“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.