Patrick Trefz and SURFERS’ BLOOD

Patrick Trefz has been sharing Santa Cruz surfing with the world for decades. He’s worked tirelessly with the area’s best surfers to capture that elusive “shot”. It was this drive and talent that lead to his position as staff photographer for Surfer Magazine. Over the years he’s published an impressive collection of creative photography with emphasis on different angles, atmospheres, and personalities.

“I’m a second generation photographer and it was always something that I was into. There was different styles of photography out there: travel photography, people photography, fashion photography—I was always fascinated by all of them,” he reflected during a chat on my patio under cloudy, muggy skies.

Trefz has transferred this passion into highly successful, award-winning art, documentary, and action photographer-filmmaker. He has directed two feature films: Thread (2007) and Idiosyncrasies (2010), along with a number of shorts, music videos, and other independent projects. His photography has landed him gigs with, Big, Geo, and The New York Times.


Over time, Trefz talent as a storyteller began to shine through his work

“As my travels took me around the world taking photos I got into surf photography; I always thought there was a high peak action shot that was really cool in surfing, yet lacked a background story you know? You just see that one frame. So as I began to transition more into surf videography I felt like I had more freedom to be a complete story teller.”

He is the author of Santa Cruz: Visions of Surf City (Solid Publishing, 2002), Thread (powerHouse Books, 2009), and SURFERS’ BLOOD (powerHouse Books, 2012). After the success of his SURFERS’ BLOOD book, he decided to turn his tale about a group of eclectic individuals who all share deep bloodline with the sea into a film.


“That’s what this film is; stories from a diverse group of humans who all share this primordial connection with the ocean. From the history of old world Basque Coast oar fishermen to a Silicon Valley visionary’s unorthodox computer surf board shapes—they all live and breathe to be in the ocean, in whatever form that may call to them.  It’s about their almost genetic need to be around the sea. There are striking similarities between Isotonic Ocean Water and internal body fluids, so I thought the title SURFERS’ BLOOD to be apt title,” Trefz explains.


The film climaxes with a spotlight on 3 time Mavericks champion Darryl “Flea” Virostko’s  troubled past, where stardom and a rock star lifestyle almost killed him. This section is juxtaposed with Flea’s childhood best friend, Shawn “Barney” Barron, to whom Trefz had a truly deep connection to.


“The final piece is very personal. It’s a contrast of Flea/Barney and how best friends could be so polar opposite. Shawn and I got along well because of our creative inclinations and we travelled the world together. He was dealing with a lot, especially the loss of his mother the year before, and as we know had that flap in his heart. But he was a recreation drug user. Flea’s proud of the way he turned his own life around, but in the end, he couldn’t save his best friend.”



7PM, $10 dollar entry

To see more of Patrick’s work, please check out