The Living Curl – a film by Jamie Budge
by Bob Feigel – Contributing Editor for Surf Guide Magazine
The Living Curl isn’t just a “blast from the past,” it’s a classic surfing film that will literally BLAST you there!
It’s entertaining, it’s funny, it’s real and it manages to document and convey the wonderful spirit of the time when Southern California was the center of the surfing world.
To me there are several things that make this film both likeable and unique.
To begin with – unlike many surf filmmakers – Jamie Budge is a highly skilled and accomplished surfer in his own right, and it’s that gifted athlete’s “eye” which gives him an edge when choosing the surfers, the waves and the shots in the film.
It’s like he’s not just shooting a film about someone else surfing, he’s making a film about the people, places and waves he knows.
Then there are the film’s many sequences of Miki Dora’s artistry. They are simply superb and demonstrate why Da Cat will always be considered Malibu’s supreme Wavemaster.
The film’s other featured surfers also read like a who’s who of 60’s surfing elite: Johnny Fain, Dewey Weber, Lance Carson, Harold Iggy, Mike Doyle, Rusty Miller, John Peck, Rick Irons, Corky Carroll, Mickey Muñoz, Mark Martinson , Denny Lennehan, Robert August, Mike Hynsen, Ron Sizemore and David Nuuhiwa .. plus dynamic young, up-and-coming talents like Jo Jo Perrin and Jackie Baxter.
There is also rare surfing footage of Malibu locals like Richard Roche, Dave Rochlen, Robbie Dick, Bob “Porkchops” Barron, John Gale, Brian Haimes, George Szgetti, Dave Stewart, Paul Resnick and H2o magazine publisher, Martin Surgarman.
Of course, these were the days before surfing wetsuits and leashes … when surfing expeditions up and down the Californian coast were a real adventure and something to look forward to. After all, old cars were cheap, gas was around 25 cents a gallon and the Pacific Coast Highway still connected coastal communities rather than separating them.
Captured forever by Jamie’s camera the film takes us on a journey up and down Highway 101 in the early-to-mid ’60’s and gives us nostalgic glimpses of the coast the way it was before the money changers took over the temple.
Today’s viewers will also see Southern Californian surfing spots as they once were and even some that no longer exist, like Stanley’s, the Rincon Oil Piers and Dana Point.
My only criticism of the film is a small one.
While the accompanying background music track comes through both stereo channels, the narration is only on the left channel. And it’s only a criticism because Jamie Budge’s dry, infectuous humor makes the narration worth paying attention to.
All in all The Living Curl is a “must see” for all those interested in surfing’s rich history or anyone wanting to enjoy a surfing film that combines all the elements required to make it a classic.