“There is a wisdom in the wave, high borne and beautiful,
for those who would but paddle out.” - Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, MD
Like many American outsider-adventurers, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz set out to realize a utopian dream. Abandoning a successful medical practice, he sought self-fulfillment by taking up the nomadic life of a surfer. But unlike other American searchers like Thoreau or Kerouac, Paskowitz took his wife and nine children along for the ride, all eleven of them cohabitating in a 24 foot camper. Together, they lived a life that would be unfathomable to most, but enviable to anyone whose dreams succumbed to a 9-5 job. The Paskowitz Family proved that America may be running out of frontiers, but it hasn’t run out of frontiersman.
Doug Pray’s documentary SURFWISE posits an intriguing question: just what is the true American dream? By 1956, Paskowitz was successfully rising in the worlds of medicine, sports and politics. He had easily conquered one version the American success story, but his idea of the “dream” found its realization in the then, relatively small nomadic community of surfing. Through his interaction with nature and quest for a more natural form of mental and physical health, he found transcendence. And that idea of finding something “holy” in nature, harks to the earliest Americans, whether they were natives or refugees from Europe. The idea was to find some greater force in the physical surroundings of the land; transcendence if you will. And coupled with that idea was the fact that the new world offered one the freedom to pursue their dreams.
Spurning the 50’s infatuation with material prosperity, Paskowitz choose instead to raise his family on the road, where they were frequently down to their last dime. And as the film recounts Paskowitz’ fantastic journey, it prompts one to consider our contemporary idea of the “dream.” What has it become? An aspiration to be a finalist on ‘American Idol’? Or more to the point: is a person’s true worth based on their possessions? If this is in fact the case, then indeed the Paskowitz experiment was a failure. But if Paskowitzs’ life is taken in the context of what the American dream originally was, then Doc Paskowitz may be one of the richest men in our country.
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SYNOPSIS “Most parents say ‘Go to school. Don’t go swimming with sharks, that’s dangerous.
Our parents said, you can go swimming with sharks, but you’re not fuckin’ going to
school—that shit’s dangerous!” - Salvador Paskowitz, the 7th Paskowitz son
SURFWISE follows the odyssey of 85-year-old, legendary surfer Dr. Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, his wife Juliette, and their nine children—all of whom were home-schooled on the beaches of Southern California, Hawaii, Mexico and Israel; they surfed every day of their lives, and were forced to adhere to a strict diet and lifestyle by their passionate and demanding, health-conscious father.
In the mid-1950s Dorian Paskowitz was a successful doctor living the good life in the territory of Hawaii, until two devastating divorces and the realization that he had no interest in money or status caused him to completely upend his life. Dorian dropped his practice and traveled to Israel for a year where he lived among the Bedouins and developed a lifelong obsession with a healthy diet. He introduced surfing to Israel and became a hero in the burgeoning Tel Aviv beach scene. Returning to the States, he met his wife Juliette, and the rest was history. They fell madly in love, steered clear of society, lived out of a tiny camper on the beach, and had 7 sons in rapid succession: David, Jonathan, Abraham, Israel, Moses, Adam, and Salvador Daniel. Then they had one daughter, Navah, and their ninth child, Joshua.
The children were raised in the Jewish tradition, complete with Shabbat on the beach every Friday night. But that’s where similarities with a normal societal upbringing end. Doc’s absolute determination was to raise his children according to the strictest standards of nature. They ate only organic and/or raw foods with no sugar or fat. Their community was their family. They didn’t need money or have to pay bills or taxes. Their home was anywhere the crowded camper was parked.
What happens to eight brothers and a sister that are raised under such extraordinary circumstances? SURFWISE is the story of a man who pursued his dreams and dragged his family along for the wild ride.
SURFWISE director Doug Pray has made a wide variety of documentary films, music videos and commercials, but he is best known for his four feature-length films that have explored popular American subcultures.
His first film was HYPE!, a candid look back at the emergence and explosion of the Seattle rock music scene. The award-winning documentary premiered at Sundance, was released theatrically coast-to-coast, and went on to receive international distribution in all media (now Lions Gate/Artisan). A major critical success, HYPE! received “Two Thumbs Up!” from Siskel & Ebert, and was called, “A brilliant synthesis of social anthropology and entertainment,” by the Los Angeles Times.
