Three years ago, French surfer Thomas Castets created GaySurfers.net, the first online community where LGBT wave-riders discuss everything from the gnarliest beach tees to what makes the perfect gay surfer cocktail (hint: a sea parsley garnish). We spoke to Castets, whose documentary about homophobia in surf culture, Out in the Line-Up, will make its U.S. premiere this month at the Newport Beach Festival.
Out: How did your documentary come about?
Thomas Castets: Two years ago, some gay surfer friends and I decided to march in the Sydney Mardi Gras festival. There was such a great response that I promised myself to come back with a film crew to document it. Over time, it became a much bigger project. We began shooting in September 2012 and interviewed gay surfers from all over the planet, including some world champions.
Is being gay a taboo in surf culture?
It challenges many existing ideals: The industry has made millions of dollars selling the image of the straight white male and bikini-clad female surfers. Most people buy into this stereotype and reject whatever is different, which is why many gay surfers prefer to remain silent.
What are your favorite places to surf?
I love driving along the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Byron Bay -- there are lots of great spots for camping and surfing.
Favorite surfing movie?
The Free Way with surfer Dave Rastovich. I really enjoyed the Australian surf drama Drift, set in Margaret River in the 1970s.
Long board shorts vs. short shorts vs. Speedos?
Most surfers wear long board shorts to prevent skin irritation from the wax on their surfboard. We don’t see many people wearing Speedos in the surf.
For more screening information visit the website. Watch the trailer for OUT in the Line-Up below: