Surfers Blood tells the universal story of true individuals that share deep bloodlines connected to the sea. From the old world fishing history of the rugged Basque Coast via oar and surfboard shaper Patxi Oliden, to the modern metropolis of San Francisco and the eccentric computer shapes of Apple fame designer Thomas Meyerhoffer. A Sonoma Valley Art Museum that exhibits hydrodynamic surfboards via avant-garde curator Richard Kenvin, to 3 time Mavericks big wave champ Darryl 'Flea' Virostko's struggle to overcome an almost fatal meth addiction and the bittersweet loss that came with it.
"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. "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."
"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."
The world premiere of Surfers Blood was at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in September. US premier was in Santa Cruz, California at the Rio Theater. It is now avaliable on Red Bull TV. Link above.