By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – You don’t have to be R.L. Gates to take an interest in genealogy. In fact, looking up one’s distant ancestors has become one of the fastest growing hobbies around the world. Of course, everyone who embarks on such an archival investigation must hold out some hope that they are related to some historical figure of import, say a pharaoh or at least an everyman hero. More often than not a rummage through the family tree will reveal a tale of syphilis and slavery, or at best industrious middle-classness. It may then seem odd that two young men from different parts of the United States should find themselves united in a search for their common genetic past.
Enter golden-haired, Cape Cod surfer-dude, Andrew Jacob. Yeah, he says Jacob just like you’d think. Soaked. But actually, he seems to be a really amicable and down-to-earth kinda guy with a knack for creating beautiful graffiti. Andrew catches wind that he has a cousin in Florida who is living a parallel life as a surfer and surfboard designer. A cousin who can also trace his lineage back to the King of The Blasket Islands, the quasi-mythical “An Ri” of the rocky archipelago off Ireland’s south-western coast.
Drawn together by the discovery of a fiddle left behind by their common ancestor Mike the Fiddler, Jacob and his eastern counter-part, the bedroom-eyed Dennis “DK” Kane, travel to Ireland to rediscover their roots and share their love of hitting the waves.
As luck would have it their discovery of each other’s existence coincides with The Gathering 2013; a tourism initiative that invited Irish descendants from around the world to, ahem, descend on the Emerald Isle to partake of some 3,000 family reunions and national celebrations. Meeting for the first time, the two immediately set about finding a spot to baptize the surfboards they had toted along just for the occasion in the chilly Atlantic.
Not just an account of the chain of events that brought the two together, the story at the heart of The Crest is one of heraldic pride mingled with an admiration for how those that went before lived and died by the waters that surrounded them.
A quaint and mellow-paced documentary, The Crest revolves around Jacob’s contemplative attempt to record the uniqueness of the people around him while seeking a portal of connection to the past. Equipped with an easy to enjoy Celtic music soundtrack that ranges from traditional romantics to punked-up romps, The Crest is more about museum moments than catching the perfect rip-curl. Impeded by the same rough (gnarly) seas that kept their forbearers isolated and pining for the opportunities they knew awaited in America, Jacob and Kane make the most of their time in the Dingle Peninsula by tipping pints with assorted local characters and fellow Kanes who have rallied for the festivities.
More of a walk down memory lane, or a forage through Granny’s attic, than an azure-tinted surfgasm, The Crest makes the most of pushing into uncertainty by getting hands-on with the details and going back to the basics of storytelling, much in the way of the rugged fisherman-poets of The Blasket Islands.
The Crest will screen Nov. 17 as part of CUFF Docs at The Globe Cinema with director Mark Covino in attendance.Ancestry, CUFF, CUFF.Docs, Ireland, Mark Covino, Surfers, The Crest, The Globe Cinema