Update May 23, 2008: Positive person? Well, he sure seemed that way from the material I had when I wrote this post. And his wikipedia entry as it exists today seems to back that up, but, in today's Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern writes:
The distributors of "Surfwise" are selling it as a surfing movie with a strong hippie undertow. Doug Pray's documentary does cover a lot of coastal territory. But its core is a case study of narcissism, and what a remarkable case it is -- a dropout doctor, now 85 years old, who enlisted, or imprisoned, his wife and their nine children in his dream of endless summers, primal vitality and perfect waves.
As you watch Doc Paskowitz perform for Mr. Pray's camera, it's hard not to judge him harshly. His narcissism seems boundless, even when he cloaks it in self-deprecation. ("I went out into the desert like Jesus of Nazareth or some other screwball," he says of a pre-fatherhood trip he took to Israel and its beaches.) An apostle of uninhibited sex, he rated the women he slept with. He prides himself on having raised disciplined kids, however permissive his parenting may have seemed to others, but then we learn from some of those kids that he was dictatorial, even wrathful, sometimes beating them and setting them against one another, by way of teaching them to be competitive, "like crabs in a bucket."
Yet Dorian Paskowitz was more than a heedlessly free spirit who seduced and enslaved those closest to him. He was a principled man with a fanatical dedication to the idea of family, an emotionally damaged physician trying to heal himself while giving the gift of health to his kids.
Judging people is a harsh business. I prefer to see positives, but complexities are part of all of us. I certainly have mine! Meanwhile, here's the original post:
He can't stand well and has titanium in his hip.
Arthur Rashkovan, a 28-year-old surfer from Tel Aviv, said Paskowitz's project was part of a larger effort called "Surfing for Peace," aimed at bringing Middle Eastern surfers closer together. He said eight-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater, who is of Syrian descent, is expected to arrive in Israel in October to take part in the drive.
"We want Palestinians to enjoy the surfing experience. We believe it brings people together," Rashkovan said. "The idea is for people to forget about the violence and follow the journey to peace on the waves."
Paskowitz is venerated by Israeli surfers as the man who brought the sport to the Jewish state five decades ago. Rashkovan called him a "guru" to Israeli surfers.