“The Life Story of Doc Ball” is a 54 minute

documentary based on the life of the first dedicated

surf photographer. Doc Ball had a huge influence on

promoting surfing  world-wide during the 1930’s and

1940’s because of his over 900 photographs and

thousands of feet of 16mm film that he shot in and

out of the water. Doc retells the history of surfing in

California as captured through his lens including

personal remembrances of Tom Blake, Duke

Kahanamoku, Pete Peterson, Whitey Harrison,

The Palos Verdes Surfing Club and other top surfers

and innovators of that pioneering time.

Legendary surfer, shaper and filmmaker Greg Noll

explains Doc’s influence on surfing and his friendship

with Doc Ball.   Jack "Woody" Ekstrom describes

Doc’s skills as a photographer and the process of

shooting  from the water using Doc's water box.

The Life Story of Doc Ball is produced and directed by

Carl Ackerman who worked with Doc for many years

to make the only film about Doc’s adventurous life.

The film is written and co-produced by Malcolm

Gault - Williams who has been writing books and

articles independently and for surf magazines for

over 25 years.

Doc’s personal photo collection -- including 16mm

moving film – is showcased throughout, with music

by Daniel Ho, Herb Ohta Jr. and Taimane.


It is our hope that through our efforts, Doc's story

will be viewed, appreciated and enjoyed by viewers

interested in how surfing began in the United States;

what surfing was like before and after World War II;

and the story of a man who played such a large role

in popularizing the sport worldwide.