In the small coastal town of Imperial Beach, Calif., the Yost surfing dynasty seems to be suffering a karmic wipeout. Grandfather Mitch Yost has held the sport in cynical disregard ever since he nearly destroyed his knee in a surfing accident years ago, and both he and his wife, Cissy, have watched their son, Butchie, surrender his own promise to a life of hardcore drugs. Over Mitch's objections, Cissy hopes their teenaged grandson, Shaun, may be able to use his own prowess on the waves to shake off the curse that seems to hang over the family. And the sense that something miraculous may be in the offing is only intensified by the arrival of an enigmatic young stranger who seems to be from another planet altogether. To anyone who asks, however, this eccentric visitor insists he's simply John from Cincinnati.