Patrick Trefz is a talented surfer/filmmaker/photographer who’s latest film “Idiosyncrasies” features an intimate look at such surfing luminaries as Richard Kenvin, Andrew Kidman, and Pat Curren. Trefz is a former Surfer photographer whose talents also include still photography for such clients as Nixon to commercials and music videos. We spoke with Patrick to find out more.
What was it like growing up?
My earliest memories date back to our pad. My large ‘bedroom’ functioned as my dad’s photo studio in the daytime and my sleeping quarters at night. My mom would hide the bed in the mornings and grab me to change my diapers whilst my dad was meeting up with the art director, client, stylists, etc., nonchalantly kicking toys out of the way.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I got my first board when I was 12 years old. It was a Spyder twinny with a giant Instinct logo. I guess it was a Shaun Tomson model .
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
Riding the soup in utter frustration, wishing I was in the face of the wave.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young man?
Gramps—he’d take me to the high dive and, after proudly announcing to some younger ladies that he was my grandpa and not my dad like they assumed, did a swan dive from the highest platform… Speedo and all.
Where were you educated in filmmaking?
At the public TV station I was working at in Santa Cruz.
Explain how the idea for Thread came about?
The intertwined connection of creative beings that do inspiring shit.
Who is your favorite person you’ve gotten to work with over the years?
Jim Denevan. Nobody can do a freehand drawing of a perfectly flawless circle, especially not three miles in circumference. Words don’t do him justice: http://www.jimdenevan.com/ and http://vimeo.com/11910937
Who or what inspires you?
A lot of different things. Right now, as I am typing this, I am listening to Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain.
I just returned from spending the 4th of July weekend in the eastern Sierras, camping at 9000 feet, going on long hikes with my dog and reading. I love to read—just finished a novella by John Updike entitled Of the Farm. Also recently read The Accordionist’s Son by Atxaga, which was a great travel companion during my Basque Country stay for the world première of my latest film.
Right now, I am diving into a collection of stories by Wallace Stegner… Steinbeck, Hesse, Jim Harrison, Duerrenmatt, Kafka. All those guys provide me thought-provoking insight into our world With the visual arts, I’m really inspired by an outdoor museum that I just checked called the Museo Chillida-Leku that’s just outside of San Sebastian. It is a place that the artist Eduardo Chillida created which includes a huge park and a beautifully restored Basque barn from the 15th century, all surrounded by his enormous sculptures.
Filmmakers like Michel Gondry, Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog seem to be close to this earth, but highly inventive and out of it at the same time. Living legend, street photographer and avant-garde filmmaker Robert Frank. Nature. Cities. Haydn. 50 Cent. I love to cook and I love to eat good meals. I am considering to start a cooking show that includes dining at some awesome eateries around the globe. But that’s only half of the story—can’t give my secrets away! (Laughs) Coffee! Sorry.
That’s it for now. There is more, but don’t wanna bore the readership anymore.
What is the greatest thing you have learned so far in your life?
Don’t believe the hype!
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
What are you most proud of?
Always following my creative instincts.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
There has been a lot of stuff written about this subject and, at the end of the day, it all sounds cheesy. My two cents are that water is healing and it is fun to be acrobatically active. How can you beat that?!?
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Being able to live a good life!
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
The kid next door that is shaping his own board… past, present and future.
What is your favorite board?
My three favs are at all times in the back of my truck: a 6’0” EPS Stretch thruster, 6’0” Stretch single fin and a fat 6’1” six channel bottom single fin that I bought for $20 bucks from a bum at the GrogShop.
Your favorite surf spot?
Long, fast right points.
What’s your favorite meal?
For breakfast, thickly cut bacon from an old school butcher, avocado, poached eggs with fig bread and strong coffee. For lunch, Salad Nicoise—all the greens and power you need for the rest of the day. It’s beyond a salad: anchovies, tuna, green beans, tomatoes, onions, black olives, lettuce and potatoes. For dinner, jalapeño pasta. It is an old dish from the south of Italy, basically a mix of a standard marinara sauce, cooked with whole fresh green Chile peppers, and puttanesca.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
I have an iPhone and mostly listen to some old messages that I am forced to delete cos the thing tells me it is full.
What project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on organizing a tour for my recently completed feature surf film entitled IDIOSYNCRASIES. It is pretty hard cos I am a one-man team, and being creative and being an organized PR machine at the same time ain’t easy! If there’s anybody out there who wants to help out, please let me know. I just want people to see this film after I have been working on it for three years. It’s an underdog film that potentially could appeal to a broad audience.
What’s next for Patrick Trefz?
I am finishing the IDIOSYNCRASIES photo book that I am doing with Alix Books from Spain. It is a similar process to the making of the THREAD book—still photos that I took during the production of the movie. But some photos go back to the early 90’s, the true beginning of the some of the chapters of the film.
To learn more about Patrick Trefz and his new film Idiosyncrasies, click here.