By David L. Coddon
When Thomas Castets started a blog a few years ago, asking if there were other gay surfers out there like himself, the answer was a resounding yes. Within a week, Castets recalls, more than 300 people from all over the world, including in San Diego, began to share their stories on Gaysurfers.net.
Those stories led to the creation of Out In The Line-Up, a documentary produced by Castets and directed by his friend Ian Thomson. Funded in part by Kickstarter, the film has already made the rounds at festivals from the U.S. to Castets' native Australia and will be released mid-2014 on DVD and digital download.
"Surfing is very competitive out there in the line-up," says Castets. "Aggressive behavior and intimidation have often been recipes for getting the best waves. This seems to have kept women out of the water and gay people quiet about who they are.
"But surfing culture is evolving and it's embracing diversity of race, gender, et cetera... We decided to travel and interview people from all around the world to get a wide range of perspectives. We believe that we can improve the image of gay people by showing their passion for surfing and improve the future of our community by showing the diversity that exists in surfing."
Some surfers in San Diego participated in the filmmakers' interviews in the fall of 2012, and a few even joined the film crew. One local surfer, Jonathan Louie, is also the area's chapter administrator of Gaysurfers.net. "Surfing is a very expressive individualistic endeavor," Louie says. "We don't need others to tell us what feels good out on our waves or in our hearts, nor our sexual expression."
Castets stresses that the documentary "goes beyond just homosexuality in surfing. It shows that, in order to live your passion, you cannot hide your true self."