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Monday, December 26, 2011

Movie Review: "Of Wind And Waves" The Life of Woody Brown

Woody Brown's story on DVD

It has been awhile since I reviewed a movie.  Back in the spring I saw Tom Shadyac's documentary, "I AM" and posted about it. It's not that I haven't seen a bundle of movies since then but none that made me feel compelled to tell the world about them. Ironically, both of these films are documentaries so perhaps purely entertaining films are not grabbing me quite like true life stories. I also found a few similarities in Woody Brown's spirt and Tom Shadyac's message of everything in the universe being related.

Woody Brown was born into a wealthy New York family in 1912 but rejected both the city life and high society to chase his passion of flying and surfing. He lived in airport hangars just to be around the likes of Charles Lindberg and learn how to fly. Gliding was actually his biggest thrill and in those days the gliders were towed by cars to the edge of cliffs for launching. He moved to San Deigo and set a world record for altitude, distance and time in the air by flying his glider, Thunderbird, from Texas to Kansas a total of 263 miles.

Surfing was another passion which attracted Woody because of the thrill, danger and freedom. He moved to Hawaii and was a standout among the few original big wave riders. Today's generation of big wave riders like Laird Hamilton and David Kalama talk with Woody in the film and are in awe of him for pioneering this sport without spotters, jet ski towing and the advantages of modern equipment.

Once he mastered surfing Woody chased another passion of sailing and invented the catamaran. In 1947 he built the Manu Kai (Sea Bird) out of plywood and it became the fastest sailboat in the world. It was copied by Hobie Alter who made a fortune bringing the catamaran design to the mainstream. In the film they are both interviewed. Hobie credits Woody with his design. Woody had absolutely no problem with Hobie making a fortune on the sport of sailing instead of him.

If you are scratching your head at this point it is because you have yet to know the real Woody Brown. Woody is the quintessential dreamer who not only talks the talk, walks the walk but also lives the life. Every decision he made was based upon feeling. He simply could not be motivated by money or any other external factors in which he did not believe.

This story is sheer inspiration. The footage of Woody still surfing at 90 years old is amazing. His spirit and optimism are contagious. Do any of your complaints really amount to anything once you've gone for a ride on a Woody Brown wave? About my only complaint with this movie is its underexposure. I want everyone to see this flim. It is jam packed with many great life lessons.

My good friend since junior high school days, Peter Chacona, turned me onto the Woody Brown story. Like many documentaries it ran on PBS but now is much harder to find. It is available for purchase by Woody's son, David Brown or on Amazon. For more information visit David's website at: www.ofwindandwaves.com.

So in the meantime my plan will be to just continue inviting friends over for dinner but then insist they watch my DVD. So far this sneaky little scheme has been wildly successful as everybody LOVES this story. It is only 63 minutes in length but one of the best hours you can invest for inspiration and a real life feel good story. And yes, this is an invitation for anyone who wants to come over to my house to see it.

1 comment:

  1. And soon I AM will be available on DVD. They you can show a double feature! The description of how Woody is an inventor not money motivated reminds me so much of The Woz. He just wanted a computer for himself. Becoming famous and wealthy wasn't what motivated him either.