Professional surfers, by and large, are not considered to be overly “engaged” in exposing troublesome, potentially exploitative societal subcultures. The Spicoli stereotype of only needing a few tasty waves, a fine buzz and a 12.34 heat total is generally truer than not which makes Danny Berk’s current mission that much more notable.
The current World Surf League number 1115, whose best result on tour was 25th at the Shoe City Pro and only falling to Kolohe Andino, has been spending less time perfecting his Huntington Hop and, instead, heading into a San Diego compound that is home to a “Twelve Tribes” community in an attempt to shed light on some allegedly nasty business.
The group is described by Southern Poverty Law Center thusly: “…a Christian fundamentalist cult born in the American South in the 1970s, is little-known to much of the country, and on first impression its communes and hippie-vibed restaurants and cafes can seem quaint and bucolic. But beneath the surface lies a tangle of doctrine that teaches its followers that slavery was ‘a marvelous opportunity’ for black people, who are deemed by the Bible to be servants of whites, and that homosexuals deserve no less than death.”
One of those “hippie-vibed” restaurants just so happens to be in Vista, California a handful of miles from Oceanside, where Berk and his partner Reckless Ben begin their dangerous mission. The two explain what the Twelve Tribes believe and how they plan on infiltrating and uncovering and then off they go for organic sandwiches then a trip to “the middle of nowhere.”
Berk and Ben fear if they are found out they might be killed, warning viewers neither are suicidal and so if their bodies happen to turn up deceased then, well, look no further than the deli.
Modern day Upton Sinclairs.