I’m a huge surfing fan. But the actual sport? Not so much — requires too much coordination. Yet the films dedicated to it are pure magic.

There’s a visceral tranquility to surfing, and its best cinematic representations — “Endless Summer” 1 and 2, “Riding Giants” and “Step Into Liquid” — capture that quality with a poet’s eye.

On Saturday, the good folks at the Saltwater Film Society will be paying homage to the spirits of the waves at the Strand Theater in Rockland. They’re hosting Surf Film Fest 2010, a daylong, five-film celebration of surfing.

The festival promises to be as multifaceted an exploration of the sport as can be — it’s not all Oahu and tropical climes. Each film covers a different perspective.

Check it out:

“Dear and Yonder” focuses exclusively on the history of women surfers, and how the confluences of nature, spirituality and their own femininity draw them to the sea.

“Ishmael,” fittingly named, checks the protagonist of the great New England novel. This documentary honors the toughest breed of surfers; in many respects, those men and women who live to surf New England.

“Little Black Wheels” is far more personal, documenting one family’s surfing road trip along the coasts of Australia.

“Powers of Three” takes viewers to the big-wave surfing community along the Irish coastline.

“180 South,” the big Maine premiere of the festival, documents the 1968 journey of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins as they surfed their way to Chilean Patagonia.

Taken together, the films of Surf Film Fest 2010 should make for a very memorable long and strange trip. Plus, you get five movies (and prizes and snacks) for only $14. Try scoring that deal at any chain theater.

Final note: This will be my last column for GO. Beginning next week, the column will be in the able hands of Dennis Perkins, so make sure to tune back in for his take on Portland’s indie scene.

On a personal note, I hope you enjoyed reading my articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

If you didn’t, please address all hate mail to “Rusty Shackleford.” 

Josh Katz is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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