Synopsis by Mark Deming
Marshall K. Hatori is a filmmaker and surfing enthusiast who is a big fan of the work of pioneering surfing documentarians Greg MacGillivray and Bruce Brown. Hatori is also a man who is studying a number of spiritual disciplines, and in his documentary Imagine: Surfing As Sadhana, he examines wave riding as a sport, as a leisure activity that has (unwittingly) spawned a multi-million dollar industry, and as a means of following one's own path to inner peace ("Sadhana" is a Hindi word that refers to a state of enlightenment). However, while Hatori sees surfing -- and the making of this film -- as a means of reaching a higher plane, his crew and the surfers he's brought along for a trip to some of the world's most spectacular surf spots (including Christian Enns, Stephen Slater, and Veronica Kay) seem to have a narrower view of the sport, which leads to some conflicts between Hatori and his collaborators. Along the way, Hatori also visits spiritual leaders in India, a vegetarian farmer in Australia, and explores the beauty and the poverty of Sri Lanka. Imagine: Surfing As Sadhana was shown in competition at the 2001 Dances With Films Festival.