Earlier this week, we ran a little music video of Jack Johnson surfing, swimming, and in general being a waterman. The film was shot by Dave Homcy, a filmmmaker based in Hawaii best known for his work on Sliding Liberia. His recent film collaboration, Come Hell or High Water with Keith Malloy, celebrates the art of bodysurfing. We spoke with Dave to learn more about his life and inspiration.
What was your life like growing up?
Growing up in Florida, I felt like I was different from the average kid. My family and I would travel for three months every summer throughout the country up and down, which I believe gave me the travel bug at an early age. Where I grew up in South Florida, it was undeveloped, so for fun we would hunt, fish, and surf in relatively uncrowded waves.
When did you get your first surfboard?
My first surfboard was given to me by Doc Paskowitz when I was ten. He happened to be in the area showing a surf film at Lake Worth High School where my father was a student activities director. After the film, Doc presented my father with a pink Morey Doyle surfboard and said “Take this board home and teach your son to surf.”
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
I remember when my father took me down to the Juno Pier with the surfboard from Doc. We went out and the surf was really small. He pushed me into a few waves, and after finally making my way to my feet, I realized that this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young man?
I looked up to my parents and grandfather. I looked up to my parents while we were on the road traveling. Showing my sister and me how to live simply out of a van and tent while adventuring to new places every year. My grandfather was an incredible musician, and I loved hearing his old time blues songs. As for surfing, I admired the time when surfing was starting to influence my life, guys like Buttons and Larry Bertlemann.
Where did your interest in photography come from? And film?
My interest in photography started with my father. He was a photographer and news reporter for the Air Force. He was stationed in Puerto Rico and I loved looking at the photos he took while he was there. On our road trips I would play around with our Canon AE1, but my real interest started when I took a photography class in eleventh grade. After I graduated high school, my interest in college was nonexistent, so my father’s best friend was in the film business and took me under his wing. My first job with him was interviewing and filming the musician B.B. King at one of his concerts for the T.V. show PM Magazine. It was a great experience for me and I was hooked.
Who inspires you?
Vic Muniz, for his passion for life and art; My wife Crystal, for inspiring me to always have fun, and Sion Milosky for living a life taking care of others and living his dreams to the fullest. I always felt I was in good hands no matter what the situation. And my mother inspires me for becoming younger as she grows older. Doc Paskowitz for his passion to bring surfing to Israel and for his persistence in creating peace through surfing.
What inspires you?
The ocean inspires me because it’s always changing. Our garden, because we are able to feed ourselves and friends from it everyday. And shooting film because it’s more than ever an art form.
Tell us what you remember about your most memorable wave.
One of my most memorable waves or surf sessions was surfing Macaroni’s in Indo, under the full moon on my birthday during the first OP Boat Challenge.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
The greatest thing I have learned in life is to be honest.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
No. Because I feel that where I’m at in my life is exactly where I want to be.
What are you most proud of?
Being able to turn my passion into a career.
In affiliation with Liquid Salt Magazine. Photos (from top): Mark Healy, Baja, and Waimea Bay by Dave Homcy; photo of Dave Homcy by Jeff Lindt.