ENCINITAS — La Paloma Theater showed the Southern California premier of “Dear and Yonder,” a unique documentary film about women who surf and their personal connection to the ocean, July 2.
“We tried to avoid comparing it to men’s surfing,” filmmaker Tiffany Campbell said. “Women are doing something different that’s amazing and they’re open to telling their stories.”
The film begins with a brief history of women’s surfing, starting with 1778 Hawaiian surfing, the 1956 story of Gidget, and moving on to 1998 surfing legend Lisa Andersen and present day professional surfer Kassia Meador.
Linda Benson, winner of the U.S. Championship in Huntington Beach in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964 and 1968, recalls how women have gained a respected presence in the sport of surfing.
“The turning point came in 1998, with board shorts and Lisa Andersen,” Benson said. “We really had something of our own.”
While there were few women surfing in the 1950s, today women of all ages are cutting up the waves.
“Women surfers are getting recognized and respected,” Benson said. “They have proven themselves in their ability.”
“Dear and Yonder” took three years to shoot and two years in postproduction said Campbell, who worked as the director, editor, producer and writer.
“Forty percent is a traditional surf movie,” Campbell said. “You go out get the wave, and get what you get. Sixty percent is a documentary, where women tell their stories.”
The film gives personal insights into the lives of individual women, including their love of the ocean and courage.
“Working (for) three years, a lot develops,” Campbell said.
The film shows Judith Sheraton in a bright red bathing cap shooting past surfboards as she bodysurfs big waves under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Sheraton found out she has multiple sclerosis during the shooting of the film. “The question is, ‘Do we include this and how?’” Campbell said. “It’s a really powerful piece and unexpected.”
The film also captures young Capt. Liz Clark, who embarked on a solo journey to sail around the world. Clark’s narrative of her adventures sailing, climbing coconut trees and surfing give insight into her journey. “Being truly alone is scary,” Clark said. “Without a schedule or other person’s expectations I was forced to listen to my instincts.”
“The ocean touches people of all walks of life,” Lisa Anderson, winner of four World Titles from 1994 to 1997, said. “It’s a natural healer, a voyage, a way of life. Everyone has a different connection. It’s given me my whole life (and) career.”
The Roxy film “Dear and Yonder” by Tiffany Campbell and Andria Lessler will be shown on the West Coast, East Coast, Hawaii and Japan. For more information on the film, visit www.dearandyonder.com.