White Wash: The History and Present of Segregation, Swimming, and Surfing

Winter’s slowly creeping in and it’s the last thing I look forward to.  I know it’s not humanly possible but I’m cold-blooded.  I’m not not sure why but with any slight temperature drop in weather, it seems my body temp does the same.  In simple consequence, winter makes me want nothing more than to be at the beach…tropic temps only.  Sometimes, that’s geographically impossible so I usually reminisce about past adventures I’ve had in the ocean or seaside.

This year alone I’ve joyfully had my fair share of snorkeling, bogey boarding, boating, kayaking, and swimming.  While it was nice to look back on these memories, I had to fulfill my craving for the ocean in another form.  I started watching surfing videos, movies, following surfers on Instagram etc. etc.  Though I’ve never rode a wave on a surfboard, it’s next on my adventure list.

Recently, I came across a documentary called White Wash about the history of surfing and black surfers.  In particular, the film highlights the origins of surfing in Hawaii by aboriginals, surfing’s disappearance enforced by English missionaries in Hawaii,  the sport’s reemergence in white American society, and the present blossoming community of black surfers in the U.S.

Virgil Films & Entertainment

White Wash is enlightening because it presents the full spectrum of surfing.  The fascinating sport is oftentimes associated with one group or subculture but this documentary broadens the view of surfing culture and the array of people and nations that formed, participate in, and continue to transform surfing.

Stepping into any arena of life that is dominated by a culture, race, class, or creed dissimilar or contrary to your own has its challenges and setbacks.  Yet I feel that if you have anything from a lingering curiosity to a strong desire to try something or begin an adventure, it’s yours for the taking.  I’ve had surfing on my mind and I’m looking forward to trying it soon.  White Wash provided an excellent platform for my new interest.  The film is currently available on Netflix and Hulu.  Check out the official website here.


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