Highlight; a really late night session in phosphorescent waves, bio luminescent water. Hanging out in Starbucks for their precious free Wi-Fi, and we met Jeff Read, now homeless, who lost everything in the stock market. He gave us some nice street survival knowledge. That was a really inspiring moment. We invited him for a dinner, red wine included, in our RV and shared stories for a while. That was his first complete hot diner with also social exchange in a long time…
SD, OB & PB. From a prior contact of a Canadian friend, Bryson, we were welcomed in Ocean Beach by a pretty rad girl, Anna. Thanks to her we got San Diego area party scene knowledge. This is how we ended up drinking at Pacific Beach Music Fest at Vokab Kompany outdoor show. Solid band, sunset as a backdrop; hype. To prevent alcohol abuse, we decided to do other sports and explore SD Balboa Park on our bike. This is where I met “Botanic Bob” who taught me bow hunting at the archery field in the middle of the park. Tons of fun. We spoke about my documentary, had a “fauna and flora” oriented talk and I discovered he was in fact a SDSU Botanic teacher. He told me how teaching and studying had changed in the last 15 years because of the use of computers; before, the last exam consisted in flie reproduction and killing one of them was a straight fail. Now they simulate it on computer and if you kill one of your artificial non existing fly’s, you’ll just, Ctrl+Z, undo the last move…
From SD, I also drove back in Costa Mesa area to meet Mark Price, Firewire Surfboards CEO, who was a contact from GOTSURF partner Pat Lacroix. I felt a bit like a kid on Christmas day; being in a surf company’s warehouse is always a glory moment! I found out that Mark was a really balanced guy in between his technology fever and his vision of our relation with Mother Nature.
We drove back to OB for a couple of other parties, gave some love to the RV, took some Mexican insurance and we were ready for the 1000 miles of exploration of our next destination; Baja California.”
To see the Alaska and Tofino episodes of Seeking For A New Port and more info on the project go to www.seekingfornewport.com