14 October 2011

Of Men and Mavericks (Pleasure Point/Hook)

I took today off from work to be a surfer extra - in Hollywood-speak, a "background artist" - in a movie filming locally about Jay Moriarty, lamely entitled Of Men and Mavericks. (Update: Now retitled Chasing Mavericks, this film opens 26 October 2012.)

Heather and I met up at Starbucks and caravanned to street parking a few blocks from the meetup location at a park on 38th Ave. They wanted us there at 6 am, still dark and far too early. After a disorganized check-in, we waited hours to be called. Totally could've gone surfing in the interim, if only we'd known.
Gathering in the park to receive sparse information
Probably the safest place for a board
Finally we suited up - no gloves or hood today! - and headed to the slimy stairs at 38th Ave. It was near high tide, and they were overcautious in helping the extras into the water. The line was long and slow.
The line to leave the park
The line for the 38th Ave stairs
Nemo resting, Heather waiting
The Santa Cruz Patch caught me waiting in line for the stairs:
Where's Cynthia?
Movie star Gerard Butler, who plays Jay's coach Frosty, was escorted through the crowd to the overlook.
Star Gerry Butler surveys the scene
When at last we reached the cool water, Heather left me in the dust, paddling quickly out on her longboard to the camera and support boats while I took a little longer on my 5'4" fish Nemo. Still, I blew past a family that clearly had never surfed and was floundering around like the star of Blue Crush 2 (limp-wristed paddling). We'd been instructed to form just a half-circle on the beach side, and I found Heather on the left end at the back.
When they said the left was bloated and we needed to move right, I abandoned her in search of better viewing.
Heather, waiting
On the right side, I somehow wormed my way closer to the front, until I was in the first row. I'm pushy that way, and it helped that I was on little Nemo.
Eventually the director explained the scene. After a woman in the canoe played the end of a Hawaiian song, Gerry would yell "To Jay" while throwing water into the air. A few seconds later, we extras were to do the same. They needed to shoot this from several camera angles from both the boats and the water, so we repeated it five or six times. People kept jumping the gun, to the director's exasperation. 
After about the fourth try, Gerry gave a little speech through the bullhorn, trying to set the mood. On the next two takes, his voice broke badly. I'm curious to see what ends up in the movie. And, of course, if I'm in it!
Holly Beck is in the middle distance
I saw Holly Beck sitting on a longboard between the camera boats, and wanted to paddle over to say hi. I thought I might get stopped, but I tend to follow the adage that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission, so what the hell. And in fact no one said a word. I introduced myself and chatted with Holly for a little while. She's gotten hair extensions and highlights in order to surf-double for the woman who plays Jay's girlfriend. Holly is just as nice as everyone's told me and I'm looking forward to spending a week at her surf retreat in Nicaragua in January.
The real Frosty (left) with Gerry who plays him (right)
I watched the next-to-last take with Holly, getting a vantage similar to what we'll eventually see in theaters. Then I paddled back around to the group, looking for Heather. One more take and they called lunch, and I couldn't find her in the crowd. I started to paddle toward the less crowded stairs at 36th Ave, but the waves at Pleasure Point were beaconing. My arc curved toward them and I made the long paddle, stopping on the inside. I didn't have high hopes jumping down from my 7'0" to a 5'4" fish, but I surprised myself by catching a decent number of waves. It was quite bumpy, and I once got thrown by an upjolt as I tried to pop up; it was like fighting double gravity. But the main trouble was that the board was squirrelly under my feet, and I couldn't stay on it. The only time I got my feet planted and stable in the right spot, ready to ride, the wave petered out. Boo. Still, it gives me confidence that I'll be able to transition smoothly down to my new 6'2", the 7'0" made smaller.
Pleasure Point
Riding/tumbling in one last time, I paddled over to the 36th Ave stairs and headed back to the park, passing Heather on the way. She was just leaving in time to make her stint at the Marine Mammal Center, skipping the second full-circle paddle-out to be filmed by helicopter. I'd already been there over 8 hours and there was no telling when they'd get it together for the next shoot. Hungry and disappointed in the lack of vegan options for lunch, I decided to bail as well and head to Whole Foods for something more filling than an orange and chips (vegan pizza, yeah!). The Hook was on my way back to the car so I went out for another quick session. Similar results, although I wish I could've stayed on the left at the last.
The Hook
Paddling muscles very tired, I hit the road for home. Such a better way to spend a warm sunny day than in my cubicle!

Surfline: Steadily fading NW groundswell combines with a slow building SSW swell through the afternoon. Size has really come down and things are looking pretty slow at the moment with the tide just topping out. Waist high and under waves are the norm while standout exposures are up to chest-shoulder high on inconsistent sets. Winds are light and the surf should speed up a bit through the remainder of the day as the tide drops back out. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.9 ft at 11.4 s WNW 85 / WIND WAVE: 1.3 ft at 3.8 s NW 84 / WVHT: 4.9 ft / APD: 7.7 s / MWD: 296° (Met) WSPD: 4 kts / GST: 4 kts / WVHT: 4.9 ft / DPD: 11.0 s / WDIR: 350° / ATMP: 60.4° F / WTMP: 59.0° F. Tide: Around 4' falling.


  1. I loved reading this story Cynthia! And your technique of it's "better to ask forgiveness than permission" made me smile. I'm glad you were able to meet Holly. She's a wonderful person and I know she was really stoked about being in this film.

  2. Thought about this when I awoke...looked from my bedroom window and saw the gathering crowd. I opted to drive up to Waddell with my 9'6" Junod and my new wetsuit. Turned out to be a wonderful decision...3 people in the water with mixed swell conditions. Sunshine glistening over waist to shoulder high lefts and rights...surfed for several hours taking off late and deep, long rides to the beach in both directions. Jay would have enjoyed it...

  3. Thanks, Chris!

    Glad you had fun at Waddell, VE. I just wanted the Hollywood experience; I'll get some waves tomorrow.