A Collection of Stories about the California Surfing Experience
By Jason Baffa & Mark Jeremias
This is a beautifully filmed, super well-edited journey in time and space through surfing in the Golden State, a blend of the old and new, the familiar and the revelatory. Narrated by journeyman longboarder and surfwriter Devon Howard, the film is a peak experience for anyone in search of an articulate and stimulating overview of the roots of California and the state of the art today. To be succinct: it takes you there.
The narrative structure of OCD is a looping journey, from San Diego (Skip Frye’s world of shape and glide, glimpses of the groundwork laid by Pat Curren and Butch Van Artsdalen, and Joel Tudor ripping on longboards, SUP surfing, and twin-fin fish revelations), to Ojai and the Malloy family (fifth-generation California ranchers tripping to Baja and a bit of the old-California experience with film footage from ’30s and ’40s), to Newport Beach’s Alex Knost and Tyler ‘Pickle’ Warren (livin’ in the middle, feeding off the energy), to Dana Point (a look back at Hobie Alter and the early days of surfboard production through to Terry Martin, who’s shaped more than anyone on Earth), and on to Malibu (Jimmy Gamboa, knocking people off waves and hilariously talking about wanting to meet ‘everyone’).
After that it’s winter swells at Rincon with Joe Curren and brother Tom at Rincon and Santa Barbara’s Sandspit, and a window into worlds of diverse creativity. Up in Santa Cruz, Dane Perlee searches for the ‘hidden zones’ and studies the past by riding a vintage 37 lb. 9’8” Challenger noserider – important, he says, to keep an eye on the past and the other eye on the horizon. Dane takes us north to Crescent City to visit Greg Noll’s wonderland, from whence we’re brought back to the South Bay, where Noll, Dale Velzy, Hap Jacobs, et all invented and defined the surfing industry. There we hook up with Tyler Hatzikien, who connects the world of surfing to that of hotrods and performance road art, looping us back to the father of it all, Dale Velzy, and a remarkable look at Dale’s massive 2005 memorial at Doheny Beach.
There’s plenty more in OCD, and it’s all accompanied by a nice rolling soundtrack, which complements and never overpowers the imagery. The surfing and waves are fantastic, and the quality of the viewing experience harkens back to Greg MacGillivray’s classic Cool Wave of Color. Some identification would be nice to help out those not familiar with everyone in the film, but, bottom line: Filmmakers Jason Baffa (Singlefin: Yellow) and Mark Jeremias (Drive) have created a fine, evocative, and professional film that raises the bar for everyone making surf movies today.