A Santa Barbara surf school owner has just been arrested in Mexico after his two children, aged 3 and 1, were found stabbed to death with a wooden stake.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the stomach-turning news yesterday evening. Matthew Taylor Coleman, who owns Santa Barbara’s Lovewater Surf School with his wife Abby took the couple’s children to Mexico, over the weekend, without telling friends or family.
Abby became worried and alerted authorities.
Video footage from Rosarito, just south of the United States/Mexico border, showed Coleman checking into a hotel with the two children and leaving very early Monday morning before returning later, alone, to check out.
A farm worker, meanwhile, discovered the bodies of the two toddlers nearby, stabbed multiple times with a wooden stake.
Coleman was arrested as he attempted to re-cross into the United States and is being held on charges of aggravated murder with the FBI saying “a joint investigation is underway.”
The Lovewater Surf School was voted Santa Barbara’s number one school by Trip Advisor. The website is full of positive testimonials and includes a lengthy biography of Coleman, who was born in Santa Barbara, traveled the world surfing before returning home to become a local high school teacher then founding the surf school which was described as, “a company committed to passing on the love of surfing to people of all ages, ethnicities and life backgrounds.”
It’s a heartbreaking and impossible to fathom what went wrong here.
Ain't it just crazy that Kelly already had two world titles before Kolohe was spat from mammy's womb. WSL/Tony Heff
Open thread: Comment live, Day Two, Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver!
World's most charming and narcissistic surfer performs decades-long social experiment on his own family with mostly bad results.
Seven years ago, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, a 93-year-old surfer who had developed the most common-sense guide to eating (“Pinch an inch of fat anywhere on your body and you’re overweight”) and living (“Don’t screw another man’s wife!”), died after surgery gone bad.
Doc, a Russian Jew, went to Stanford, became a doctor, threw it all in to chase surf, introduced surfing to Israel (and later to the Palestinians of Gaza) and surfed up and down the American coastlines with nine kids in a 24-foot van, following his philosophy that wisdom comes not from formal education but experience.
A documentary of his life was made in 2007.
It was called Surfwise and, even if he comes across as a wild tyrant, the stories of him and his wife fucking in the van while the kids blocked their ears and living on gruel and beans and surfing their lives away, is an example of life as an experiment, as a Great Dream.
BeachGrit: Ain’t it a funny world, one minute we’re talking about best interviews in the game then it turns to Dorian Paskowitz eating pussy and the best surf documentary ever made, Surfwise. Gimme a synopsis?
Warshaw: World’s most charming and narcissistic surfer performs decades-long social experiment on his own family with mixed results.
Mostly bad results.
Not much surfing in the movie.
Surfing is off to the side—as it should be, or has to be I think, for this kind of movie to work. Surfing just happens to be the thing that gets hold of Dorian and shapes all the choices he makes. But the movie is about those choices, not surfing itself.
Why do you give Surfwise so much weight, above, even, something like Sea Of Darkness?
Because I think any all-in surfer over the age of 25 starts to wonder about what it means to dedicate your life to chasing waves. We do some shit. Dorian pulled his nine kids out of school, loaded everyone in an RV, and basically headed up a small surf-based commune. That’s radical, but in some ways it’s just a scaled-up version of what we all do. So you watch the movie wondering if Doc nailed it or fucked things up completely, and the question U-turns back on your own life as a surfer. For me it does, anyway.
Doc called you once a year, that right? Jew to Jew?
He’d call and it was just an easy warm breeze. I’d just fall right into it. Doc was flattering, gossipy, foul-mouthed, great sense of humor, and a half-hour later I’d hang up smiling and feeling very special—even though I knew he’d moved on and was doing the same routine to the next person on the list. He was very political. I do think he enjoyed talking to me, but he also knew I was writing surf history, and I’m sure he was fluffing his legacy—I’ll be doing the same, soon enough.
