:: Aloha on the Big Screen


About three years ago I ventured to a post-production house with SurfAid International to sift through some old footage that been donated to the humanitarian organization.  Upon arriving at the studio I found two legends also going through historical treasures of footage from another era.  Sitting next to me in the viewing room was Jack McCoy and Derek Hynd.  For a novice filmmaker this was a treat to say the least. I soon learned Jack was working on his latest masterpiece, A Deeper Shade of Blue.  Over the coming years Jack extended the invitation to attend his ideally located studio over looking Avalon Beach.  I was privileged to witness the filmmaking process from behind the scenes with an international surf filmmaking legend, this is what it means to live in The Northern Beaches.

Fast forward a few years and I joined friends, colleagues and Australia’s surf family at the iconic Orpheum Picture Palace for A Deeper Shade of Blue’s Australian premiere.  While the film was gorgeous, it was those that had come together to make the dream come true that made it hit close to home.

Jack, as he does, got up to give a speech, but was first introduced by his daughter.  He shared with us that in 1999 she had played up on that very stage, as a three year old, when they premiered The Occumentary and she has since then made a contribution to opening many of his premieres.  He further went on to read the Duke card.  It was a simple card that beautifully explained the ‘Aloha Spirit’. “Aloha means hello, Aloha means goodbye, Aloha means love…”

The lights went dark, the film commenced, and Jack yelled out from his seat , “it’s a surf film - by the way - so feel free to make some noise.”  The hooting and hollering began and continued on through the origins of surfing, through the board designs, surf cinema, all around Gidget and straight through the mad wipe outs at Shipsterns.

Encompassing an educational approach that many surf films have not yet had the courage to attack, A Deeper Shade of Blue went beyond definition of this or that, it delved into what we may all know a bit about, but love to learn more of, what we may somehow instinctually realize about the underlying love of surfing, but have had yet to pay homage to.  This film can be watched by one and all, it truly sums up what has been, and will continue to be, an incredible career in filmmaking for Jack McCoy.

What stood out the most was the final credits, however.  While contributions were recognized and songs credited, the screen showed a boy, no more then 3 years of age, riding wave after wave.  The crowd cheered on as he pumped through the waves loving absolutely every second of it.  The music playing was a song Jack Johnson had written for his father, a dear friend of McCoy’s, this was emotional in it’s own right and he shared that Aloha with his audience.

He closed the evening off by pointing out, that young boy, incidentally the great nephew of surfing icon, Tom Blake, was the hero of the film.  This young grom charging the mini waves reminded us of the pure love, the Aloha for the ocean, that was the true purpose behind surfing and thus behind A Deeper Shade of Blue.  “Imagine what he’s going to be doing out there on the waves in a few years…” McCoy.

Interview by Tatianna K Alpert

Local Focus is lovingly produced in collaboration with Little Hobo Project