Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fishpeople | Lives Transformed by the Sea

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Its our own private church, our own private temple.

It just feels like you're being pulled home.

Its forces are so much bigger than us.

At some point you feel like you become part of it, not apart from it.

( water lapping gently )

Man: I was a good swimmer.

I was swimming in the ocean before I was five.

We just took a breath and looked down.

The water was glass clear.

The spires of light came down like a cathedral.

It was like in another world, and I never forgot it.

So I was hooked. I tell you, I was hooked.

Man: That was such a magic time for me as a kid.

I mean, I cant even really describe it.

Woman: I just remember thinking it was so cool how weightless I was.

Man: Its forces are so much bigger than us.

Woman: At some point, you feel like you become

part of it, not apart from it.

Man: Its like therapy for me when I have problems.

Man: For each of us, its our own private church,

our own private temple.

If I didnt go diving, we didnt have food.

I mean, really, thats the truth.

So it was like pay a babysitter or take her with me.

Fishing and diving have been like the main activities

that my dad and I would do together since I was little,

and even when it became something where, like,

our family didnt depend on it to put food on the table,

it was just always our favorite way of spending time together.

Yeah, hard to argue when youre underwater, huh?

( both laugh )

Well, when she was little, you know,

she could only go down maybe six or seven feet, you know,

and I could dive, like, 50 feet.

And so she wanted to do everything I could do, you know,

as I think most kids do, and I just kept pressing

until its just about relaxing.

It always mesmerized me how my dad could dive deep

and just go-- go get these fish and hold his breath for so long.

And so I would just practice holding my breath.

Id watch him go down,

and I would see if I could hold my breath on the surface.

There were definitely times where I would feel scared,

where I would realize how deep I was

and realize how small I felt,

and I would get freaked out, but the minute I saw my dad,

like, just the minute I just saw his silhouette in the distance,

I just knew I was safe.

I used to dive down and be at the bottom

and wave at her, and when she got in her 20s,

we went diving together and she--

we both swan down about 20 feet, and then she waved goodbye

and swam down another 50 or 60.

( laughs ) I couldnt do it anymore.

Kimi: It was just an incredible world

to be introduced to.

It was a world where I could fly.

Just being able to watch all the fish down below me

and for once, I was the bird in this world.

Man: Kimi is best known for her spearfishing,

and what a lot of people dont realize

is it takes an actual incredible amount of knowledge,

and theres a lot of different variables.

Theres that physiological side, just trying to get your body

under control and actually almost rewire your body

in a lot of ways and take things

that are supposed to be involuntary reflexes

and being able to control them,

like getting your heart rate low

and actually changing the way that your body

distributes oxygen and blood.

Then you have to have the CO2 tolerance.

Kimi: As I take a drop,

I have to kind of break through

this first barrier of atmosphere,

but I get to this point where that buoyancy changes

and it becomes negatively buoyant,

and once that happens, I just start to sink,

and that was a feeling that, you know,

when I first started doing these deeper drops,

it kind of scared me because you feel like

youre getting pulled, pulled somewhere

that you might not be ready to go yet.

But the more that I would surrender to it,

it just feels like--

it just feels like youre being pulled home.

Mark: And then when you hit the bottom,

thats when you start, you know,

looking at the chessboard.

Youre looking for, you know, cover.

Youre seeing what other small fish

that usually hang around something that you like,

or you see something-- a fish off in the distance

you want to target.

She has a way of acting like...

"Im just another fish down here.

Dont worry about me,"

until she brings her spear gun up and nails it.

Most of us are obvious humans down there.

Kimis not.

Kimi: There is always mixed emotions that come with it.

Theres part of me that feels the victory of the catch,

the victory of securing this food,

and theres another part of me that will always feel

compassion and a bit of sorrow for my prey.

I think that when she figured out

she could go out and feed herself,

that was a life-changing moment for her.

She was always a cook.

