“Most parents say: ‘Go to school. Don’t go swimming with sharks, that’s dangerous.’ Our parents said, you can go swimming with sharks, but you’re not fuckin’ going to school, that shit’s dangerous!” – Salvador Paskowitz, the 7th Paskowitz son.
Surfwise follows the odyssey of 85-year-old, legendary surfer Dr. Dorian ‘Doc’ Paskowitz, his wife Juliette, and their nine children, all of whom were home-schooled on the beaches of Southern California, Hawaii, Mexico and Israel; they surfed every day of their lives, and were forced to adhere to a strict diet and lifestyle of animals in the wild, by their passionate and demanding, health-conscious father.
In the mid-1950s Dorian Paskowitz was a successful doctor living the good life in the territory of Hawaii, until two devastating divorces and the realization that he had no interest in money or status caused him to completely upend his life. Dorian dropped his practice and traveled to Israel for a year where he lived among the Bedouins and developed a lifelong obsession with a healthy diet, and introduced surfing to Israel, becoming a hero in the burgeoning Tel Aviv beach scene. Returning to the States, he met his wife Juliette, and the rest was history. They fell madly in love, steered clear of society, lived out of a tiny camper on the beach, and had seven sons in rapid succession: David, Jonathan, Abraham, Israel, Moses, Adam, and Salvador Daniel. Then they had one daughter, Navah, and their ninth child, Joshua.
The children were raised in the Jewish tradition, complete with Shabbat on the beach every Friday night. But that’s where similarities with a normal societal upbringing end. Doc’s absolute determination to raise his children according to the strictest standards of nature meant that his children were breastfed for as long as a gorilla’s young would be, keeping hungry and thin, only eating small amounts of organic or raw foods, with no sugar or fat. Their community was their family. They didn’t need money or have to pay bills or taxes. Their home was anywhere the crowded camper was parked.
What happens to eight brothers and a sister that are raised under such extraordinary circumstances? Surfwise is ultimately the story of what happens to a family when their father pursues his dreams and drags his family along for the ride.
Magnolia Pictures will release the film in New York on Friday, May 9th and Los Angeles on Friday, May 23rd. It will continue to expand throughout the rest of the month. The film has a running time of 93 minutes and is rated R by the MPAA.
Watch the trailer…
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