Learning to Breathe observes the past and present of Anthony Ruffo, a 47-year-old professional surfing legend and drug addict. Facing prison time in an ever-changing California court system, Anthony must decide whether to continue on his path of addiction and crime, or change his life and begin to heal the community he damaged. Anthony’s surfing past, methamphetamine addiction, criminality, and eventual recovery are displayed candidly. Those surrounding Anthony, including some of the world’s best surfers, discuss Anthony’s rise to fame and spiral into addiction and criminality. For the first time, they break the code of silence in the surfing industry and open up about their own addiction issues, discussing the problem of widespread drug use in the professional surfing community.
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