As surfers we know all too well the freedom and opportunity that the ocean possesses. It has the power to profoundly change lives. This is the theme that runs throughout Keith Malloy's film "Fishpeople." Currently streaming on Patagonia's YouTube channel, if ever there were a time to lean into the life aquatic it is now.
Telling the stories of a number of humans who have dedicated themselves to the sea, including Dave Rastovich, Kimi Werner and Matahi Drollet, it's a moving study in the myriad of ways the ocean calls to us.
"I was raised by my mom, and she taught me to always really, really share any joy that you have in your life," says Eddie Donnellan, who founded the City Surf Project in San Francisco.
His group endeavors to help disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth in the San Francisco Bay Area discover surfing, and through that is able to help with other more pressing social and economic issues.
While they come from vastly different environments, the messages Donnellan shares is not that far removed from what Drollet was taught as a child at the End of the Road in Tahiti.
"My grandfather and my dad always told me to be humble in the water. First you have to show respect to nature and the ocean," says Drollet.
And besides humility, the ocean offers a new path. Look no further than photographer Ray Collins. Injured in a mining accident in Australia, while Collins was rehabbing he happened to pickup a camera. His life would never be the same. He promptly traded the mine for the sea and today is renowned as one of the best water photographers in the world.
"The shot is the last thing in a chain of events," explains Collins. "It comes from looking at weather maps, wind, tide, where the sun is going to lineup. Sometimes I'll plan a single shot for six weeks."
Ultimately, once comfortable in the salt water, perceptions of the world have a tendency to change.
"The energy that I put out there, the confidence and courage that I show in holding my ground, is going to communicate to the sharks what kind of animal I am," says Werner