Documentary filmmaker Paul Taublieb was tracking big wave surfers from Hawaii to Half Moon Bay for his film “Ground Swell: The Other Side of Fear” when he discovered the legacy of a young Coastsider named Malcolm Feix. Taublieb was introduced to Feix by Half Moon Bay resident Steve Hawk, the erstwhile editor of “Surfer” magazine.
“He’s the one who told me about Malcolm and this whole movement, and that just became an important part of our film,” said Taublieb, referring to the “Show up and be kind” movement that Feix championed.
“Ground Swell” shows how two out-of-town surfers, Matt Bromley and Torrey Meister, experience a pleasant surprise when they arrive at Mavericks. “The local surfers embrace them, which is very unusual and distinct,” said Taublieb. “Typically, if you’re not a local, you don’t get waves and there’s a super aggressive vibe in the water.”
The film describes how Feix was one of the people who inspired the rise of a welcoming surf culture on the Coastside before his untimely death at the age of 20 in a surfing accident in 2018 on Pomponio State Beach south of Half Moon Bay. Beach Break Entertainment is presenting a screening of “Ground Swell” at the San Benito House Cantina Garden on March 3.
“The tribute to Malcolm had everything to do with the selection,” said Julie Mell, founder of Beach Break Entertainment.
Marty Phelps, of Kings Mountain, a veteran surfer and former coach of the Half Moon Bay Surf Club, which is affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside, explained that Feix upheld the club’s motto of “a shared positive experience.”
“After we started the club, Malcolm joined the middle school surf team and he and his entire family embodied that shared positive experience,” said Phelps. “He respected his teammates, he respected the game officials, he respected the opponents. He always showed up with a positive attitude and was constantly smiling.
“The spirit of Malcolm Feix has definitely emanated within our surfing community, but, more than anything, he was just a kind person,” he added.
Justin Ferdinand coached Feix on the Half Moon Bay High School water polo team. He said Feix served as a role model for other team members even after he graduated.
“I would routinely ask them to do what they could to try and emulate who Malcolm was as an athlete,” said Ferdinand.
Xavier Kendall-Protacio, of Pacifica, was mentored by Feix in the Junior Lifeguard program. “He taught me to not be afraid of the big barreling waves that would come my way,” said Kendall-Protacio.
“He had a very encouraging presence and had a great way with wording those encouraging words,” Kendall-Protacio said. “On the last day of the Junior Lifeguard program, the summer before his passing, he gave me a pair of his sunglasses and told me, ‘See you next summer.’ He really made a long-lasting impression on me.”
“Ground Swell” is showing at 8:30 p.m. on March 3 at the San Benito House Cantina Garden, located at 356 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. Tickets are available online at beachbreakentertainment.com.
This version corrects the date of the film's showing.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.