From like six years old, she wanted to cook,

and to go out and get the fish she wants to get

and then cook them, it just opened up

a whole new world for her.

Kimi: To me, theres no better way to honor my catch

than to share it with others.

I mean, I can see it with in people.

It makes every single bite mean that much more to them

when I tell them how deep I had to dive

or what the ocean looked like or how many fish there were,

swimming through a cave

or the shark that almost took it,

whatever the case is, I know that

when I share that story, it becomes an experience.

It becomes something worth honoring.

I mean, I-- Id never been really been,

like, afraid of sharks.

But I wouldnt-- when I would see one,

I would just act like, you know, youre over there.

Im over here, Im doing my on thing.

But Id pull my fish in so they couldnt get them.

And then if theyd come at me, I would push them away.

Well, Kimi, as soon as she sees one,

shell swim right towards it.

Thats-- I never got to that point, you know?

Kimi: When I first started spearfishing

on my own as an adult,

I would get pretty terrified if I saw shark.

I think slowly, I just started to get

more comfortable with them.

And then one day, I just remember

something changed in me where I was pulling in

a nice fish that I was gonna bring home for dinner,

and this big shark came up to take it,

and I just swam faster towards my catch,

pulled it in faster, closer to me,

everything that was bringing this shark much closer to me,

but I got my hands on it and just pulled in towards me

and swam at that shark just to tell it like,

"Not today, buddy, like, like go get your own dinner.

This ones mine."

And the minute I did that, that shark took off.

And that just taught me a lot.

It taught me the energy I put out there,

the confidence and the courage that I show

in holding my ground, its gonna communicate

to the sharks what kind of animal I am.

Shes miles ahead of where I ever dreamed of being.

I mean, you hear people say,

"Oh, you taught her how to dive."

I couldnt teach her how to do what she does.

Thats just nuts.

All I take credit for

is I got her comfortable in the water,

and thats really it.

Kimi: When youre underwater, theres no street signs.

Theres no way telling you which way to turn

or which way to go, but in the same respect,

the signs are everywhere.

Everything all of a sudden just goes quiet,

and now that its quiet, I open my eyes,

and all I hear is my dads voice saying,

"Just relax and remember how to swim."

Man: I love it.

I dont know how to describe it.

Its really scary but so good at the same time.

And thats why I do it.

( speaking native language )

Man: You have to be in the ocean.

Whatever you do, it has to be ocean-related.

So, uh...

sooner or later, its surfing.

( man speaking native language )

Matahi: Waves from underwater, its totally different.

It looks really nice, like friendly.

You think its not really power,

but once you get in it,

it just bring you straight on the reef.

Man: Coming from Hawaii, Ive surfed some pipeline,

Ive surfed some heavy waves here,

but the difference in Tahiti and the wave

is how much more perfect it is

than any other wave Ive ever seen.

The thing was just surreal looking,

and it looked like it would kill you if you fell.

Matahi: My grandfather, my dad always told me

to be humble in the water.

First you have to show respect to nature and the ocean.

When I go surf, I always make sure

Im 100% with good health,

and especially when theres big waves.

I mean, its razor-sharp reef.

If you fall, youre gonna get cut to shit.

Bjorn: I like surfing,

Mostly the fun part, like six feet,

you know, like, its fun.

Theres some danger but minimal.

Its a different thing.

And you see your kids on much bigger waves.

Uh, I feel like sometime

like Im not doing my job as a parent.

Surfing big waves,

its more like waiting the big swell,

sometime they come, sometime they dont,

and the stress is always there.

You go check the waves, and you know

its gonna get bigger, and theres always that thing

in your mind telling you, oh,

youre gonna have to go for the big one.

I dont know, thats how I think every time,

every time right before I sleep.

Kohl: If you know its gonna big the night before,

youre not sleeping much unless youre good at sleeping.

It feels like the whole ocean is sucking up

and the sea levels changing.

When its on...

theres nothing like it.

And heres this local kid, Matahi, surfing this wave

better or as good as anybody else in the world.

