STONE, PAPER, SAND Dir. Gabriel Garcia, 30mins, Spain (subtitled)
During the pioneering days of surfing in Europe, Praia Gros, San Sebastian was the creative and competitive hub of waveriding, not just in Euskadi but the whole of Northern Spain. The beach was home to a rebellious crew of surfers, and the quality of the waves ranked up there with best. It was famed for its hollow lefts that doubled up and peeled from the rivermouth. During a time of great political unrest in Spanish history, the beach culture here gave the youth both a focus and an escape.
Of the town’s two beaches, the more protected Concha drew the sun-worshipers and the tourists, while the wilder, neglected and more polluted Gros was left to the surfers. When a new civic project was proposed to build two huge stone jetties, the whole future of surfing at Gros was under threat. With the plans designed to block out ocean swells and retain a large sandy area for bathers, local surfers risked losing not just their waves but the very fabric of their culture.
This intriguing film shows how surfing developed in this Basque town, drawing on a great range of archival footage, as well as interviews with key local surfers. Would a small bunch of counter-culturalists be able to pull together and save their beach or would their whole way of life and their legacy be lost to an unstoppable wave of development?