Riding the wave: Surfers grow up in touching documentary

first_img FILE – In this July 31, 2005, file photo, Rob Machado competes in the men’s semifinals during U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif. Machado placed second at the competition. A new documentary, “Momentum Generation,” looks at Machado, Kelly Slater, Todd Chesser and others surfers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) The day surfing lost one of its most beloved rabble-rousers was the day it rediscovered its soul.That’s one of the many takeaways from “Momentum Generation,” a beautifully melancholy documentary that is, at its core, about surfers, but speaks every bit as fluently about friendship, loyalty and the price people are willing — or not willing — to pay to be the best at what they do.This is not simply a movie for surfing fans, the likes of which populated the fringe, action-sports landscape in the 1990s and helped make most of the real-life protagonists in this 2018 film (fairly) rich and (largely) famous.Using decades-old footage from surfing filmmaker Taylor Steele’s voluminous archives, directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist (The Two Escobars, Favela Rising) take viewers on a ride through the waves that starts on the North Shore of Oahu, where a teenage group of preternaturally talented surfers, some of them from broken homes, gather and begin bonding.They are not-so-gently schooled by the rabble-rouser, Todd Chesser. Chesser is a daredevil, an older-brother figure who throws these boys in with the sharks, while keeping a sharp pin prick at the ready to slap down anyone who shows even the faintest sign of thinking he’s bigger than the game.Chesser’s ethos helps transform the boys into men and, somehow, they manage to stay friends while also becoming fierce competitors, ganging up to knock Australia’s pro-surfing dynasty off its pedestal.All is well for the young Americans until 1995. The best in the sport is Kelly Slater. His nearest rival is also his best friend, Rob Machado, who, decades later, spent nearly six years collaborating with his manager and others to get this movie made.As their dream season pushes forward, the relati6onship between Slater and Machado grows tense. The crescendo comes during a season-ending contest at which Machado and Slater are going mano a mano in a heat that will decide who wins the season-long world championship. Toward the end of the riveting back-and-forth duel, Machado rolls out early from a wave and gives Slater, who is waiting there, a possibly ill-timed high-five that seems to indicate all is forgiven, no matter who wins.That high-five changed a lot. The movie goes into detail about the whats and whys, but suffice it to say that nearly a quarter-century after the event, the debate over what really happened lingers.“In my recollection, the heat had already been dictated, and basically, that was irrelevant,” Machado said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. “It didn’t really matter.”Maybe not that day.But Slater won. In the aftermath, he went on to become the most successful pro surfer in history, while Machado’s competitive career was never the same.Neither, however, emerged unscathed by Chesser’s death less than 15 months later; he was killed while surfing a wild wave on Oahu’s Outside Alligators.The tragedy forces everyone in this testosterone-charged world to reckon with his demons: abusive and absent parents; drug and alcohol addiction; fraying friendships; the fallout from years of hyper-competitiveness, the residue of which can’t forever be tamped down with a friendly postgame beer.“Who won?” Taylor Knox says in the movie, possibly realizing how late he was in solving the ultimate question that stares down pro surfers. “To me, it’s the one having the most fun.”That’s not an uncommon refrain in the action-sports world.Though never mentioned in the movie, the specter of the Olympics looms throughout. It’s impossible to watch without acknowledging surfing’s upcoming Olympic debut — set for next summer in Japan — along with the baggage that mainstream acceptance brings with it. Slater, still fit at age 47 and not officially retired, could very well represent America on the waves in Tokyo.Surfers’ action-sports cousins, the snowboarders, still grapple with riding for money and medals, and with being co-opted into a bloated Olympic domain that even the most mercenary in the sport will concede does not mesh with their values.As “Momentum Generation” details, surfers are a few decades ahead in the life cycle of this conundrum. They were riding for cash and prizes before the snowboard was invented. An icon’s untimely death threw a tear-stained blanket over it for many of them, and the subsequent success Machado and many others have enjoyed has come on the “lifestyle” side of the sport.Both the Olympics, to say nothing of the memories sparked from the movie, have dragged surfers back to the question of how much competition is healthy, and how mainstream they want to become.If it were up to Chesser — alive, looming and bristly as ever on the screen — this would not be up for debate.“He would definitely not be watching the Olympics. He would be laughing at it,” Machado said. “Probably just going, ‘Well, whatever. I’m gonna go surf.’” 1 of 2center_img FILE – In this May 17, 2011, file photo, Kelly Slater competes in the first round of the Billabong Rio Pro surfing competition at the Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro. A new documentary, “Momentum Generation,” looks at Slater, Rob Machado, Todd Chesser and others surfers. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)last_img read more

Liberia A ‘Center for Human Trafficking’?

