Film Salutes Surfing Firefighters
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Now that summer's red flag fire warning season is here and people across the nation are watching out for fires it's important to give thanks to the firefighters who put their lives in danger to keep us safe.
In addition to being firefighters, they are members of our local communities, our friends and neighbors...and, as it turns out, many of them are surfers.
The multi-award-winning documentary film Fire and Water by writer-director Thomas Brookins, which won the Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking - Action Sports award at this year's Newport Beach Film Festival, shows how the brotherhood of firefighters is also a surfing brotherhood.
Featuring rare footage from over 50-years-ago, the film tells the story of New York firefighter and surfing pioneer Don Eichen, who followed his dream to surf the big waves of Oahu's North Shore then brought the sport of surfing back to New York in the 1960s where he became a firefighter.
Eichen surfed at Pipeline and Waimea alongside many of the surfing legends who built the sport. And, when he wasn't surfing, Eichen was capturing the surfing action on his Bolex camera.
In addition to showing New York's surfing culture and some of its top surf spots from Rockaway Beach to Montauk, the film includes footage of surfing legends Eddie Aikau, Greg Noll, Rob Machado, and more.
In making this critically-acclaimed film, Eichen and Brookins were able to save a piece of surfing history.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel think Fire and Water is as much a testament to Thomas Brookins' strong desire to get it made as to the lure and power of surfing. During production Brookins not only had to struggle to find funding and support to make his film, but waged a personal battle against stage-4 cancer.
To see this piece of history that pays homage to surfing and firefighting, check for screenings in your area. It will fire up your love of surfing!
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