When David Rastovich was a grommet a few years ago he was invited along with his father to a friend’s house nearby (John and Mel Hallas). John asked if I would like to call in and say hello. I connected with Dave and pretty soon we were down at Scotts Head surfing the point. Afterwards he came over to my house and hung out for a while. From there we’ve just stayed connected – almost like a re-connection in a way. Occasionally when Dave is heading back up the coast he’ll drop by and maybe we’ll have a surf.
He’s one of the few surfers who have made the crossover from the competitive surfing circuit to free surfing. It’s almost as if he was always a free surfer but had to go through the motions on the circuit for a time. His contribution to the ocean environment, music and general good vibe of surfing is unquestionable. His genuine selfless approach to helping others is incredible. His energy, unlimited to the cause.
When he was sailing down the east coast of Australia a few years ago in an awareness campaign for the protection of whales (Transparentsea Voyage – Surfers for Cetaceans) and the beautiful pristine coastline with a group of like-minded souls, he stopped at Pt Plommer on the south side of Crescent Head for an over night re-group and rest. We caught up the next day at Queens, on the south side of Plommer. The nor’easter had kicked in – a good breeze to move the lightweight catamarans southward along the coast. Queens is really protected from the wind and a beautiful summer location to just hang out and swim or surf in the protected corner. The day was incredible and as the cats, with the red sails against a turquoise ocean, moored on the beautiful clean sand at Queens – you couldn’t ask to be in a better place to surf – a nice 3-5 ft peak was breaking just down the beach with some fun runners for all. After an enjoyable session – with the summer breeze fanning our bodies and the warm sand underneath us and a beautiful empty horizon before our eyes I was thinking about how perfect the day was and turning to Dave who was sitting nearby I said that it was a perfect day to die… he looked at me with a beautiful smile and said that he was just thinking the same thing.
The American Hopi Indians treasured those special times in nature and considered it a gift from the Gods to cross over to the land of their spirits on one of those beautiful days. I try to make every day like that – as if it’s the only day I have on this planet. Even though we don’t see each other very often I know that’s how Dave lives his life – fulfilled and rich and selfless are his ideals towards the planet and his friends who share it with him. He leaves a beautiful resonance wherever he finds himself and the planet and his friends are the better for it.
This incredible portrait of Dave by Joni Sternbach captures perfectly his spirit…
For more of her amazing images log on to:
I love this picture of Dave on the alaya board – bowing gracefully to the wave. Reminds me of the ancient Hawaiian surfers of bygone days.
Photography of Dave Rastovich by Mick Waters from his film Little Black Wheels
Dave Rastovich has a healthy section in this movie, his fish surfing is as smooth and flowing as ever, you get to see him riding quads, twins, singles and finless boards, there is also a piece in the DVD extras where he talks about each of them.
“Our collective effort to defend the whales right to live is crucial at this point in time.” Says S4C ambassador Dave Rastovich. “Whichever way you direct your compassionate activism, send it now to the whales. Be it through art, written word, direct intervention, public protest or lobbying now is the time to continue our pressure and stay on point with our efforts to stop the tragedy of whaling.”
We encourage you to visit Surfers For Cetaceans website in hopes of insuring that our next generation experiences the same joy of surfing with Dolphins and watching the great Whales migrate as we all have.
Surfers for Cetaceans
Minds in the Water is a feature-length documentary following the quest of professional surfer Dave Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Through Dave’s journey—a five-year adventure spanning the globe from Australia to the Galapagos, Tonga, California, Alaska and Japan—we see one surfer’s quest to activate his community to help protect the ocean and its inhabitants.
The message: if ocean minded people are to pass on a sustainable culture then they must become responsible stewards of their coastal environment
~ Dave Rastovich