I am a sucker for ‘average’ life

I would love to be a surfer girl. Sun-bleached hair, cute butt and all. Never happened for me, LOL! Growing up in the mountains I am a good hiker. Surfer not so much. But never say never! Meanwhile I daydream and follow quite a few surfer Instagram accounts 🙂 love watching surfers in action and surfer movies. The movie “Surfwise” streams on Netflix and was recommended to me.

“Surfwise” documents the inspiring and tumultuous life story of the now 85-year old legendary surfer and health advocate Dr. Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, a Stanford educated man who gave up the conventional lifestyle to get married, have 9 children, squeeze them all into a 24-foot camper, and drive around searching for surf spots. All children were home-schooled on the beaches of Southern California, Hawaii, Mexico and Israel, where they surfed and had to adhere to the strict diet and lifestyle of by their passionate and demanding, health-conscious father. For me Doc was a borderlining dictator.

I started off being interested in this heartfelt and thought provoking documentary because of their very unique and unconventional surfer lifestyle but became entangled in asking myself what happens to children that are raised under such extraordinary circumstances, living a life domineered over by a man who pursued HIS dreams and dragged his family along for the wild ride.

In the beginning, this free lifestyle seems fun and a dream-come-true for any kid. What kid wouldn’t want to spend every day at the beach instead of in school? It is fascinating to watch the pleasures and struggles of living as a nomad-family in our capitalist society.

If you ever asked yourself if the “new Bohemian” lifestyle of nomadic families is good, bad, or neutral, watch this film. Surfwise challenges our notions about basic tenets, such as passion and obsession, professionalism and monetary success, normalcy and deviance, fun and responsibility. This absorbing documentary is still more. It is a complex and conflicted look at a family, torn apart by rifts and yet still bonded by love which suggests that no dream is as ideal as it may seem. It is not just the story of one man’s obsessive quest to find harmony on a plank of wood, Surfwise offers a cautionary tale about parenting, sibling rivalries and family sacrifice. Now I was hooked.

I couldn’t help examining my own thoughts about what things do and don’t make life good and meaningful. Did Doc do his family justice by relentlessly pursuing his vision of what family life should be? Is there really a difference between “education” and “knowledge” or was this just an excuse Doc used to avoid sending his children to school? Is health more than just an absence of sickness? Were the Paskowitz’s really “more” free? Although their childhood was an idyllic bohemian dream that most kids would die for, none of the Paskowitz kids were prepared for life which makes me really sad.

I’m walking away from this film inspired to do what I do anyway: question the status quo. But I also conclude that I am a sucker for ‘average’ life. How about you? Have you seen the movie? What is your conclusion?



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