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Netflix‘s short documentary Resurface tells the story of Bobby Lane, a veteran who was on the verge of suicide before finding surfing, an outlet that gives him some peace. The moving short explores a unique solution to the growing veteran health crisis.
Resurface is a brief (under 30 minutes) but potent look at the stark realities faced by many people after they return home from service. It features a variety of wounded warriors, but Lane is the through-line. He suffers from PTSD and takes a battery of pills just to get through the day. Then he linked up with Operation Surf, a group that performs what it calls “surf therapy.” So many people go into the armed services to find direction or purpose. The number who come home broken physically, psychologically, or both, have needs that are hard to meet. Op Surf’s goal is to get the vets out of their own head and let them focus on a single task.
The people running Op Surf know surfing isn’t a cure all, but it does help. It requires commitment and focus, and working toward that goal delivers a sense of purpose. There are powerful moments of people on surfboards—vets with limbs missing, a man who is blind and deaf—getting out in the ocean and catching a wave. These moments of poignancy show the value of OP Surf in action. Resurface is a testament to the creativity, perseverance, and generosity of people.
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Eddie Strait is a member of the Austin Film Critic Association. His reviews focus primarily on streaming entertainment, with an emphasis on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other on-demand services.