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The Remarkable Story of Curt Harper, Surfing Mentor and Local Legend

Curt Harper is a 50-year-old competitive surfer and beloved mentor to Southern California's "groms" (young surfers). Diagnosed with autism as a child, a doctor recommended that Harper be institutionalized; his parents refused and instead fostered their son's love of surfing. Now a fixture in the surf scene, this short documentary from Westward Productions highlights Harper's integral role in the community. "Everybody [who] surfs in Southern California knows Curt. He's famous," says protégé Dane Reynolds.

Read a Q&A with the director, Brendan Hearne.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.