Two years ago when I was 16, tried to tell us to not surf.

We didnt listen, and we went surfing,

and that was the best day of my life.

( crowd cheering )

So big and so massive and so effed up...

just kind of blew everyones minds.

To this date, thats, in my mind,

gotta be the biggest wave anyones ever ridden out there.

I didnt realize how big it was, like, at the moment.

I made the drop.

Uh, for a moment, I thought I was gonna die,

but thats when you feel so alive.

Bjorn: Didnt really feel uncomfortable.

Sometimes you feel like youre just melting

in your boat watching them. ( laughs )

I really think, like, if you tried to go

at least one time of day to the ocean,

it makes you-- your life better.

Every time I come back and after good session,

even a bad session, I am always feel better.

Woman: I played piano for a while

and its like you learn chord structure

and you learn moving your fingers up and down,

and you learn all that stuff,

and then theres a moment where you actually get to play.

And swimming is like playing.

And you dont know what the musics gonna be

until youre out there.

She-- she represents doing things at the limit

of human achievement, like what--

people say, "Why would you swim in Antarctica?"

Shes been studied in the past and has been shown

to have a remarkable adaptation.

Lynn: The scientists figured out that Im able to close

the blood flow to the peripheral area of my body

really quickly and take that blood and put it into my core.

We were able to confirm that she can maintain

stable body temperature with her head out of the water

and in water temperatures as low as 44 Fahrenheit.

Weve got one other person that we know can do that.

Lynn: I swam the English Channel when I was 15

and 16 years old from England to France,

and I broke the mens and womens world record each time.

I was the first person to swim across the Straits of Magellan

at the tip of South America, Chile.

I was the first person to swim around

the Cape of Good Hope from the Atlantic

around to the Indian Ocean.

Lets see.

First woman to swim from the North Island

to the South Island across Cook Straits, New Zealand.

My folks started us swimming when we were so young,

and it was something we did before we could even walk.

Coach Garbrill noticed right away

that at the end of the workout when everyone else was tired,

I was just picking up my pace.

I heard about a group of kids that were gonna swim

across the Catalina channel,

so I thought maybe if I can swim Catalina

with them that I can maybe do the English Channel.

There were times throughout the swim

where it hurt so much and I wondered if Id make it,

but after I succeeded on that swim

I just knew that I wanted to do it more.

It was where everything began.

In open-water swimming, because you dont have a wall

that you have to push off of, you dont have to worry.

Youre even more disconnected from the world

and even more internal.

Ive always loved just to go in the ocean

because I think that the quiet of being in the water,

just you are suddenly in your own think tank,

and you can let in whatever noise you want or not.

I think that one of the coolest parts of being in the ocean

is being able to swim through a changing sea,

a place where you can feel all the energy surrounding you.

Its a place where there are no limits

so it makes you think big.

A California woman has managed

to cross the gap between the United States

and the Soviet Union quite literally.

Lynne Cox, an endurance swimmer from California,

today became the first person ever to swim

across the Bering Strait from Alaska to the Soviet Union.

The water temperature was 39 degrees.

( speaking Russian )

( applause )

You know, and its beautiful and its hard,

and you want to stop,

and you have people on board the boat

that urge you on and keep you going

because it may change the way the United States

and Soviet Union deal with each other,

and maybe well be able to see each other as neighbors

and not as enemies.

No matter where I go in the world,

going into the water I feel like Im at home.

I could be anywhere anytime the day or night,

its like Im home.

Man: Im imagining Im bringing someone, like,

almost whos blind to the ocean.

Its so powerful when Im in the water

You just go where it kind of-- it pushes you to go.

It enhances all the power of ocean and--

from the deep water to almost bone dry in a second.

So its like an underwater mountain.

Its so heavy. Its so heavy, yeah.

Id say its, like, eight feet.

That one looks really big.

Yeah, so, its gonna be on. And its a rising swell

So its gonna be certainly interesting, to say the least.

