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Surfrider Benefit Screens ‘Secrets of Desert Point’

Opper Film’s documentary Secrets of Desert Point will premiere at Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara's Paseo Nuevo at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in a benefit for the Surfrider Foundation Santa Barbara.

In the early eighties, while sailing off remote Lombok Island in Indonesia, young California surfer Bill Heick and his friends, dubbed the Golden Beards, stumbled across the perfect wave, a pristine barreling left reeling endlessly and empty over a shallow, live-coral reef.

As treacherous as it was beautiful, it was later dubbed Desert Point for its dry forbidding nature.

Secrets of Desert Point tells the story of a pioneer crew of hardcore surfers who set up a makeshift beach outpost, and kept their treasure off the surf-media map for most of a decade.

It’s also the legacy of California counterculture adventure spanning three generations of filmmakers beginning late 1940s San Francisco.   

“This project was a surf filmmaker's dream production," said Ira Opper, Secrets of Desert Point director, and seven-time Emmy Award winner.

“It is one of the last great dirt-bag adventures of the 20th Century ... with untold stories, never-seen exotic film imagery, and a perfect wave,” he said.

Opper began his directing career in 1971 when he opened Santa Barbara’s first independent video production company in the El Presidio. He has been a card-caring member of the Surfrider Foundation since 1985.

Tickets to the film are $20 and available online at or by calling the box office, 963-0408. There will be a raffle for a GoPro and Firewire Surfboard at the event.

— Dustin Hood for Opper Films.


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