A few years later, SCRATCH debuted at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. It was a dynamic exploration of the world of hip-hop DJs and “turntablism.” Premiere magazine called it “…an amazing, life-affirming movie.” SCRATCH was released domestically in 2002 by Palm Pictures and worldwide by Intermedia Films. It was nominated for an IFP Independent Spirit Award, and the best-selling DVD is still widely available.
Last year, Image Entertainment released INFAMY into stores nationwide after it played in 35 global cities with RESfest as well as a US tour sponsored by Scion. Filmed with a handheld camera by Doug, this low-budget, underground film is an intense exploration of the world of illegal graffiti and six of America’s most notorious vandals. Raw and revealing, it’s been unanimously embraced by the international graffiti community and described by Vapors Magazine as being “unrivaled by any graffiti film to date.” (visit: www.infamythemovie.com)
His most recent feature documentary is BIG RIG, which is being released nationwide in June 2008 by Screen Media Films (Universal) and a multi-city truckstop tour sponsored by Sirius Satellite Radio. A broad portrait of America told through the eyes of long-haul truck drivers, "BIG RIG" premiered at SXSW and won the AFM Market award at Silverdocs. Directed, shot and edited by Doug (who teamed again with SCRATCH
producer Brad Blondheim), this massive road film portrays 25,000 miles of U.S. highways, 45 states, and a fiercely independent group of truck drivers who defend their role as America's "last cowboys." The Washington Post said, "Watch this movie, meet these very real people, and you'll never look at a passing 18-wheeler the same way again." Check out: www.bigrigmovie.com
Other projects include: LAUNCH (working title, a/k/a THE ALCHEMISTS currently in production), an exploration of the greatest minds in advertising and the cultural impact they've had (a project of The One Club); RED DIAPER BABY, a feature-length performance film of Josh Kornbluth's hysterical and emotional stage monologue (Sundance Channel), and SUNDANCE 20, which was the first ever look-behind-the-scenes at the Sundance filmmakers lab (with Robert Redford, Sigourney Weaver, and others). Earlier in his career, Doug directed numerous music videos and has edited them for everyone from Eazy-E to Steve Earle. In 1999, he also edited the feature AMERICAN PIMP for directors Albert and Allen Hughes.
In the commercial world, Doug won an Emmy Award in 2006 for an HIV-AIDS awareness campaign he shot and directed in El Salvador. He also directed a highly regarded series of short films about London workers for Dr. Martens and a national TV campaign for gay rights in the workplace for the Gill Foundation, which won a Bronze Clio and a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival. He is repped by the Oil Factory for whom he has directed ads and short films for PBS, Ford, Kodak, Adidas, Nike, Sprite, AT&T, and Kaiser Permanente, among others.
Tommy first met the Paskowitz family while attending the Paskowitz Surf Camp. After spending a week with Doc and his nine children, Tommy learned to surf and dreamt up an idea for a documentary film about the family. Eight years later, the film SURFWISE is in the can but his surfing skills are abysmal.
While not producing documentary films about Jewish surfing doctors, Tommy is a partner at a creative production company called Mekanism. He works with a group of highly talented directors and artists to create commercials, short films, viral stuff, TV shows and feature films.
As a director, Tommy’s commercials and short films have been recognized at Cannes, The One Show, The Creativity No Spot Festival, The Clios, The AICP’s, AdWeek’s Top 50 Spots, Creativity Magazine’s Best Work of the Year. Three of Tommy’s commercials are in the permanent collection of advertising at the Museum of Modern Art.
Tommy recently shot a 60 second spot for the global launch of the Nike+ system, a joint venture between Nike and Apple. Most recently, he worked with Daily Show comedian Demetri Martin to co-write and direct clearification.com, the multi-award winning campaign for Microsoft.
Mekanism has recently been named one of the top 50 most influential creative companies by Creativity Magazine.
Tommy lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children.
Mr. Weaver has produced ten films. Most recently, Mr. Weaver was a Co-Producer on Dreamworks Pictures, THE HEARTBREAK KID which stars Ben Stiller and was directed by The Farrelly Brothers. Mr. Weaver recently produced SURFWISE, a documentary about the Paskowitz family. SURFWISE, financed by Mark Cuban’s HDNet Films, premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and is scheduled to be released theatrically in April 2008 by Magnolia Pictures. Mr. Weaver is currently producing BARRY MUNDAY starring Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer.