Photography kind of fell in my lap.

And that was through a workplace incident.

Employment options are pretty limited in this area.

Mining is a huge employer of everyone, really.

Its not like youre trapped,

but its just the well-worn path.

So you-- people follow it. Youre a miner for life.

Youre having rock falls.

Youre having gas-outs, explosions, crush injuries.

I just heard this sickening crunch.

And it was my knee. And I couldnt walk.

I couldnt drive, and then I realized

that Im gonna get into a hole here.

So I bought a camera, you know, kind of started working out

the way that you can manipulate the image

to how you want it to be.

It felt so natural, and by the time

Id been doing that for, say, eight weeks,

my physio recommended that I start swimming.

So I had a camera.

I was allowed to go in the ocean,

and I bought a water housing.

It was kind of a crazy purchase because, you know,

its like several thousand dollars and, you know,

youre kind of trying to make ends meet

cause youre injured and you cant really do much,

and uh,

and it was single-handedly

the best decision Ive made in my life.

The journey of photography for me

started as a surf photographer.

Phil: What really sets him apart for me

is that he went and shot the same places

at the same time as loads of different

other photographers, even myself included,

and wed come away with something different.

As a photographer you notice that,

when someones got that eye

and they something that you didnt see.

Whenever you put a surfer in frame in a surfing picture,

you have a literal portrayal of whats happening there.

Take the surfer out,

and youre gonna lose the reference point.

Rather than having a factual representation,

you kind of have a fictional one.

You dont-- you come to it.

You bring things to it, and thats where--

thats what I find in Rays work.

He leaves a lot of space there

for people to bring things to his work.

Ray: The shot is the last thing in a chain of events.

It comes from looking at weather maps, wind,

tide, where the sun is gonna line up.

Sometimes Ill plan a single shot for...

six weeks.

I quit coal mining, um...

nine months ago.

The reason I kind of held onto it for so long

because it offered like a financial safety net,

and it was a big scary thing to--

to turn my back on a weekly paycheck.

I rang my boss,

and I thanked him for having me,

and I told him that Im not gonna go back to the mine.

Im not gonna get my tools. Im not gonna get my helmet.

Im not gonna get...

Im not gonna get anything.

Im gonna leave that whole life there,

and Im never going back.

And Im gonna--

Im gonna shoot photos of the ocean. ( chuckles )

Eddie: You know, I needed an escape when I was a kid.

It gave me this, like, amazing...

place to experience life.

I was raised by my mom,

and my mom always taught me to...

really, really share any joy that you have in your life.

I make it a point.

Its kind of like my duty to do what Im doing now.

He is exceptionally smart.

Over and beyond.

But hes still 11 years old.

You see a woman like Grandma Shirley.

You know, she took in Anthony when he was six months old,

and you think about what the reasons were

for her to do that,

that hits me like an arrow in the heart.

I really dont know what happened,

but I think my grandma knows.

Do you know?

Him and the mother got into it.

And what they-- they were separated,

and she was trying to get him and he wasnt letting him go,

and she approached him in--

in an altercation.

And then after it was over with,

she called the police on him, and they took him.

And while he was there, he had an asthma attack,

and they didnt go see about him.

And thats where he passed.

In a cell on the floor by himself.

And thats what happened to big Anthony.

Eddie: And if I can do anything, one thing to help that family,

you know, thats why I do what I do.

She works really hard, huh?

Anthony: Works real hard to take care of me and grandpa Ray.

He cant take get out of bed anymore.

I help him get his water, his pills,

- his drink, his food. - Yeah.

And I do all of that and my homework.

Hows your grades?

- My grades are great. - Thats what grandma said.

One A+, A-,

- and a regular A. - Wow.

A lot of our kids dont have male figures in their lives

or certainly dont have consistent male figures.

They dont have a lot of people in their life who really,

you know, will say something and then will deliver.

