Sunday night saw me back at the Arlington, for the world premiere of Montecito resident/former World Champion surfer Shaun Tomson’s Bustin’ Down the Door – me, and the entire population of the greater Santa Barbara area, that is. Walking towards the Arlington, I saw the usual crush of peeps crowding the box office, but this crowd just kept going. And going. And going, winding from State Street to Sola and continuing on for a solid block. Checking in, I learned that not only was the film firmly, absolutely, no exceptions, sold out, but that there’d been over 900 RSVPs for the after party at the Maritime Museum, which has a capacity of somewhere around 400.

It was a hot ticket, to say the least. And it did not disappoint. I mean, I like surfers – I mean surfing – as much as the next girl, but an interesting, story-driven surf flick often remains elusive. Bustin’ Down the Door, however, delivered on all sorts of levels. Incredible surf footage, a rockin’ soundtrack, and a fascinating history lesson about a crew of young, balls-out Aussie and South African surfers who carved out names – and careers – for themselves in 1970s Hawaii combined to create not just a great surf movie, but a great movie. And the fact that these icons of the sport – Tomson and his cousin Michael, Mark Richards, Ian Cairns, and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew: not to mention a guy called Kelly Slater – were all in the audience had the crowd stoked.

As for the party: With its harborside locale and its walls (studded with Dan Merkel’s incredible images), the Maritime Museum was the perfect spot for such an affair. And though rumors of an overgrown crowd continued to swirl, riots never materialized – but good times, good people, killer ceviche, and the legendary men of the hour did. An impassioned Congresswoman Lois Capps was even on hand to officially honor Tomson, announcing that, “Sometimes, the United States Congress does something right!” Local rockers Them Terribles took to the stage just long enough to tease the peeps onto the dancefloor, and the schmoozing went on until the wee hours. In SBIFF country, Sunday is no day of rest:


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