Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Sep 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Westsiders by Joshua Pomer

blog_action101Joshua Pomer had a dream, to one day document his best friends rise to the top as innovators of surf while placing Santa Cruz firmly on the map. What Josh didn’t realize at the time was his desire to tell the story of their tragedies and triumphs while holding on for the ride of their lives. This would become The Westsiders a story about four friends coming from very different backgrounds with one common thread of brotherhood through surfing and dark influences.

Before I can review the film (we attended the Santa Cruz Film Festival premier), one must understand the creative mind of Joshua Pomer. Shooting Super 8 movies from the age of six, skits and random objects in motion caught the eye of this young cinematographer. I sat down with Josh and we chatted about life, friends and family along with desire to create and share. These words are from that conversation.

Three guys Ratboy, Flea and Barney made life interesting, no matter what on any given day there was drama going on at the Lane and Pomer was there to capture it. Filming his friends day in and day out led to his first commercial surf movie just out of high school, Thunderballs in 1992. That movie paved the way for a dozen more surf titles and together with his friends, they travelled the world and began to firmly plant Santa Cruz on the map, from 2 ft to 40ft, airs to massive barrels there wasn’t anything stopping them. Josh put himself through film school on the back of his successful surf titles, while his friends had their own successes being in front of the lens. It was the perfect relationship, one borne off creator and subject.

When Ratboy boosted the air heard round the world against Kelly Slater, Santa Cruz claimed its place and Pomer had it on film. The next magazine cover was Rat’s backside 360 air shot in sequence as a fold out; the town of Santa Cruz was energized. Swarms of photographer’s and videographer’s descended on these innovative surfers with a vengeance, at times creating conflicts for position on the cliff. For Joshua and his friends it was about getting the opportunity to compare and contrast, while Pomer filmed allot of Santa Cruz surfers, he also had begun to make a name for himself and filmed Tom Curren, Rob Machado and Taylor Knox to name a few. Joshua’s movies were a chance to pit Ratboy against Slater just like the air had done, to show the world what was coming out of Santa Cruz.

The darkness rolled in as Vince Collier, aka the godfather of the Westside, began to shape the environment of surfing and his tight grip of who was in charge. From the first time each one of the three surfers discovered VC’s powerful hold of how things were conducted on the Westside, Ratboy, Flea and Barney fell into their respective place. As the years unfolded, the darkness intensified as the trio emerged as world class innovators in surf while dragging along the demons they would one day have to handle.

cover_WestsidersThree years ago Joshua Pomer decided it was time to tell the story; he gathered his friends and interviewed them numerous times. Each interview became more and more candid; explaining what each of them had gone through in their lives and how far one can go into the darkness. Personal losses, broken homes and rampant drug use make the story captivating as you watch the twists and turns of creative people take paths less desired stripping them of their successes. The Westsiders is about struggles, some self borne and others delivered without warning while establishing the bond between friends beyond what is considered normal. Each one goes to the dark side in their own right, Ratboy’s loss of his father, Barney’s bipolar episodes in foreign countries, Flea’s self admitted abuse of alcohol and drugs with VC’s rants about some really dark times paint the behind the scenes that most people were unaware was happening.

Santa Cruz’s Joshua Pomer debuts as a director complete with Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) music composition, Rosanna Arquette voice over and helicopter shots of the Westside (some angles which have never before been seen) all mixed with surfing and lifestyle. Allot of what these guys went through would be gnarly for most to overcome let alone feel confident enough to be put on screen with their personal stories. The moral of this story is not one of glamorization, but of reflection and hopefully some insight to how to succeed and maneuver the pitfalls discovered by the three as they climbed their ladder of life.

The Westsiders movie has been awarded:

Official selection Newport Beach Film Festival 2010
Winner 2010 Accolade Award Honolulu International Film Festival
Best Documentary 2010 Santa Cruz Film Festival

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.