To watch Surfers' Blood in its entirety, click here.

"Like with my other films, Thread and Idiosyncrasies, I wanted to find new ways to portray different passions for the sea, and different appreciations for the sport and the art of surfing," says Director Patrick Trefz about Surfers' Blood, the documentary based on his 2012 monograph of the same name. The film, which explores the lives of individuals who are invariably connected by their relationships to the ocean and their surfcraft, premiered on October 28th at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. "I also wanted to explore the capabilities of the documentary format. There’s not as much surfing in this film as there are in others you'll see, but you're involved with it in a way that you aren't in a webclip. It doesn’t need to be three-minutes-and-done, like what so much of our internet culture encourages."

"For me, the film began as a personal interest," he continues. "I see my work as an anthropologist would. Here are these interesting profiles, from figures of different eras and places - from the most preserved villages of the Basque region, to the technological heart of San Francisco, to Santa Cruz - where you have this lineage and this passion for the sea. Let’s see how we can find what makes them different. Let's find what they share."



"The Basque Country is connection to the sea," says Trefz. "The region is entrenched in a love for the ocean. In no person is that more evident than Patxi Oliden, a 93-year-old oar-maker who began shaping boards for his town's youth because he wanted surfing to be inclusive, and not exclusive to the aristocracy or the rich. He wanted the joy of the sea to be accessible for everyone."

 

"Patxi and I first met in the Basque country during a magazine assignment I did years ago with Barney Barron. A local friend took me and Barney to Patxi’s shaping factory, and both Barney and I were blown away by this guy. Here's salt of the sea incarnate. In his nineties, and still inventing, still making music, still doing all of this radical stuff that was considered counter-cultural during his young adulthood," says Trefz. "He's remarkably dedicated to the ocean and all that it provides."

"Depending on how you see it, what [Thomas] Meyerhoffer does is contrary to Patxi's machinery mindset that approaches every task by hand," says Trefz. "All of the boards that Meyerhoffer shapes are by machines, but his shapes float and they ride well. Even Josh Mulcoy couldn't believe it when he tested them out. Meyerhoffer didn’t lay his tools on it, so to speak, but he does lay his hands on it in his own way, through the computer. Is it any less of a legitimate method to design surfcraft? That's for the audience to decide."

"For Barney, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder from an early age, but you never would have assumed so with how active he was," says Trefz, who worked closely with Barron throughout his entire career. "I actually wasn't planning to include Barney's passing as a prominent part in the film, but the more I thought about his legacy, the connections made sense to me. He had a creative, crazy mind, and the place where he found peace was in the ocean. It was partly his canvas as an artist, where he could display his creativity through his style and his wetsuits. But the ocean also gave him support. Mentally and physically, it brought out the best in him. The sea was his outlet."