Joe Surf: Who are these 'hell men?'

April 27, 2011|By Joe Haakenson

Let's be honest.

As good as you might be on a board, as great a day you might have had, as unforgettable that one ride was when you felt you were on top of the world, there's always someone better.

There's always someone who had a better day. There's always someone who took that very same wave you took and made you look like a surf school dropout.


Such is the way of surfing, and such is life.

Anybody who's ever zipped up a wetsuit, waxed their board and dared to taste the salt of the ocean — more than anybody else — can appreciate those who do it best. When they come by the thousands to Huntington for the U.S. Open every summer, they come for the surfers, the surfing.

OK, I know. Most come for the party.

But there wouldn't be a party if these guys weren't so good. Think about it, these surfers can make magic out of mush, and unfortunately they've had to do that in Huntington at times.

But when these guys and gals are challenged by Mother Nature, what they can do will blow your mind.

So if you've ever had trouble bumping your way through the crowd lined up along the rail on the Huntington Beach Pier for a chance to watch some of the world's best, fret no more.

The Newport Beach Film Festival begins Thursday, and one of its features is the Action Sports Film Series. From now through May 5, the series will showcase the world's best surfers in some of the world's most challenging and visually appealing locations.

"The Action Sports Film Series will celebrate athletes pushing the limits in some of the world's most challenging and spectacular outdoor playgrounds and give filmgoers an opportunity to experience breathtaking cinematography, cultural journeys, in-depth portrayals and compelling stories that explore the physical, emotional, historical and spiritual realms of surfing, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, stand up paddle boarding, cycling and motocross," according to the festival's news release.

Sounds good to me.

The showcase film of the series, "2010 XXL Global Big Wave Awards," will be shown at 8 p.m. Saturday at Triangle Square, 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa. Paul Taublieb and Sam George directed the 48-minute film.

Billabong has been sponsoring the XXL contest for 10 years, but this film is a documentary about the surfers who dare test such a powerful force of nature and live to tell about it.

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