FIRST PERSON: Jack McCoy — Filmmaker; Visionary; Surfer

SURFERmag.com: Do you consider yourself organized?

Jack McCoy: I’m semi organized, but would be no where I am now in my personal life
without the orginazation help of my wife. I’d still be living like a gypsy
traveling the world surfing and creating images. But then I met my wife. My
wonderful beautiful soul mate is the most organized person I know and it
can’t help but rub off…sometimes (laughing in the background from Jack’s wife).

In relation to the films I make, I have to be very organized. This last
production Blue Horizon was the biggest project I’ve personally
undertaken. I shot over 250 hours of material myself alone that I had to
keep track of. On top of that there were over 30 other contributors that
added up to another 250 hours. I had to keep track of what they’d
contributed and where to find it. It all came down when we had to put the
rough cut together and the computer called out all the tapes it needed to
make the finished product, and I had it organized so that everything was
there. Whew! What a relief that was.

SURFERmag.com: What piece of equipment have you lost or sold that you still wish you had
possesion of?

Jack McCoy: Couple of things, probably first and most importantly would be some
surfboards that I have owned. I remember certain boards during different
parts of my life. And I’d like to still have them today. My first board, I
saved for 6 months by mowing lawns and washing cars. $128 it cost
for the Sparky Inter Island 9’6″ log that was my pride and joy. I’d still
like to have that one.

There was also a board that Randy Rarick gave to me that was shaped by
George Downing and McTavish. It was just after the Duke at Sunset that
McTavish came to with his giant V-bottom Keyo that spun out but went
vertical really well. From memory let’s see, George made the board and Rarick ended up
with it. He gave it to me. It was a needle nose down rail with a hip
behind center into a little diamond tail V-bottom. The vee was nothing like
Mac’s but it was rad for it’s time. Had a giant fin on the back too. Very
very cool board. Fast, really fast.

Another board I wish I still had was one that Lopez made for me the second
trip I went to Bali. A big purple thing we glassed at Fitzy’s factory.
That was my gun in the early days in Indo. An 8’6″. I loved that board. I
left it out at Wayan Windrow’s house there on the point at Ulu and would pull
it out every year I returned. As time went by and boards changed I forgot
about it and last time I saw it, the family was using it as sort of a coffee
table in the house. Didn’t have the heart to pull it out.

A piece of camera equiptment I’m sorry I still don’t have. Dick Hoole
bought a 3.5Mm lens off George Greenough. It wasn’t the original one that
he shot Coming of the Dawn with but it was like number two or three. You
have to remember that George worked with Century Optics to make that lens
and this thing had blood line. It was very wide and we couldn’t believe we
had this thing. It was big and bulky, not like they have them down to now.
Dick and I were over the moon. I had it in my camera bag in Hawaii when
Huricane Iki came through. I was staying at Randy Rarick’s Sunset Beach house
when the warning came and I decided to take all my camera gear down to
Gerry’s Pipe house. I knew Porter had overbuilt that fortress and thought
that would be a safer place for my gear. I parked right at the head of the
lane and took one load of my water gear down the front door. The car was
locked and I had my land camera gear in the trunk. I was out of sight of
the car for 30 seconds and in that time some low life took my whole land kit
away. Screwdriver in the key hole and presto, the guy had a big part of my
life. That camera bag had a Bolex body, 12-120mm Angeneaux, 230 & 385
Century and the Greenough lens. All gone. That was a bummer. I’d love to
still have that lens to give to my son. Oh well, he’ll have my first water
housing which is a real dinosaur but which is pretty cool. But a Greenough
lens…Ahhhhh…

SURFERmag.com: At what shutter speed do you live your life?

Jack McCoy: F8. I remember hangin’ with Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman when they
were shooting Waves of Change on Maui and it was a bit overcast. I asked
Jim why he wasn’t shooting and he said he was waiting for f8. When the
light got to f8, it was perfect to shoot he told me. I was impressed. I
never forgot that and whenever I was having a picture perfect day, I’d call
it f8. Even though with the stock I shoot with today I’m shooting a f11
on the perfect days I still think of it as f8. Thanks Jim and Greg.

SURFERmag.com: Do you think God prefers wide angle shots over close-up action?

Jack McCoy: No doubt wide angle. I love wide angle. The first camera I bought was a
Minolta SRL and a 16mm lens. That was my only lens. I shot everything with
it cause that’s all I had. Peter Crawford had the exact same rig and we
had a lot in common with that camera and lens. My first published pic in
color was in Surfing World and Bruce Channon and Hugh McCloud were running
it and they did an article on our first trip to Bali and 90% of the shots
were with that lens. I’ve had some great wide angles in my life since then.
My current favorite are my 3.5 mm I bought to replace the one I had stolen
of George’s, and a 10mm I bought in Hollywood in the early 80’s. I’d had
several 10mm’s, but was never super stoked with them. I’d begun to learn
that every lens is different, and I started experimenting with different
makes and models and this was about the 10th one I’d gone thru. The first
time I got some results back with it, a Maui and Sons shoot in Fiji in the
mid 80’s, I knew I’d found a magic lens. Every 10mm shot since then has
been with that same lens and it’s seen a lot of amazing action from (Gerry) Lopez to
Andy (Irons). I’ve had a love affair with my wide angle lenses ever since that
first 16mm. I’m sure God would agree, wide angle…Yipeeeeeee!

SURFERmag.com: At what movie did you last shed a tear and why (what scene)?

Jack McCoy: Whale Rider. From the last 20 minutes thru to the end of the credits. Our
indigenous brothers and sisters can teach us all so much. Great film.

SURFERmag.com: If you could take a one-month trip anywhere in the world and money
were not a consideration, where would you go and what would you do?

Jack McCoy: Italy and the Greek Isles with my wife and kids. We’d go have a good look
around at a part of the world I’ve always wanted to see. Italy because I
saw Sarge’s (Paul Sargent) home movies of going to Italy with Occ and it looked like fun,
maybe take Occ with me as a tour guide. Greek Isles for the color of water
I’m keen to see.