Cowell’s And The New Millennium is a surf documentary about Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz. The movie took me 4½ years to make. The movie opened 3 film festivals (all non-surf) in New York, Miami, and Hollywood, where it won a Best Documentary Award. All 3 showings in Santa Cruz sold-out at the Coconut Grove, as well as the one showing at the Rio Theatre.
A good portion of the movie is devoted to the original Santa Cruz Surfing Club, which was founded on the beach at Cowell’s and it was right on the beach next to the wharf where they had their club house. Using Harry Mayo’s collection of photo’s and film I was able to tell a thorough story chronicling the history of the SC Surfing Club.
The making of the movie took a turn when my friend Randy Gray let me see his collection of film that he inherited from his father, who worked at the Boardwalk for many years and took a lot of movies. With Cowell’s Beach being next to the Boardwalk, I had to include the Boardwalk in the movie, since a lot of the club members had worked for the Boardwalk.
The Cowell’s movie has the only interview ever made with Buster, who was instrumental not only with the club being started, but with the beginning of surfing in Santa Cruz. The interview with Buster was emotional, it also included original members of the club. As we were ready to leave, Buster called me back and thanked me for telling his story and told me that he would be passing on soon – a week and a half later Buster passed away.
The movie begins with the documenting of the first surfing to take place on the continental United States in 1897 at the far east end of Cowell’s Beach known as the Rivermouth. From there the movie moves to the 1930’s and 40’s with interviews of the original beach boys of Santa Cruz who rode waves on paddle boards long before the wetsuit was invented.
Cowell’s continues with an indept contrast between the 30’s and the ‘now’. Being one of the premier longboard waves in the world, the Cowell’s movie dissects the art of nose riding and what longboarding is all about – hanging ten. Unlike any other surf movie ever made, Cowell’s features a cast of women surfers: Makala Eastman, Michelle Scott, and Miranda Pitts who show they can surf just as good as the finest world class men longboarders Santa Cruz has to offer.
I’m still working on this with more to come.