The inspiring and tumultuous story of 85-year old surfer, health advocate and sex guru, Dr. Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, his wife Juliette, and their nine children who were all home-schooled and raised in a small camper on the beach, where they surfed and had to adhere to the strict diet and lifestyle of animals in the wild. Written by
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11, 2007. While all Paskowitz family members were scheduled to attend, four brothers were stuck in New York, as bad weather in both New York and Toronto prevented them from getting on the plane. See more »
Got You (Where I Want You)
Written by Adam Paskowitz, James Book, Nick Lucero and Peter Predichizzi
Performed by The Flys
Published by Ensign Music o/b/o itself and Coach And Hooch Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Windswept Holding LLC o/b/o Kirtland Records See more »
Don't be fooled by the title. Surfwise is much more than a surfing movie. It chronicles the amazing journey of "Doc" Paskowitz, his nine kids and his beautiful and understanding wife Juliette. After two failed marriages, the doc packs up his "normal" life and goes Bohemian, living off the earth while teaching people how to surf. The highly religious man meets his life partner in Juliette and they immediately start having kids - one after the other. But that's where the normalcy ends. They travel around the country in a 24' cramped trailer all eleven of them, eating healthy, the kids getting home schooled, surfing everyday, and staying below the radar from truant officers. To make money, the Paskowitz' start a surf school and "Doc" would occasionally take low-level medical positions. As was the case with "Doc," the kids became champion surfers and the family was profiled numerous times in magazine articles and television segments. Although many outsiders found this nomadic lifestyle idyllic, the kids started to rebel against "Doc." He was unyielding, he didn't offer them options, and it was either his way or "off" the highway as it were. It also didn't help that their parents were having sex just about every night in a small trailer with the nine of them watching and listening. As their hormones kicked in, they needed sexual release as well, but those needs were not met because they were constantly travelling without any chance to make their own relationships. One by one, they left the fold. Many of the kids became estranged from their parents and each other. But through it all, the kids turned out to be smart, intelligent, good parents, creative and successful in many ways. The cynicism in many would think that out of this dysfunctional upbringing would come the typical end game of suicides, failed marriages, or any other downers. But this couldn't be further from the truth.
What lingers is the fact that I really liked these people. I wanted to get to know them better and hang out with them. What "Doc" was preaching years ago is now fact eating well, preserving the planet and loving one another is essential to survival. And although he didn't give his kids a choice and forced them to live life "his way," one can't really fault him for trying to give them the best that he thought was right.
Doug Pray makes great documentaries and I look forward to his next one.
Screened at the Starz Denver Film Festival.
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