Homeboy Industries, whose mission is to take former gang
members off the streets and show them there is more to life than gang-bangin', brought
young men and women from
summer for surf lessons.
Hot Tuna, a surf wear company that originated in
now has offices worldwide, donated trunks and shirts for the ex-gang
who besides riding waves modeled the clothing for a Homeboy Industries
Director Davo Weiss and his crew from BoardHeads, which
screens as part of the Newport Beach Film Festival today, were there to
footage for their documentary that follows members of the worldwide
of board riders giving back to mankind.
Pro surfers Shea Lopez
and Sarah Beardmore joined local
Homeboys to surfing and the beach lifestyle.
Photos of the
Homeboys in their new beach attire were shot at
the bridge over the
just like at any surf camp, the ex-gang members were
first taught on the sand how to get up on a boards and the proper
position for paddling
before moving into the water for their first-ever surfboard rides.
wound up spending a couple of hours in the water, with
most emerging with huge grins and sharing the shaka–or Hawaiian
sign–with one another.
The day ended with a barbecue on the
beach, a small campfire,
some live guitar music and a visit from swimwear models.
who has packed many more heartwarming stories into
BoardHeads, reports that many of the ex-gang members are still surfing
His documentary took him to exotic locations around the
world–but the focus was less on locales than the special needs of
by board riders.
“The concept of the film is that there's a
global tribe of
board riders sharing their stoke and making the world a better place,”
“Unlike a lot of surf movies that are just extended music videos, I've
got a project with a lot of heart–a lot of emotional connection.”
documentary was a work-in-progress for the past nine
years for the television and corporate-video veteran, whose other
include the televised Miss
It was actually a windsurfing vacation in
with his wife Janet
(affectionately known as "Snapp”) and some friends in 2001 that sparked
idea for BoardHeads.
While in Jericoacoara, which took five
hours in a four-wheel
drive vehicle to get to, he was struck by the notion of a global
community of riders
as a worthy documentary subject.
While surfing is considered the
original board sport, Weiss
includes among the global tribe of riders skateboarders, snowboarders,
windsurfers, wakeboarders and kite boarders, among others.
boarders share common bonds,” Weiss said, "like
families, relationships, dangers, travel and lessons.”
more than 150 hours of footage was shot from his working
vacations around the world. Besides
He took on projects with private clients to help pay
bills, which allowed him to complete BoardHeads at home. He nicknamed
studio, which includes state-of-the-art editing equipment and software,
Interviews with action sports superstars such as
Slater and Greg Noll are sprinkled among the stories of economically
disadvantaged and physically impaired board riders, also known as
But at the first screening of the rough-cut version
film at the Magic Castle in Hollywood three years ago, Weiss discovered
were less drawn to the superstars than to segments on ghetto kids in
South Africa, taken in by a surfing school and off the streets, and a
quadriplegic in Hawaii whose friends made a catamaran for him, with a
windsurfing sail, to provide him with the thrill and speed of
That experience prompted him to expand his project
more material of caring individuals "sharing their stoke” with the
disadvantaged and physically impaired around the world.
is basically the joy, the thrill, the energy you get
when you do these sports,” Weiss explained. "It's just such a great
BoardHeads screens at 1:30 p.m. today at Edwards Island