Doctor, surfer, womb buster, writer of a grand treatise on what being healthy means, he was a real cat, ol Doz. I bought his book, he sent it to Australia with a handwritten note about how thrilled he was to be sending a book all the way to Bondi. But he wasn’t unconditionally adored by his family, I think safe to say. Like you say, he did a grand experiment via his nine kids in nature vs nurture. How much of us is genetics, how much is what we kick around doing and who’s in our orbit. Some of the Paskowitz kids thrived, didn’t seem to mind the parents sexing next to ‘em most nights, living rough; others wanted to bust out of their daddy’s tough but idealistic bubble, driven mad by it all.
Am amazing part of the movie, that never gets commented on, is that it was co-produced by one of the kids—Jonathan, I think. Family-made movies always have a slant. Andy’s doc did, for sure. But Surfwise was totally open to going wherever it was going to go. I haven’t seen it for a few years, but I very clearly remember sitting in the theater keeping a sort of graph in my head, with “hating dad” on one side and “loving dad” on the other, and placing the nine kids on there. One of the sons, I can’t recall which, was playing piano onscreen at one point, just raging against Dorian, and that floored me. Another one of the kids, one of the younger ones, seemed almost brainwashed by his dad. Then Doc himself, who I think was in his mid-80s, trying to sort it all out while the camera rolls—and kind of failing, as I recall. But like I say, hats off to everyone in the family for putting it all out there at all.
Highlight of film?
It wasn’t any one moment or scene, but something happens in the movie, maybe 15 or 20 minutes in, where you fully realize how complicated and fucked-up the story actually is. Early on you’re watching Doc nude on a stationary bike, a charming old surf-geezer talking fitness and health, and you fall for him, you’re in his camp. And you get to hold onto that notion for while. Then there’s almost a kind of vertigo as the other side of him comes into view. And the film sticks to its guns. You think the big family reunion at the end is going to bring the big redemption for Doc, but it doesn’t. I mean, it’s not an easy film to watch!
The bit where Daddy Doz encouraged one of the other, Moses or Israel, to beat the other to death.
Yeah, that was awful.
From an American point of view, and you were there when it was all happening, the Paskowitz fam were big surf names in the US, yeah?
Not really. Every month in the surf mags there was a little black-and-white ad for the Paskowitz Surf Camp, and I guess they brought in enough people to make a small business out of it. Dorian had a health column in SURFER, but it told us not to eat french fries, and nobody wanted to hear that. The whole deal with the Paskowitz family seemed a little cultish, but surfing itself was a little cultish. Later on, Izzy and Jonathan Paskowitz were maybe the two best young longboarders in the world, but that felt different from the whole Paskowitz family deal.
What do you think Doz got right, and what did he get wrong? Or does it matter? It made great cinema.
As a surfer, especially way back then, you’re always figuring out what kind of deal you’re going to cut with the non-surfing world. How much to go with it—school, job, home, convention—and how much to do it your own way. Doc went full surf. Good for him. The cardinal mistake is that where Dorian was a well-connected Standford-educated practicing doctor at the time of his big decision, his kids were half-feral home-schoolers. They had no say, no choice, the way Doc himself did. Each of the kids seemed remarkable, each in their own way, in the film, and while I only ever knew two or three of them, I sincerely hope they are all doing well and thriving.
Did you talk to him after the movie came out?
Just once. He said he hadn’t watched it, and wouldn’t watch it, which I think was bullshit. But it would have been incredibly difficult for him to say otherwise, probably. That’s a pretty heavy reckoning to deal with at the end of your life. I think about Dorian and Surfwise, a lot, to this day. Sea of Darkness I watched and liked and forgot.
Day one analysis, Corona Open Mexico, “Am I the only one getting worried about Gabriel Medina? The dominant animal of the year is stumbling, being picked apart by demons and parasites, some of his own making!”
He crumbled at Surf Ranch, never seen it before. He crumbled at the Olympics. He looks off, flat. There's some static in the head throwing conflicting signals at the musculo-skeletal system.
I know it’s the fashion to preamble philosophical pronouncements with the disclaimer, “ I ain’t no epidemiologist, but…” but Kelly Slater has shown us there is more to life than life and death.
