This slot of Independent.com is normally reserved for CD reviews, but when I watched this DVD on the solid advice of Indy reporter and surf scribe Ethan Stewart, it screamed “Spin of the Day me!” As you may have heard, Shark Park is the new, barely-ever-breaks surf spot off of San Miguel Island where a few crazed tow-in fanatics recently conquered. This DVD provides ample footage of the first attack on the break, complete with near-death wipeouts, jaw-dropping face rides, and enough water movement to get Niagara Falls jealous.
Deemed the “heaviest wave in California,” Shark Park here gets tamed, for the most part, by Chris Brown, Dan Malloy, Evraldo “Pato” Teixiera, Garret McNamara, Chuck Patterson, and Don Curry, to name but a short list of surfers. Interviews with the urchin diver who located the spot and director/producer Greg Huglin paint an engaging mystique, making the film much more than just wave action to drool over. We learn about tow-in techniques, what it feels like to get dragged across a few football fields of white water, and why big waves make your lungs bleed. It’s exciting stuff, so watch it.
Best of all, though, is the bonus footage of a great white shark and freediver, shot by a brave, perhaps slightly insane Huglin. Ethan Stewart opined it was worth the $30 price of the DVD alone, and that Huglin, who runs DolphinFoto.com, should probably become famous just because of it. After watching the short, music video-esque film, I have to agree. I’ve watched a ton of Shark Weeks on the Discovery Channel, and this blows those out of the water. Never before have I seen inside the mouth of a great white, the fluttering of its gills, the scratch marks on its chin. This is amazing, world-class stuff, all from a Santa Barbara-based filmmaker.