A Film For The Adult Learner, And A Lesson In Not Taking Yourself (Or Surfing) Seriously
An interview with film producer, Pat Towersey.
If you’re reading this, chances are you already know how to stand-up on a surfboard. But for the adult learners that found “the stoke” later in life but can’t quite figure out how to keep their middle-aged selves from pearling and looking like a kook, Pat Towersy and Rizal Tandjung want you to know that you’re not alone.
Pat, aka Punker Pat, is a Newport Beach staple. After a short career as a professional surfer, Pat’s a gent you go to if you need to get shit done. He’s lovely. Something you wouldn’t know is way back when Instagram was a budding media outlet and influencers weren’t an oversaturated and cringy thing, Pat helped us secure the @stab handle on IG. And thus, our hopefully fresh loaf of an Instagram presence was officially born.
Along with renowned artists Tom Sachs, Van Neistat and Erum Shah, they’ve directed and produced a light-hearted 30-minute video entitled “How To Learn How To Surf.” The idea was to take people that are either just finding surfing, or who have never quite clicked with the pursuit, and get them up and riding with some semblance of competence.
Enter the “Ten Bullets Surf Team,” or the folks the self-righteous surfer may roughly label, kooks. Comprised of Sachs, his wife and studio staff, they land in Bali and collectively take a deep dive into the learning process. Stab caught up with Towersy to figure out what compelled him to pursue the project:
Stab: What’s this film all about?
Towersy: It’s an accurate portrayal of the experience of learning to surf, done in a very comical way that anyone can relate to. From the experience, the team pulls out ten “bullets,” or insights, about the learning process itself.
What’s the goal of the film?
I think the goal of the film is to share the universal truths found in the process of learning. It’s also cool to expose new audiences to surfing, which may either inspire more participation or actually do the exact opposite. Surfing is hard and we do a great job at illustrating that.
How’d you get a cowboy like Tom Sachs involved?
Jonathan Paskowitz, Tom’s close friend and surfing sensei, connected me with Tom and we surfed together out in Rockaway, New York. After a few more sessions in L.A. and N.Y., we decided we had better do a trip somewhere to get some better waves and dedicate time.
Why do you think surfing is appealing to these players in the mainstream?
I don’t know, I think it depends on the person. Some people like that it is hard and others maybe just have a more romantic idea of being a surfer, zen vibes, sun-kissed and having avo toast. Other people are looking for a new challenge and recognize that surfing is one of the hardest leisure sports to take on. Tom’s just getting into the fun zone, where he can really appreciate the experience of riding waves and not overthink it.
You’ve had some success finding these left-of-center partners. How do you find talent?
I’m not sure, I guess it’s a part of my personality. I’ve always wanted to be friends with everyone (full personality defect ). If I see someone different or doing something cool, I’m just curious and want to know more, which usually leads to meeting some interesting people.
Who else is on your radar? Which person would you most like to partner with?
I have some cool things in the works with Shama – the Jamaica Superman, a short doc by Tyler Manson in partnership with Kertia Marley, along with a collection release. It’s a new narrative for surfing, and instead of appropriating Jamaican culture, we are supporting Shama in his surfing dreams and helping him get around the world. That’s all I got for now.
The film is screening tonight in Los Angeles. Head here to go!
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