|One Winter Story is an unprecedented cinematic glimpse into the male-dominated world of big-wave surfing from an unusual and seldom seen perspective - a woman's. This hour-long experimentally shot film explores the life of big-wave surf pioneer and Ph.D scientist, Sarah Gerhardt, a relative unknown who made surfing history in 1999 as the first woman to surf Maverick's, the giant wave in Northern California. Sarah is also the first woman in the world to tow-in surf.
Sarah's journey to Maverick's was anything but easy. Surfing became her escape from the hardships of home and faith became the guiding force in her life. Using a montage of footage and voice, Sarah examines the difficult memories that both haunt her and propel her to new levels of achievement. Sarah's merchant marine father was a drinker and gambler, and was often away for 10 months out of each year. This left Sarah, from the age of six, to care for her mother, helping her through a lifelong battle with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that left her unable to walk. Despite these difficulties, or perhaps because of them, Sarah learned to surf and excelled in school using both to break away from the enduring poverty and occasional homelessness that marked her childhood. She surfed and studied to escape, to survive, and to ultimately make her own way in the world. These memories, as well as her deep religious faith, are the forces that fuel her passions, and are all woven into the story of the wave itself.
Sarah is a genuine big-wave pioneer, the first woman to surf what is arguably one of the largest waves in the world. The rush and charge of the sport propels her to the edges of history, redefining what women can do in the face of such a wave. Through it all, Sarah's past, and her ability to forgive, leads her to find her place both in the line-up, and in the world.