When most people think of surfers, they picture a tall, lanky, tanned, blonde California guy, one that uses words like "dude" and "totally," and flashes "hang ten" as he carries his board down the to beach. The short documentary, 12 Miles North tells the story of a different kind of surfer.
Nicholas "Nick" Rolando Gabaldon was the first documented African American surfer. From the late 1930s until his tragic death in 1951, Nick broke down racial barriers in the sport, which prompted other surfers of color to branch out beyond the "Ink Well" of predominately Black beaches they usually frequented. He earned the respect and admiration of his white counterparts for his graceful form and genuine character.
Nick was so influental in the world of African American Surfers, he was honored by the City of Santa Monica. In 2007, commemorative plaque was placed at the former site of the Ink Well Beach in Santa Monica, an effort spearheaded by African American female surfer, Rhonda Harper.