Mr. Weaver produced the film PRETTY PERSUASION, which starred Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, James Woods and Selma Blair and was directed by Marcos Siega. PRETTY PERSUASION was screened in the dramatic competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival where it was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
In 2004, Miramax Films released another one of Mr. Weaver’s films – MY BABY’S DADDY, starring Anthony Anderson, Eddie Griffin and Michael Imperioli. Made with a production budget of approximately $12 million, MY BABY’S DADDY earned over $18 million at the box office worldwide.
Mr. Weaver produced the critically acclaimed documentary SEARCHING FOR DEBRA WINGER, which was directed by Rosanna Arquette, featured Jane Fonda, Debra Winger, Whoopi Goldberg, Meg Ryan, Gwyneth Paltrow and debuted at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. And Mr. Weaver’s production, SOL GOODE, written and directed by Danny Comden and starring Balthazar Getty, Jamie Kennedy, Jared Leto and Danny Comden, was acquired by Lionsgate Films.
At the age of 17, Mr. Weaver began his career in the entertainment industry by working as an assistant to Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chairman of Walt Disney. During the next several years, Mr. Weaver worked in numerous facets of production on over a hundred films including DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS, THE COLOR OF MONEY, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, DICK TRACEY and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE.
Jonathan Paskowitz spent years involved in the surf industry. First as a professional surfer winning the US and World Longboard championships in 1987 and 1988. He later worked with surfer hero Herbie Fletcher at Astro Productions, creating the first surf comic book Surf Crazed and the first surfer trading cards. Astro Boys division of film Video production became his favorite part of the job developing Wave Warriors surf Videos with WEA and Warner Bros Music.
After leaving Astro he went to Fly Industries and developed an eyewear company called Black Flys, manufacturing eyewear snowboards and apparel. Fly Girl, a femme line of similar products and Fly TV a line of inexpensive surf skate and snow videos.
After Flys, Jonathan was the director of Marketing for Gotcha brand management, working on Gotcha Girl star and MCD. Later, he did indie marketing for companies like Earthlink, Adidas and Oliver Peoples (brand eyewear). He then went on to work with Stephan Nemeth of Rhino films (who developed LORDS OF DOGTOWN) and worked with Brian Grazer on BLUE CRUSH. While at Rhino, Jonathan met Doug Pray. While there he also met Graydon Carter and during the next few years he worked on little projects and surfed with Graydon’s family and Punch Hutton-Hodges. Through these associations, the SURFWISE team slowly evolved, adding Matt Weaver and Tommy Means along the way.
Jonathan’s other film work includes BIG WEDNESDAY and BACK TO THE BEACH.
Check out: www.alohadoc.com
Graydon Carter has been editor of Vanity Fair since July 1992. He has won seven National Magazine Awards, including two for General Excellence for magazines with circulation of more than one million, the highest honor in magazine publishing. Carter has been named Advertising Age's editor of the year and is the first editor ever to be twice named Adweek magazine's editor of the year. Prior to joining Vanity Fair, Carter was the editor of The New York Observer, which he completely revamped. He came to The New York Observer from Spy, which he co-founded and co-edited. Prior to Spy, he worked as a staff writer for Time, where he covered business, law, and entertainment for five years before joining Life as a staff writer in 1983.
Carter was an executive producer of 9/11, the highly acclaimed film by Jules and Gedeon Naudet about the World Trade Center attacks, which aired on CBS. Carter received an Emmy Award as well as a Peabody Award for 9/11. He also produced the acclaimed documentary THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, about the legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans. In addition to SURFWISE, Carter has been working on other film projects ranging in topics from the Chicago Seven to the life of Hunter S. Thompson. Carter is the author of What We'veLost (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), a comprehensive critical examination of the Bush administration, and Spy: The Funny Years (Miramax Books, 2006), with Kurt Andersen and George Kalogerakis. He edited the best-selling Vanity Fair's Hollywood (Viking Studio, 2000), a 320-page, $60 coffee-table book, as well as Oscar Night (Knopf, 2004), a lavish photographic history of the exclusive Oscar parties held over the past 75 years. The father of four, he lives in New York.