first_imgThe National Secretariat of Trafficking in Person (TIP) working with the Ministry of Labor has identified the South-eastern region of the country as the area from which most children trafficked to Monrovia and other cities originate.The disclosure was made last Wednesday in Monrovia at a one-day workshop organized for journalists by World Hope International (WHI).Adolphus G. Satiah of the National Secretariat for TIP emphasized that most children his organization has identified in Monrovia as being trafficked come from Grand Gedeh, Maryland, River Gee and Sinoe counties.He said parents of some of the trafficked children give them to either relatives or friends who promise to send them to school, but on the contrary, the children end up being used as domestic servants.“Most people in those South-eastern counties are poor so they sometimes give their children to people living in urban areas, especially in Monrovia, hoping they would be sent to school, but instead, many are made to work without going to the school,” Mr. Satiah said.He said they have found out in Monrovia and Bomi County from investigations that most of the children selling in the streets and burning coal trace their backgrounds from the South-eastern region with a few from Nimba and Lofa Counties.Mr. Satiah also pointed out that Liberia is recorded in a U.S. State Department report as the center for trafficking. He said in Liberia, traffickers from other parts of the world bring trafficked persons and take them to various destinations around the world.He said human trafficking is illegal and is prohibited by law in Liberia, and urged journalists and the public to take keen note and report cases of trafficking to th relevant authorities.For his part, World Hope International Program Manager, Wellington A. Kollie, defined trafficking in persons to be “Modern day slavery,” noting that trafficking is identified by the act, means and purpose.He said the act involves the recruiting process, the means as the pretense under which recruitment is done and the purpose serving as the reasons for taking the recruits to the intended destinations.He clarified that obtaining a person through deception, force or coercion for the purpose of exploitation in all forms constitutes human trafficking.Mr. Kollie said children less than 18 years have been trafficked from one place to the other in the country to work on farms, sell in the streets, beg, burn charcoal and mine minerals in the bush.He also said young girls are also trafficked and prostituted in hotels and bars in Monrovia, and areas where diamond and gold are mined in the country.Earlier, Mr. Kollie said young people (males and females) were trafficked for war and ritual purpose.He said because of the horrific increase in human trafficking in Liberia with the propensity to undermine the economy and human capita, the media needs to be proactive to report cases through proper investigation.In consonance with presentations from the two men, U.S. State Department of 2015 about Liberia states, “Liberia is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Most trafficking victims originate from and are exploited within the country’s borders, where they are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, sex trafficking, or forced labor in street vending, alluvial diamond mines, and on rubber plantations. Traffickers typically operate independently and are commonly family members, who promise poorer relatives a better life for their children. Children sent to work as domestic servants for their wealthier relatives are vulnerable to forced labor or, to a lesser extent, sexual exploitation.Orphaned children remain susceptible to exploitation, including in street selling and prostitution.A small number of Liberian men, women, and children are subjected to human trafficking in other West African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. Victims of transnational trafficking come to Liberia from neighboring West African countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Nigeria, and are subjected to the same types of exploitation as internally trafficked victims. Women from Tunisia and Morocco have been subjected to sex trafficking in Liberia. During the reporting period, Liberian women were subjected to forced labor in Lebanon. Bribery at border stations, capacity issues, and generalized corruption within the judiciary continued to hamper trafficking investigations and prosecutions.”Mrs. Princess Taire, Deputy Program Manager of World Hope International emphasized the need for confidentiality in dealing with victims of trafficking.Mrs. Taire stressed that trafficking victims are maltreated that they become traumatized, and exposing them without their consent causes more harm to them.She said while journalists are to report facts, it is expedient for them to work with trafficking victims like trained social workers, who observe ethical guidelines of confidentiality that prevents victims from exposure.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Traffic Stop Leads to Discovery of Over Six Pounds of Heroin

first_imgThe Putnam County Sheriff’s office was requested for assistance with a canine. Upon the unit’s arrival and during the traffic stop, the canine gave an alert to the officers of an indication of an illegal substance. A subsequent search of the vehicle discovered that Gomez was transporting approximately 6.2 pounds of heroin concealed in the vehicle.The estimated street value of the heroin is $225,000 and was being transported from California to Ohio.  Joshua Gomez was transported to the Putnam County Jail. All criminal defendants are to be presumed innocent until, and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Tuesday at approximately 10:00 a.m., an Indiana State Police Trooper stopped a gold Chevrolet Equinox on Interstate 70 near the 41 mile marker for a traffic violation of following too close.  The driver was identified as Joshua Gomez, 21, San Diego, CA. During a conversation with Gomez, the trooper observed criminal indicators.He was Arrested and Charged with:Dealing Heroin Level 2 FelonyPossession of Heroin Level 3 Felonylast_img read more