You know, if Eddie promised to take you surfing,

hes gonna take you surfing,

and hell do anything he can to make it happen.

- Anthony: Mr. Eddie. - Yeah.

So when youre trying to turn the board,

- and they say to use the tail-- - Yeah, use the tail.

So you use the tail to steer it, too?

Yeah, you put your-- so you put...

You know, these kids, more so than most,

need that extra love, right?

Care. Support.

Man: Hes really made a difference

in a lot of kidslives.

I got to Edgewood 17 years ago

When I got here, Eddie was already here.

I mean, Ive seen kids sort of before and after

and that sense of connection to the ocean,

that sense of belonging

and that sense of sort of calm that comes over them

after theyve been able to sort of master

or at least begin to master surfing is really incredible.

Eddie really knows how to connect with the kids

in ways that, say, their formal therapist

might not be able to

or their psychiatrist might not be able to.

I mean, we dont turn down kids.

I really try not to turn down kids,

and its almost like my dream would be

to drive through the neighborhood with this van

just like, "Come on, lets go," get the kids to go surfing.

These are kids who have had disruptive upbringings.

They live in really poor neighborhoods.

They are exposed to a lot of trauma,

trauma that comes from parents being incarcerated, drug use,

a lot of community violence.

So, you know, that really impacts

a lot of the kidsbehaviors and moods,

which is what were treatingcause a lot of social skills

are worked on when youre outside.

Most of the kids have never been to the beach,

not even seen the ocean.

I will often show up like, "All right, you guys.

Lets do this. I know a lot of you cant swim.

But were gonna be there with you.

Youre gonna put on a wetsuit.

If you want to play in the sand

and roll around and be comfortable

in the wetsuit for the first time, you can do that.

If you want to build sand castles, great.

If you want to boogie, right on.

Hand planes, body surf, if you want to go out the back,

and get some bombs, thats you."

They can do whatever you want at the beach with us.

The suns on your face. The winds in your hair.

The ocean is at your feet, its incredible.

And it is very therapeutic.

Got a couple girls who have never surfed before,

never been in a wetsuit.

Theyre having the time of their lives.

Girl: Its nice when you get into the water.

You feel free.

Boy: I like surfing because its another thing I can do

in the day instead of sitting home or watching TV.

Its fun, but it kind of hurts

when you get wiped out by the waves.

I feel like all of them are my best friend.

I cant pick one.

Shana: Were going from concrete jungle...

to nature.

Here, the skys big.

Theres nothing really impeding your view.

No big ships, no bridges, no buildings, just gorgeous.

Brandon: Its exhilarating. Its a sense of freedom.

You know, its kind of a no-boundaries kind of area.

You can go as far as your mind will allow you to go.

You can kind of let go of all the stress,

things that you may experience

out of this type of environment.

Its the same opportunity that I was given as a kid

that I want, and I hope

that when I share it with these kids

that its that escape.

Its an escape from where your life is

and to be able to get away for whatever reason.

Allow these kids to get outside of their world

and experience something new, and surfing is the vehicle.

Dave: I dont-- I dont like to get too esoteric

when Im talking about the surfing experience.

The idea that wavelengths stop

and the energy of a wave thats traveled--

you know, started perhaps in solar winds

between the sun and Earth and then created pressure

above our atmosphere and then moved through--

the upper atmosphere down to create

downward pressure which makes the wind,

which the wind then makes enough pressure

to create waves and then we ride these waves

and that all stops there, um, is not something

that everyone thinks happens, that the wave

and the energy of the wave a stops at the shoreline.

Joel: Its-- I mean, its his path.

You know, hes taken his own way.

And it didnt matter with him.

He was probably-- he was too talented.

I didnt think it mattered which direction he was gonna go.

Even from a young age, I could see that surfing

is something that is intrinsic in living

an amazing and blessed and healthy, stoked life.

And thats come from literally sitting with people

in their 60s and 70s who are still surfing

and have that crazy sparkle in their eye

and just saying "What up," and going,

"Hey, howd you do that?"