Director of Photography
Dave Homcy is a Hawaii-based cinematographer whose latest film and TV credits include SHELTER, A BROKEDOWN MELODY and the TV show "Lost."
Homcy was born and raised in Florida where he developed a passion for surf cinematography and photography that he then took to Hawaii. After twenty years in the film business, Dave is still living his dream, traveling around the world with like-minded surfers, and experiencing different cultures.
After being chosen by SURFWISE director Doug Pray for his unique eye on land and vast knowledge of filming in, under, and around the water, Dave revealed a fascinating personal connection to the subject of SURFWISE. In 1978, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz visited Lake Worth High School in Florida where he showed a surfing movie and talked to the student body about surfing and health (as he often did, while traveling around the country with his family). As a way to thank the student activities director for allowing him this opportunity, Doc gave him a surfboard for him to take home and introduce surfing to his son. That boy was Dave Homcy, and he's been an avid (and excellent) surfer ever since. Some 20 years later, Dave contacted Doc to thank him and Doc screamed, "You're fucking kidding! I can't believe it!", and he well remembered giving that board away to Dave's father. That special relationship greatly helped build a trust and a more intimate bond between the camera and Paskowitz during the making of SURFWISE.
Dave Homcy filmed SURFWISE in High Definition with a Sony F900 camera. The surfing and underwater images in the film were shot with a Sony HDV camera in an underwater housing. Traveling light, and filming mostly handheld, his crew consisted primarily of one lighting assistant.
John Dragonetti is a music composer, producer, and musician living in Los Angeles. In the past three years, John has scored music for award-winning TV series on HBO, Showtime, the Sundance Chanel, NBC and E!. He has also composed music for numerous commercials, working with such brands as Volkswagon, Coca-Cola, Volvo and EA Games. SURFWISE is Dragonetti’s first feature film.
Dragonetti has recently been recording and touring with his two bands, Jack Drag and The Submarines, whose second album, "Honeysuckle Weeks," is being released this spring on Nettwerk Records. He has produced albums for numerous other bands and has officially remixed tracks by such artists as Avril Lavigne, Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer, and Spanish rockers The Pinkertones.
His soundtrack evolved in step with the creation of SURFWISE in the editing room. His close collaboration with director Doug Pray began with the delivery of dozens of experiments, existing tracks, beats, and chord progressions, which Pray and editor Lasse Jarvi used at will when writing and constructing scenes from the documentary footage. As the film's narrative structure began to take form, Dragonetti created new original compositions to achieve an overall unity of sound. As scenes got trimmed and moved or joined (in true documentary fashion), so too did all of the music. This back-and-forth dance between editor and composer continued for many months, until final picture cut was achieved. The only track that was used "as is" was the song, "Modern Inventions" by the Submarines, from their album "Declare a New State."
SURFWISE editor Lasse Järvi also edited director Doug Pray’s intense documentary about graffiti culture INFAMY released in 2005. He has also worked in the commercial world, editing for brands such as Microsoft, Boost Mobile, Snickers, and Toyota.
Born in Finland, and raised on the road not unlike the Paskowitz family, Lasse Järvi’s interest in film began with endless repeat viewings of skate videos. Many videos and countless injuries later, Lasse found himself studying film in the Rockies.
While at Colorado College, he took a documentary filmmaking course taught by SURFWISE director Doug Pray. Since then, Pray has asked him to edit several of his feature projects including SURFWISE. Says Pray, "Lasse cuts documentary footage together in a unique way. While efficiently telling the story and conveying information, he brings in observational surprises, abstractions, and rhythms that can, at times, obtain an almost dreamlike level. As an editor myself and having cut many of my own films, I like working with Lasse because he edits in a way that I can't."
Unable to choose a home, the 27-year-old Finn splits his time between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Helsinki.
TODD WAGNER - MARK CUBAN
(Executive Producers)Todd Wagner’s dynamic blend of entrepreneurial spirit, business expertise and philanthropic commitment have resulted in the creation of some of the entertainment industry’s most successful and compelling digital, intellectual and physical properties. His outlook of bringing the consumer the best entertainment experiences, while creating new and effective business models are evident across all of his current endeavors. Wagner’s first significant mark in the media business came when he and partner Mark Cuban co-founded Broadcast.com, which they later sold to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion in 1999. Using this success as a platform, Wagner fused his passion for entertainment with his business portfolio to build the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media entities across content creation, distribution and exhibition. This innovative portfolio of companies spans content creation, distribution and exhibition: 2929 Productions, HDNet Films, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres, HDNet and HDNet Movies.
Through 2929 Productions, Wagner has led the charge to bring meaningful and inspirational stories to audiences. He executive produced the critically acclaimed drama AKEELAH AND THE BEE, starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer, and GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, the period drama directed by and co-starring George Clooney, which earned a half-dozen Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture.
Founded in 2003, Wagner/Cuban’s HDNet Films was the first company dedicated to producing films in High Definition. Its first project was the Oscar-nominated documentary ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM. On behalf of HDNet Films, Wagner also negotiated a deal with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh to make six movies that are being released “day-and-date” across theatrical, television and home video platforms, an innovative distribution strategy allowing consumers to choose how, when and where they wish to see a film.
Wagner continues to challenge, inform and propel the landscape forward all the while contributing to important work. Through his own charitable foundation (www.toddwagnerfoundation.org) , Wagner has committed his personal resources and innovation to bettering the lives of at-risk children throughout the country. Whether it is for his business interests, or his philanthropic work, Wagner’s results-driven sea change approach is consistent. From introducing streaming audio and video over a decade ago to the Internet, and forging day-and-date multiplatform releases early last year, to innovating programs to equip inner city schools with needed technology skills – Wagner insists on supporting entrepreneurial, inspirational and socially conscious
Mark Cuban is co-founder, Chairman and president of HDNet, which operates two 24/7 cable networks, HDNet and HDNet Movies. HDNet, launched in 2001, features exciting and topical news, sports, music and entertainment programming, including up to 20 hours of original features each week, all produced in the highest quality 1080i HD - more original high-definition programming than any other network. News and entertainment includes original series “HDNet World Report,” “Deadline!,” “Face 2 Face with Roy Firestone,” “HDNet Concert Series,” and “True Music,” as well as the acclaimed Warner Bros. series "Smallville." Live sports productions include NASCAR auto racing, NHL and MLS games.
Cuban is also the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and co-owner with Todd Wagner of 2929 Entertainment, a company that owns a film and television library, two movie production companies, a film distribution company, and the Landmark art-house theater chain.
Cuban co-founded Internet broadcasting service Broadcast.com in 1995 and sold the company for $5.7 billion to Yahoo! in 1999. Prior to Broadcast.com Cuban co-founded a computer consulting firm MicroSolutions and sold it to Compuserve.
JASON KLIOT & JOANA VICENTE
(EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS) Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente have produced over thirty films by such acclaimed directors as Stephen Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch and Miguel Arteta. They co-founded Open City Films twelve years ago as well as HDNet Films, Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s high-definition production studio. Kliot and Vicente’s films have garnered numerous awards, including an Oscar® nomination for their film ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM. Their films have been selected for the Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Venice, and Toronto film festivals. In 2007, Kliot and Vicente were honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the Made in NY award for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the city’s entertainment industry.
Open City’s latest release, AWAKE, starring Jessica Alba and Hayden Christiansen, opened at #5 at the US box office. Also in development at Open City is David Foster Wallace’s novel INFINITE JEST, Nicole Holofcener’s ME, TOO and James Lasdun’s PROBATE. With HDNet Films, Kliot and Vicente produced features and documentaries shot digitally, all distributed by Magnolia Pictures. Their most recent HDNet productions were accepted to the 2008 Sundance Film Festival: QUID PRO QUO starring Vera Farmiga and Nick Stahl and GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON, a documentary narrated by Johnny Depp. Other past HDNet Films releases include REDACTED, BUBBLE, BROKEN ENGLISH, FAY GRIM, and DIGGERS. Prior to HDNet, Kliot and Vicente founded the US’s first full-fledged digital production company, Blow Up Pictures, which enjoyed a successful run of low-budget digital films including CHUCK & BUCK, LOVELY AND AMAZING, SERIES 7, and THE GUYS. All premiered at either the Sundance Film Festival or the Toronto Film Festival and were distributed by Artisan, Lion’s Gate, and Focus Features, respectively.
