Surfing documentary “Spoons” returning to Santa Barbara with Lobero Theatre screening
It screened as the closing film for this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and once more the surfing documentary “Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story” is getting a local showing for anyone who missed it. As the News-Press reported in February, the screening of “Spoons” was one of the festival’s best-attended events. Recalling the full-house reception his film received earlier this year, director Wyatt Daily said in a recent interview with the News-Press that the first screening left him and his collaborators “blown away.” He added that he’s just as excited for round two, when “Spoons” plays at the Lobero Theatre on October 24.
“It’s so exciting to bring it back to the hometown because there were a lot of people who didn’t get to see it the first time around,” he said.
An archival reportage made up of digitized 16 and 8 millimeter film, the documentary was described by its director as “a comprehensive study and celebration of surfing in Santa Barbara from the 1940s to the present.” Within that window of time, the documentary examines Santa Barbara’s influence on surfing during its “golden age” that took place between the early ‘60s and ‘70s, when many surfers innovated by creating new surfing techniques and built new types of surfboards. Golden age events covered in the film include the “shortboard revolution,” when surfers started moving from longboards of 10 plus feet to boards 8 feet or shorter.
When asked what first spurred on the making of “Spoons,” Mr. Daily told the News-Press it all came about when he acquired some VHS tapes with public access broadcasts of the Rincon Classic surf competition from 1987 to 1996. Because the Rincon Classic is a locals-only competition, what started out as a mere project to digitize videotape turned into a full-blown fascination with how many great surfers specifically came out of Santa Barbara.
As he looked further into the impact local surfers have had on the sport at large, Mr. Daily was struck by the informality of surfing innovation. During the golden age of surfing, those who found new techniques for riding a wave weren’t protective of their discoveries, in part because of the camaraderie they shared with their friends and fellow surfers.
“I was surprised to learn that so many of these fundamental things in surfing history were just kids goofing around with their friends and trying new things,” Mr. Daily said.
In addition to archival footage, the film includes interviews with surfers and surfboard designers like Marc Andreini, Al Merrick, Tom Curren, Ryan Lovelace, and Reynolds “Renny” Yater. Mr. Yater is the film’s central figure, referred to by Mr. Daily as a “direct link to surfing’s golden age.” According to the director, Mr. Yater moved to Santa Barbara in 1959 and with his arrival, introduced surfboard production to the town. During his career as a surfboard designer, Mr. Yater became one of the first to adopt the technique of making boards from foam, whereas before they were made from wood. He also designed surfboards that were specifically tailored to perform on the unique waves found at Rincon Point.
When asked if Mr. Yater imparted any valuable pieces of wisdom during his two interviews for the film, Mr. Daily said he found Mr. Yater’s character more profound than anything else. In particular, the director complimented his unceasing work ethic and dedication to board building, which he has continued into his eighties.
“He imparts how important it is to be dedicated to your work and find fulfillment in that,” Mr. Daily said. The October 24 screening of “Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story” will begin at 8:00 p.m. and will be followed by a discussion panel featuring Mr. Daily and other special guests. Tickets for the screening cost $24.50 for general admission and $34.50 for premium seating, and can be purchased online at www.lobero.org. The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E Canon Perdido St.