Surf film focuses on life


POSTED: Monday, July 20, 2009

First-time filmmaker Heather Hudson was thrilled to gain entry into the Maui Film Festival last month with her documentary about women and surfing.

“;We had to come here (to Hawaii),”; she said between filmmaker panel discussions on the grounds of the Wailea Marriott Resort & Spa. “;I mean, surfing started here! We're very low budget but we made it happen.”;

Despite financial restrictions, “;The Women and the Waves”; was shot in Hawaii, Mexico and California, where Hudson lives. But it wasn't until she saw “;The Craving,”; a film about the addiction to surfing, that Hudson even considered making her own movie, which took three years to finish.

“;I thought, 'What a way to express to something!'”; she said. Women and their relationship with the ocean—from a feminine perspective—was the story she felt compelled to share. Perhaps because it mirrored her own life.

; It all started for Hudson in 1978 when she saw a woman surfing in Malibu, where she grew up. She decided right then that she would be a participant rather than an observer. One fat longboard and a few gentle waves later, she was hooked.

“;I'm very passionate about surfing,”; she admitted. “;When I was younger, surfing saved my life. It was something to hang on to.”; In the water she feels “;completely at peace, refreshed and cleansed. I usually start my day with surfing, and if I surfed that morning, everything else falls into place.”;

Though a few competitive surfers are profiled in the evolution of female surfers over the past 30 years, the film is primarily about lifestyle. Noted Hudson, “;There are so many women who surf just because they love it.”;

Of traveling to Hawaii to shoot, Hudson admitted that the surf and setting impressed her.

“;I'd never seen these places in all of their glory, and it blew me away,”; she said of Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay.




        The Women and the Waves



After a mesmerizing, poetic opening sequence featuring breaking waves, sea otters, dolphins and a sharp 360 from Honolulu's Carissa Moore, “;The Women and the Waves”; eases into a series of surf sequences interspersed with extensive interviews with pioneers like Linda Benson, the first woman to surf Waimea Bay. Former ASP world champion Kim Mearig also gets a lot of screen time. At one point she confesses to keeping a spotless house and staying on top of her chores when the surf is nonexistent, because the minute the waves pick up, she notes, “;I'm gone.”;

Younger enthusiasts share their perspective as well. When not on the ocean, these women discuss their fears, their relationship with the ocean and the people around them, and how they manage to carve out a peaceful place for themselves in what can be an aggressive, egocentric, testosterone-fueled pursuit.