THE PASKOWITZ FAMILY DORIAN “DOC” PASKOWITZ, M.D.
Dorian Paskowitz is an 86 year-old doctor and surfer who has spent most of his life promoting what he calls the “5 Pillars of Health”: diet, exercise, rest, recreation, and habits of mind. An early advocate of preventive health and the benefits of surfing, his philosophies are detailed in his 1988 book SURFING AND HEALTH: How to Lose Weight and Gain Life.
Born in 1921 in Galveston, Texas, Doc first surfed at the age of nine in the Gulf of Mexico. Both he and his mother were asthmatic and as a result she was a devoted health-food advocate. His father was a shoe salesman and they were all raised in the Jewish faith. Doc’s younger sister and brother, Sonia and Adrian, are both interviewed in SURFWISE. The family moved to San Diego in the 1930s where Doc became a lifeguard and was among the first true generation of early California surfers, making San Onofre his favorite spot (“old man’s” break is still named for him and his buddies).
In the 1940s, Doc earned B.A. and M.D. degrees from Stanford University and did military service aboard the USS Ajax, when he witnessed the atomic bomb tests on Bikini Island. He became president of the American Medical Association in Hawaii and had two unsuccessful marriages when he became disillusioned with his life. He traveled to Israel, where he lived in the desert (learned to eat healthy), tried to join the Israeli army (failed), tested his newfound sexual prowess on dozens of women (he called it a scientific “study of the psychosexual behavior of women”), and became a local hero for introducing surfing to Tel Aviv. Then, he returned to the U.S. with a new set of priorities “to be a good father, and thus, a good man” as he says in SURFWISE, and wed his current wife of 48 years, Juliette.
As the film details in living color, Doc and Juliette had nine children together, whom they home-schooled and surfed with as they traveled around the continent in a 24-foot camper. Living a pure and healthy life outside of all societal expectations, Doc has always shared strong opinions about how modern America is rapidly “killing ourselves” through fat and lack of exercise. He therefore made sure his own family lived according to the strict diet and lifestyle of animals in wild, which has brought both praise and controversy from his kids and outsiders.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Doc would take on part-time medical work in needy areas to make small amounts of money as they traveled. In the summers, their home base became San Onofre beach in California, where the family established the world-renowned Paskowitz Surf Camp in 1972.
Though Dorian Paskowitz was inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991, he was never a big-wave or competitive surfer. Instead, Doc has incorporated the “aloha spirit” of surfing into his life and made it a vital component of his teaching. Throughout the surfing world, Doc is famous for the medical treatment and lifestyle advice he’s given to surfers, and for the impact his wife and 9 incredibly-dynamic children have had upon it. Until recently, Doc and Juliette lived in a small apartment in Waikiki, Hawaii (seen in SURFWISE). They are now back in Southern California.
JULIETTE EMELIA PAEZ
Juliette was born in Long Beach California in 1932. Her parents were originally from Durango, Mexico and she had four sisters and three brothers (which perhaps prepared her for the idea of having nine of her own?). Immersed in music from an early age, she learned to sing every part of the great operas such as Carmen, Rigoletto and La Traviata that her father would play for her on 78 records. After her voice deepened (and she became very tall) she continued her passion for music by attending Long Beach Community College where she took “every music course they had to offer,” with an emphasis on choral work and J.S. Bach (her “first love”). After studying music, Juliette auditioned for, and was accepted into the internationally-acclaimed Roger Wagner Chorale in Southern California. But after meeting Dorian Paskowitz in a bar on Catalina Island, things changed fast. They fell in love, and she was pregnant and married within a year, with the two of them living out of a modified Studebaker and establishing a style of beach-living that they would continue for most of their lives. Even though SURFWISE highlights the difficulties of life in the camper for Juliette (“for ten years I was either pregnant or breast-feeding, without one day off…”), Juliette is very outspoken about her devotion to her husband, and her support of the lifestyle they chose. She and Doc remain as a strong couple today and she stays in close contact with all nine of their children, as well as all seventeen grandchildren.
DAVID PASKOWITZ, son #1, born in 1959
David was always the captain of the family. As the oldest child, he was expected to lead, encourage, and enforce Dorian’s philosophy while keeping his eight siblings in line. After he finally broke away from the camper at age 23, David used his amazing vocal talent and stage skills to launch a musical career as lead singer of Johnny Monster and the Nightmares (a popular Orange County band who played with Sublime and others), Rock Kandy, Goldfish, Metal Snake (an ‘80s heavy metal revival band), and now, The David King Experience, a variety show in which he documents his life story in song. As depicted in SURFWISE, David’s attempt to help save the Paskowitz Surf Camp in the late ‘90s led to a major family rift, which is only now being mended. David, his wife Nancy and his daughters Davida and Delilah live near San Diego, California. He surfs everyday.
JONATHAN PASKOWITZ, son #2 born in 1961
Please see his bio in the “Producer” section.
ABRAHAM PASKOWITZ, son #3, born in 1962
In SURFWISE, Abraham Paskowitz jokingly calls himself the “first girl” of the family, having used his culinary skills and empathy to help his mother manage daily life in the camper. Tired of his competitive brothers, Abe left his family in Baja California at age 15 with $50 in his pocket to pursue romance and a series of restaurant jobs in Southern California. Interviewed for SURFWISE while working as a chef at San Clemente’s Beach Fire Bar & Grill, he has recently moved to Spring Hill, Florida, and opened “Our Pots and Pans,” a restaurant and catering company. Despite his passion for cooking, surfing has always been a big part of Abe’s life. He ran the family surf camp for a whole decade (1984-94), and produced a number of major longboard surfing competitions, including the Cabo Classic (with Herbie Fletcher) and, for six straight years, “A Tribute to the Greats Longboard Classic.” In the mid-1990’s, working with Tommy Hilfiger, he developed a line of Paskowitz family surfwear, and began his own brand, called Jaisle. Near the end of SURFWISE, Abe and his wife Shelly are seen introducing their newborn baby, Levi, to grandfather Dorian for the first time at the Honolulu Airport. He has two other daughters, Naomi Paskowitz and Caia Jaisle.
ISRAEL “IZZY” PASKOWITZ, son #4, born in 1963
Izzy is the surfing champion of the family, having competed in, and won, dozens of longboard titles, including the 1988 Hang Ten World Championship. At the height of his competitive surfing career, he had numerous sponsors and had modeled for Nike ads and many other surfwear brands. In 1998, Dorian gave Israel ownership of the world-famous Paskowitz Surf Camp. Since then, he and his wife Danielle have owned and operated the camp out of Mission Beach, California, with the help of various Paskowitz brothers and professional surfers. The camp, which offers weeklong sessions throughout the summer for children and adults, was originally started by Doc and Juliette in San Onofre 35 years ago to help spread the “Aloha spirit” and advance the sport of surfing. Izzy and Danielle have three children, including Isaiah, who is autistic and is shown in SURFWISE at home with his father. Inspired by the positive results of tandem surfing with Isaiah, Izzy and Danielle founded SURFERS HEALING, a very successful nonprofit organization that offers free surfing day camps to hundreds of autistic children and their families in Southern California, New York, and Hawaii. Izzy and Surfers Healing were recently profiled in a widely-shown short on ESPN. (www.surfershealing.org)
MOSES ZYUS PASKOWITZ II, son #5, born in 1964
As the middle child in a family of 9, Moses is the ultimate intermediary between all the different factions of brothers. But he’s also a peacemaker because he’s very big and very strong. In fact he’s the only Paskowitz to have attended college due to a full scholarship he received to play football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Though a bad knee injury cost him that scholarship, he went on to play for the San Diego Chargers’ farm team until additional injuries forced him out. Moses then set his sights on the entertainment industry, first going to school to learn the “biz” and eventually joining a union and becoming a transportation captain and field producer on numerous feature films, as well as being a full-time professional driver for Michael Bay and Tori Spelling. Moses ran the Paskowitz Surf Camp for one year and remains an active surfer. He and his wife, Phaedra, live in Encino, California and have three sons. In SURFWISE, Moses’ most memorable quote is how a terrible surfing accident (involving a surfboard fin and his colon) almost cost him his life.
ADAM PASKOWITZ, son #6, born in 1966
Adam pushes the limits, applying his creativity to everything he does. Not content to just surf like his siblings, he was among the first anywhere to do certain types of aerials, consecutive 360s, and to add extra fins to his board. In SURFWISE, he is found coming back from the sea on his surfboard after “extreme fishing,” where he drops a lure and lets sharks and other big fish pull him around (or so he claims!). But Adam’s primary gift has been music. An extremely talented songwriter, vocalist, pianist and guitar player, his first big break was with the popular late ‘80s glam-band Mozart. He then created the band The Flys with his brother Joshua, and co-wrote their top-40 hit “Got You (Where I Want You).” That song became the soundtrack single for the movie “Disturbing Behavior” and got them a tour with the Rolling Stones as the opening act. He’s seen in SURFWISE performing with his current band Jetliner (www.jetlinermusic.com). Despite two decades of music industry success, Adam is the son who most wants to emulate his father’s nomadic life by leaving it all behind, home schooling his children and traveling around the world in a “slow-moving shrimp boat.” Fittingly, he and his wife Tracy have named their newborn son “Doc”.
SALVADOR DANIEL PASKOWITZ, son #7, 1967
It was miraculous enough that when Dorian first met Juliette he predicted the future by telling her she’d become the mother of his “seven sons” (a true story)… But nobody would have guessed that 7th son would be born on the 7th day of the 7th month in the 7th decade of the century, as was true for Salvador. A brilliant illustrator and self-described “nerd” of the family, Sal was fascinated with books and technology and got into computer programming (on a jerry-rigged unit in the camper) before most people even knew computers existed. Early in his post-camper life, he worked for Adobe Illustrator, and helped pioneer color selection software that is still in use today. In 1991, he drew and published the world’s first (and only?) surf-related comic book, “Surf Crazed Comics”, and has been a commercial illustrator and logo designer for Hurley, Billabong, and many other major sports companies. Though he still does graphic design for various clients, he has become a screenwriter, having recently co-wrote the film VOLPONI for Disney and other projects in development. He and his wife Kristin have a teenage daughter, Halo, who they have home schooled.
NAVAH PASKOWITZ-WALTHER, #8 child and only daughter, born in 1969
It’s hard to imagine growing up in a 24-foot camper with nine kids, but even harder to imagine being the only girl. But Navah grew up “just like one of the brothers,” surfing with them, being one of the gang, and, as she jokes in SURFWISE “without ever even having any girl’s underwear.” Like her siblings, Navah has a strong creative streak. She is a talented illustrator and has done surfwear design for Guess, Marciano, and others, including a wetsuit line she developed in the mid-1990s. Her striking good looks also have allowed numerous modeling opportunities, showing off her surfing skills in advertisements for high-end swimwear. Today, Navah describes herself as a full-time working mother. She has three children, Aviva, Wolf, and Max and lives in Encino, California with her husband Hank Walther. Religiously devoted (perhaps more than her brothers), Navah is heavily involved as a volunteer at their Temple and children’s school. In SURFWISE, Navah talks about the choice she made to opt for a suburban, domestic life, but that she still feels like a “fish out of water” when she’s sitting in traffic on the 101, daydreaming back to her days in Cabo…
JOSHUA BEN PASKOWITZ, #9, eighth son and final child, born in 1974
Josh is the youngest child of Dorian and Juliette. As he grew up, his cramped living quarters became increasingly spacious as all his siblings aged and moved out of the camper, eventually leaving him alone with his parents living on the beach in Acapulco. Yet, Josh seemed to absorb, and equal, all of his sibling’s good looks and talents: as an artist, a surfer, an athlete, and a musician. Musically, he was catapulted into early rock-stardom with his brother Adam in their band The Flys, (mentioned above, who had a top-40 hit and toured with The Rolling Stones). In SURFWISE, he is filmed performing the song “Black” on the Sunset strip with his co-writer Brian Ginsberg in the band Life in Exile (www.myspace.com/lifeinexile). Now applying his creativities to film, he’s directing and scoring his own documentary about the surf community in San Clemente. Josh is a strong surfer and has worked as an instructor at many sessions of the surf camp over the years.