Dick: Me and my wife walking on the beach one day,

and I said, "Thats Dave Rastovich surfing there."

So we stood there and watched him,

and he come out of the water and he was riding an EPS board

and he didnt have a clue who I was, right?

So I said, "Nice board," and he was looking at us going,

"Who are these fucking idiots," you know? ( laughs )

And I said-- you know, talked to him, and he was--

you could see he was uncomfortable, right?

And he wanted to go home on his push bike,

And I said-- I said, "My names Dick van Straalen."

And he went, "What?" I said, "Yeah."

And I said, "Oh, hey, you want some boards?"

And he said, "Yes."

I said, "Well, just come round the factory tomorrow."

Next day, he come round to the factory

with his father, and that was the start of it.

He was 15. Now hes 35, nearly 20 years.

I make surfboards that challenge people

so they think about themselves and think about

where theyre going in surfing, and Dave really liked that.

Every board Ive ever made, I just challenge him.

Dave: One-fin, two-fin, three-thin, no-fin,

short, long, fat, flat, wide, skinny, you name it.

Just learning from elders

and those who have come before us

and you see that most stoked surfers

have diversity in their life.

and specifically diversity in the way they ride waves.

He took me under his wing when I was a 14-year-old

sort of wondering what I wanted to be doing

with surfing in life and, you know,

just forming my ideas around that.

Joel: Dave and I got picked up at the same time

and next thing you know,

we were kind of thick as thieves together,

and he was such a talented surfer

that wed all kind of heard this kid from Bulli

who was an amazing tube rider.

People ask me whos the best surfer youve ever surfed with,

and whos the best youve ever seen surf?

And I think its him.

Dick: Everyones unique,

but its all got to do with your build.

Like, hes got a very low center of gravity.

You look at his body. His legs are short.

Hes got a long upper thing. Hes got a concave chest.

Thats why he body surfs so well.

Joel: I remember when he said he was never gonna compete again

and then he was like, "This is it. Im done.

Im finished." And he was probably--

I guess he wasnt one for competing.

I saw him having trouble way back in the early days with professional surfing.

I said, "You dont really like doing this, do you?" He said, "No."

In surfing, its just a matter of opinion.

And I remember just as a little tacker

even going into surfing contests

and going out and having a blast

and feeling like, man, that was a really good time.

I really enjoyed that, coming in,

and then having someone say

"No, youre a loser. You just lost,"

and then coming home and being bummed.

I remember feeling like whats going on with this?

Like, I just spent a day at the beach.

And then, you know, when someones like,

"Man, you should be riding 3-fins and 6 feet of foam,"

and its like fuck you, theres no way.

You got no right how to tell me how to surf

or how to experience the ocean.

My partner Lauren just has such a way with words

where she talks about meaningful play.

I really feel like thats what surfing is.

Its just this feeling of it being kind of pointless

in the same way art on the wall of your house

is not really serving any purpose, but, hey,

for some reason, it feels good to have art on the wall.

And surfings kind of the same, you know,

like, were not getting a meal or anything to show

at the end of writing a wave.

Any time in my life

where something challenging has happened,

its changed everything.

Its soothed pains that are really real.

When my dad died, I just kept going to the ocean,

and it made a huge difference.

You know, so thats why its not just play.

Its not just this silly thing we go do.

Its more meaningful than that.

Man: When you see the beauty of nature like that

like I did it, it was like out of a clear sky,

it just sticks with you for the rest of your life.

And I always refresh them in my mind

so I never forget them, those memories,

and I kind of relive a little bit of it.

( "Tallest Sky" Playing )

Tallest sky Ive ever felt

The tallest sky Ive ever felt

Dreamt about the place that Ive never been

Walked the line

Limb by limb

Its the reason why I am

Its the reason why I am

Tallest sky Ive ever felt

The tallest sky Ive ever felt

The Description of Fishpeople | Lives Transformed by the Sea