In theaters across the country on March 28th legions of surfers, ocean-loving souls and fans of legendary Jack McCoy gathered for a one-night only showing of A DEEPER SHADE OF BLUE. Many familiar faces (and some very well-known) crowded together ready for a great show – and that’s exactly what was delivered. Careful research and 5 years of story development with countless hours of editing film and music was evident in this excellent finished product. No one can “talk story” about the soul of surfing better than the legends themselves.
It was easy to become so fully immersed in the video images – the color, the energy and the waves – that some of the dialog slipped past my conscious hearing. The soundtrack – want it! Here is one example of the music by Paul McCartney integrated perfectly with views most of us will never experience.
In an almost polar-opposite mood, an “Are you kidding me? Are they really riding that” segment showcased Marty Paradisis riding an insane monster of a wave with weird shapes and breaks found in the below freezing waters south of Tasmania. I was startled out of a mellow sense of soul and surfing and aloha by the juxtaposition of that gnarly – seemingly crazy – choice of wave. The audience gasped after the endless bone-crushing wipeouts delivered by that wave. Where was the soul connection we’d just shared with so many legends?
Earlier in the film, our local audience particularly enjoyed the segment about Pipeline narrated by the “Pipeline Master,” Gerry Lopez. As the film moved past that narrative with story after story about Lopez’s ability to surf Pipe, a wave at the time was deemed “unsurfable” by the generation that came before him, some familiar connections emerged. Audiences heard how Lopez has studied yoga for over 40 years and, in his own words, “finding peace in your mind through yoga and true focus through surfing. “There are so many different factors coming together that you have to be completely focused to catch the right wave at the right time,” Lopez shared.
The right wave at the right time: Now that is a powerful statement and could be the metaphor I needed to make sense of the calming spirit of aloha vs what seemed like a crazed death-wish in southern Tasmania. Each of us has a right wave at the right time – if we are open enough to see it, focus and connect with the soul of what we’re after. Perhaps the soul of Marty Paradisis has no choice but to ride the wave that is his right wave at the right time.
The final scenes of the film followed the rhythmic and very long small-wave Waikiki ride of a 5-year-old boy. Connecting across generation and across oceans the story of surfing lives forward – with soul and aloha when at its best. We all have the choice to ride (and live) with the full meaning of “aloha” through our choices on and off the water. (The scene in which a grandmother shared her breath, he “ha” with her grandchild was one of the most impressive in the film for me). I didn’t always get that.
Here in Bend, Oregon we have the opportunity to share some water time and some yoga time with the humble, cool and focused legend, Gerry Lopez himself. Occasionally he’ll lead a class locally in addition to many other destinations worldwide. Those 60-90 minutes really inspire my “newbie” dedication to following a yoga practice – particularly around breathing. In a recent interview with SurferMag online, Gerry explains, “The learning curve is so steep in surfing that if you’re not fully tuned in to your surroundings and completely focused on what’s happening around you in the lineup, you’re going to fail. Learning how to breathe properly is really important. It’ll calm you down when you’re stressed, relax your body, and tighten your focus. These are all things you want to be doing when you’re surfing. ”
Surfing and life, surfing for life – breathe. Thanks for an amazing film, Jack McCoy!