CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — As part of a world tour, Keith Malloy’s “Come Hell Or High Water” premiered at Patagonia to a packed house on Oct. 21. The filmmaker was on hand to introduce the movie and throw out a few trivia questions
The film explores the history and progression of the sport of bodysurfing and the pureness that comes from riding a wave. The unique look at the culture, beauty and simplicity of the sport is captured in the stories of those who belong to the tight-knit community of mostly Speedo-wearing men.
Malloy’s film captures the stunning, sometimes bone-crushing locations that bodysurfers gravitate toward. From Northern and Southern California to Hawaii and even a lone bodysurfer in Montana making his way upstream, the film documents both the past, present and future of bodysurfing.
Technology plays a minor role in the sport. With the exception of a pair of fins and perhaps a handplane, there is little between the bodysurfer and the wave. “That’s what’s so cool about it,” Shane Dunavant said after the film. “We all can bodysurf; you don’t need a board, a leash, wax, and all those things that separate you from the wave.”
Ben Stephens agreed. “I’m stoked somebody, especially the caliber of Malloy, made a film about the wave,” he said. “It just so happens that there are some people riding it using as little gear as possible.”
Malloy’s debut film project was first shown Sept. 17 at the New York Film Festival to rave reviews and the premiere tour will continue to crisscross the globe with stops in Southern, Central and Northern California, North Carolina and even London. While Malloy is most widely known for his time in the water as a surfer, his exploration into the world of bodysurfing began some 10 years ago when he wanted to reconnect with the ocean. His minimalist approach gave him a deep appreciation for bodysurfing. “It’s about taking a breath and kicking your feet in the big blue sea,” Malloy said.
The Woodshed Films project was made possible with the support of Patagonia and Encinitas-based Nixon. Tyler Stalber, an environmental point person at Cardiff’s Patagonia location, said the lines around the corner to see the film didn’t surprise him. “We’ve got 500 chairs and I’m sure every one will have a body in them,” he said before the movie started.
More than just a film screening, the event featured Bull Taco catering and live music by Boaz. “Hats off to Patagonia for bringing the community together in a low-key way to enjoy a Friday night in the neighborhood,” Dan Peters said. “I’m looking forward to a free taco and some sick waves.”
Malloy made it clear that a portion of the proceeds from the tour’s ticket sales, in locations where there is a charge, will be donated to The Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance aimed at working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts.
The film will be available as a special edition DVD and digital download available from thesurfnetwork.com.