The cat, crazy as any that God set breath into, still laying down shreds embarrassing peers half his age is exhibit A for that premise. In this case, Japanese American and Olympic Silver Medallist Kanoa Igarashi, who had no answer to the Goat’s beautiful wrapping cutbacks and karate snaps.
I think classic Kelly and judges are now down-scoring, perhaps as part of the great reset, perhaps because Kelly is now a slightly inconvenient truth for the League with it’s workforce of coastal elites who consider the Champ’s vaccine views too hot too handle.
Despite a Bachelors degree in Science in Biology I only semi epidemiologically literate myself so can offer no view as to their veracity. My view: Life is a series of indignities visited upon us by nature so get what you can when the getting is good. If the getting is good when you enter the fifth decade then you’re doing something right.
This gurgly Mexican point break offered up some slurping tubes down a black sand sandbar, quite invigorating to watch after the chaos of Shidashita and the monotony of Surf Ranch.
It’s a war of voluntary attrition at the top though, or the bottom end of the Top.
Mikey’s done, left the circus to concentrate on freesurfing. Smart call to get out while there’s still some mileage left in the rock-and-roll brand. I’d love to see the whole Wright clan quit to free surf. Back in a Van. Owen as chaffeur, jaunty cap covering up the increasing low-tide line on the forehead, going back to an aerial or three. Tyler increasing the repertoire. Back to the way it used to be. Lots of upside there in the digital space to build a channel etc etc.
Julian’s dropped off the keys, J-flo made a new plan, Stan. John John played it coy on medical advice, despite being fit enough to block Kelly from the Olympics. Lots of talent being stripped out. Kelly might not be able to retire, even if he wanted too. They need some eyeball attractors left in the draw. Stories make stars and there ain’t a lot of Italos pushing north from the traditional surfing nations.
Down the bottom end of the rankings there’s a strong feeling that for the sport to capitalise on any post-Olympic bounce the Aussie lambs had to turn into lions.
Which they did.
Jack Robbo looked sharp, but he still looks a little front-foot heavy in the small wave game. Ewing topped the day. If he can’t get the job done in three-foot san bottom point surf then he really should jump in the Wright family van and forget about the lycra jersey for good.
Robbo pushed Medina into second place.
Am I the only one getting worried about Gabe?
I mean his psychological state viz a viz pressure. He crumbled at Surf Ranch, never seen it before. He crumbled at the Olympics. He looks off, flat. There’s some static in the head throwing conflicting signals at the musculo-skeletal system. Two conflicting things are true for Gabe in Mexico: the result doesn’t really matter so he can cruise and, the loss of momentum from a bad performance or result robs him of confidence he’ll need for Trestles.
Some sort of reset is needed for Gabe, despite an incredibly dominant year, but how?
The dominant animal of the year is stumbling, being picked apart by demons and parasites, some of his own making.
Freddy Morais climbed off the Corona death bed to look great at Barra. Tour stalwarts like Fred will have to do a lot of heavy lifting when the talent exodus of the current CT roster washes through.
Will the billions of new fans brought to the sport from Olympic exposure stay up late to watch Morais? Just asking.
One single excellent ride today. Belonging to Ethan Ewing, née AI. I thought ADS did the better surfing in the heat. Each turn framed by a period of almost dead calm, which was very pleasing to my eye.
The live broadcast missed Ewing’s wave – nothing unusual there – which took him from last to first with four minutes to remaining.
Riding a longer, narrower board, Ewing broke the trim line repeatedly with tail slides, state of the art in 1993, but over-scored in 2021.
Nonetheless, if that is what judges deem excellent surfing in head-high scrappy point surf then Ewing is favourite to win the comp.
I ain’t no blah blah but Toledo will dismember him and leave his corpse to rot in the jungle if they meet in the final.
TL:DR: Despite the mediocre scores, a running warm-water point break was very entertaining to watch.
Open Thread: Comment Live Day One of the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver!