In the 1970s Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson wrote a series
of travel articles for Surfer Magazine, documenting their incredible
ten-year journey around the globe. The film The Far Shore
is a cinematic journey inspired by those same articles. A fusion
of stills, super 8 film, live interviews and the articles themselves
blend together to make this a multi-layered film experience. For
those who remember reading their articles in the '70s to those just
beginning their surfing lives, The Far Shore is an education.
A historical document of surf culture and a deep look into two of
surfings great personalities.
Some things to consider about the film
The late '60s and early '70s in California were a time of considerable
political upheaval. People were taking all kinds of avenues to explore
what that might mean for themselves. Kevin and Craig are part of
a surfing subculture, which opted out of some of the obvious choices
(drugs, religion) and instead took to the road of exploration. One
of the things that my film attempts to do is to investigate and
to come to understand that the surfing culture is not singular,
and that people in it dont conform to a stereotype. Just as
the Beats were considered "one" type of person, but in
fact were extremely varied and diverse in their approach and beliefs.
You can think of Kevin and Craig as surfing ethnographers
by their travels and explorations into various cultures around the
world. Theres a dimension to Craig and Kevins photography
that has a soulful, color-blazon quality thats like a lot
of 70s psychedelic work. With the advent of low cost cameras like
the Super 8, both ethnographers as professionals and individuals
like Kevin and Craig specifically, found themselves able to document
cultures visually in ways that people were not able to do so before.
It seems to me that Kevin and Craig were part of a larger effort
to make a visible record of what their encounters with cultures
not their own was like. The Far Shore is as much an
ethnographic documentary as it is a surfing movie.
From The Surfers Journal
Volume 11, Number 1, Early Spring 2002
Rough Guide to Liberia
and Points Beyond
So 31-year-old Topanga surfer Greg Schell is up in the graduate film
program at San Francisco State University, angst-ing over a subject
for his final project when he flashes on how much he has enjoyed the
Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson travel series in 70s-era
Surfer mag. Boom. Calls Craig, arranges a meeting, and the three get
together to feel things out. Next thing you know, Schells on
the plane to San Salvador to see if he can pass muster with surfings
most endearing grass roots surf travelers (see TSJ 10.5s Passing
Time in El Salvador).
Turns out they dig the guy, and Craig mentions that oh, yeah, they
have hours and hours of Super 8 film that Kevin shot on their journeys.
Thats right The Far Shore takes you around the horn to
all of the destinations Naughton and Peterson scored in the early
70s, and Craigs still camera work comes to life
in beautiful ways in the moving picture medium. Adding to the package
are Schells well-paced interviews with the two, contextualized
for the non-surfers among us by UCSC sociology prof Bill Nichols.
The personalities of Kevin and Craig make the film: Kevins dry
wit and comic timing are the perfect counterpoint for Petersons
guileless, matter-of-fact storytelling. Its easy to see how
these two traveled so (apparently) effortlessly together.
While Shore is filled with surprises like learning that a teenaged
Peterson worked for a period on an oil rig supply boat in the pirate-infested
waters off the Congo it is the seamless totality of the project
that make it a cant miss. Music, discovery, stills, and surfing
fuse to make this the most pleasant surf media surprise Ive
had in years.
Scott Hulet, Editor The Surfers Journal
Excerpts from the SURFER Magazine article series The Further
Misadventures of Naughton/Peterson:
We young surfers packed our belongings, bid farewells,
and started a long journey to a land of Eden and intrigue."
Centro America (1972)
"Many moons ago, we left home. No women around, bugs have thickened,
heats sinking in
Deeper Into Centro America (1973)
"All of us were mind blown
these were the most outrageous,
hollow, makeable, grinding tubes that Id ever seen."
Centro America - On The Way Home (1973)
"Surfing in the morning, hammock consciousness, reading, or
cards in the afternoon and maybe a glass-off surf session late in
the day: thus was the rhythm of our lives." "Through Latin
"Our diet amounted to basic blandness: bread, canned sardines,
cheese, nuts and fruit
an insufferable heat made our clothes
feel like burlap, and no nearby abundant supply of fresh water meant
a bath was out of the question."
Beneath the African Sun (1975)
"Edging over the feathering crest of the first wave, already
past vertical, I caught a glimpse of what seemed like an infinite
number of swells stretching to the horizon."