Monday, May 27, 2013

In the Sea I am Free

"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." ~John F. Kennedy

The sea constantly calls me, for it nourishes my body and soul. I am grateful for my freedom to skip down to the nearby beach and take a dip anytime I want. I am constantly reminded of and thankful for this freedom as the U.S. helicopters from a nearby Marine base frequently fly over my local surf break.
Memorial Day evokes the young soldier sweating on the filed in a far away place from his family and friends, not knowing if he will make it back. While we enjoy our BBQs and beach parties, the men and women who have and are currently serving our county are in my heart and thoughts. The below sea/surfing shots (taken with my GoPro Hero 3) are a tribute to all these men and women. Thank you.


The finest in wavecraft, courtesy of Michael Miller and John Cherry, two of the best surfboard shapers in San Diego and in the biz.

There's nothing like sharing your passion with your child. Thanks to my friend Val Reynolds for this fun photo of me and my son sharing some waves together.

In the sea I am free...thanks photographer Andrew Quinn for capturing me in my element.

The photo I found on the Internet says it all. Thank you!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Filmmaking and Fish Guts: A Conversation with Sustainability Advocate Courtney Hayes

Courtney Hayes with her sustainable shred stick shaped by Michael Emery
In her youth, Courtney Hayes spent a lot of time on the waterfront in Gloucester, Mass., America’s oldest fishing port. It is in this city on Massachusetts’ North Shore where Courtney grew her sea legs, so-to-speak, as the daughter of a fisherman.

Courtney, now an award-winning documentary producer and director (PBS, History Channel and Discovery Channel), is still inspired by the sea and the people who use it to create commerce and recreation. In 2010, she launched, a global community of more than 11,000 surfers and sea lovers dedicated to promoting ocean-friendly businesses and marine conservation efforts.
Below, Courtney talks about her film career, sustainability and her New England roots.
Age: 48

Hobbies: Surfing, SUPing, handplaning, sailing, and snorkeling.

What Fuels Me: The ocean, adventure, laughter, friendship, and salty people who have crazy ideas.

Favorite Quote: “Surf something!”

Growing up in Gloucester: Gloucester, Mass. was a magical place to grow up. As the daughter of a tuna fisherman, I spent a lot of time on the water. One of my first memories is being out on my father’s boat, racing alongside a giant school of blue fin tuna. Of course, those sort of peaceful moments were often punctuated by my dad screaming, “We’re hooked uuuup!”

Courtney practicing her moves on an early upcycled shortboard. Circa 1977

Sea Connection: My first job was “chum girl” on my dad’s tuna boat. Picture “Wicked Tuna,” but with an 8-year-old girl as second mate. I spent a good chunk of my formative years covered in fish guts!  In the summer, we were always in the ocean – swimming, sailing, and fishing. I started surfing six years ago and moved back to Gloucester recently. I love being in the ocean now more than ever.

New England Core: Winter surfing in New England is like nothing else. My favorite memories include surfing during a mid-January blizzard. Unlike some of the really hard core guys, I can only handle 38-degree water a few times a winter. The water finally got up to 47 last week and you’d think it was the Caribbean – one kid was out in a 3/2 suit sans hood, gloves and booties. New England surfers are classic!

‘Reel’ Inspirations: My documentary filmmaking career began at Frontline/PBS in 1991. In 2000, I started working on an independent film about the New English fishery called “A Fish Story” - a tale of two women who lead their communities in a battle for control of the ocean. I’ve always loved the adventure that comes along with the job; every new film feels like a free pass to a world filled with amazing people and places.
Ceto Surf: A few years ago, I got really interested in new media and the power of collective action and I wanted to do something to connect surfers and promote ocean health. Ceto seeks to foster a healthy ocean and a more sustainable surf industry by making it fun and easy to share information about ocean friendly innovators, artists and activists.
*I originally wrote this piece for the San Diego Surf Film Festival blog.