Monthly Archives: June 2014

Calling all surf filmmakers: 1st annual Santa Cruz Surf Film Fest open for submissions

Got a film project that tells a story about surf? The first annual Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival (SCSFF) is looking for submissions from independent surf filmmakers from all over the world, with selected films slated to show at the fest’s inaugural edition this September.


Open to both short and feature-length submissions, the festival aims to “spread the stoke that comes from a life lived in and by the waves,” by helping indie filmmakers share ideas, experiences and stories about surf. Aiming to make this a truly international event, organizers have already seen submissions roll in from as far away as Australia and South America, though they’re also looking forward to seeing films come in from local filmmakers, or which have a local focus.

Santa Cruz Film Fest: Senegal photo by Delphine Foo Matkin

Even though this will be the SCSFF’s first year, the festival is already set to bring together not only indie filmmakers and surfers, but also surf industry pros and other ocean lovers. The judges panel alone includes top names in the industry — among them 3-time Mavericks champ Darryl “Flea” Virostko, pro big wave surfer Tyler Fox, skate legend Judi Oyama, shaper Michel Junod, and surfer/shaper/musician Ashley Lloyd Thompson.

Launched by husband and wife team Michael Matkin and Delphine Foo-Matkin, the event is the first ever of its kind in Santa Cruz — though the city’s long-standing relationship with surf culture makes you wonder why this kind of thing hasn’t already happened there before.

SCFF Founders Delphine Foo Matkin & Michael Matkin surfing at dawn photo beach
SCFF Founders Delphine Foo Matkin & Michael Matkin

The story goes that, following a two-year international surf trip together, Delphine and Micheal settled on Santa Cruz as a new home base. After 24 months and 15 countries, the duo were ready to take their love of surf culture in a new direction, with a film fest that would open audiences up to the world of surfing while also giving more exposure to independent surf filmmakers.

While all films that touch on surf and everything related to the culture are welcome, organizers say that preference will be given to “films with a narrative focus — either examining a specific element of the culture or telling a story.” Awards given will include Best Feature, Best Short, Best Cinematography, and Best Soundtrack, as well as Viewers’ Choice.

santa cruz surf film festival chicama
Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival – Chicama

If you’re a filmmaker and want to submit a film or to find out about submission rules and guidelines, check out the SCSFF here. Or, if you’ll be in Santa Cruz this fall and just want to take in some really rad indie surf flicks, check out the festival itself, which runs September 24 to 26.

The deadline for all submissions is July 15, 2014.


Surfing UK: Coffins, a King, & the Crazy History of Surfing in Britain

What do the roaring 20s, coffins, the British monarchy, and surfing have in common? More than you think. Though the story of how surfing first came to the States is pretty well known, the history of the UK’s first wave of surfers is seldom told on our side of the pond, which is kind of a shame, since it’s so freaking nuts. It’s a good thing then that there are still old pictures kicking around that prove it all really happened.

Cornwall early 1920s British surfing first wave coffin lid cupboard door
Cornwall early 1920s British surfing on a coffin lid

The First Wave: surfers and their stories is a new photo and video exhibit at Devon’s Museum of British Surfing. Revisiting the madness of the UK surf scene’s first steps, it brings together historic pics of the country’s early surfers — from the teenage thrill seekers of the flapper era to the Prime Minister’s personal entourage and even some royals for good measure.

The first wave surfers and their stories poster 1
The First Wave: Surfers & their Stories – Exhibit poster

In the earliest days of the UK surf scene, Brits were still figuring out the basics. In the 1910s, modern surf boards were still almost a century away, and even the basic shaped surfboard wouldn’t hit the UK coastline for years. Instead, daredevils who got into “surf riding,” as it was then called, hopped on super basic wooden boards, like floorboards, cupboard doors, or “coffin lids,” gliding over waves on their stomachs.

Sometimes these “coffin lids” lived up to their name, as photos from the exhibit show young people in old-timey swimwear posing with boards provided by their local undertaker. But that probably just added to the cool, death-defying image of this extreme new sport.

Surfers on the north coast of Cornwall, 1919 Daily Mail UK
Surfers on the north coast of Cornwall, 1919 Daily Mail UK

By the 1920s and 30s, surfing in the UK was gaining steam, even with bigwigs. An picture from the exhibit taken in 1927 shows former Prime Minister William Gladstone with friends clutching their surfboards on a beach in North Devon.

Even more impressive, if you go deeper and delve into the museum’s archives you’ll even hit a couple of branches of the royal family tree. As early as 1920, Prince Edward (who later became King Edward VIII) got heavy into the surfing.

Seen here: Prince Edward, Lord Louis, Prince Kalakaua Kawanakoa & Prince David

Photos of him in Hawaii are the first ever to show a Brit standing up on a surfboard, while other archive pictures show the future king hanging with friend Lord Louis Mountbatten, Hawaiian prince Kalakaua Kawananakoa, and David Kahanamoku, brother of legendary Duke Kahanamoku. With such an illustrious aficionado championing it, surfing in the UK could only swell in popularity. And by 1923, the nation would have its first official surf club, founded by Nigel Oxenden, a Birtish Army major and two-time Military cross winner who served in both WWI and WWII.

The First Wave goes on to highlight all the major milestones and pioneers in the scene in years to come — from Gwyn Haslock, the first ever woman to participate in surf competitions in the 60s, to Ted Deerhurst, the man who gave up being the Earl of Coventry so he could become Britain’s first pro surfer in 1978.

Nigel Oxenden Britain's First surf Club founded 1923
Nigel Oxenden, Britain’s first surf club founder 1923

The rise of surf culture in the UK has been so successful that, today, the industry pulls in nearly 2 billion British pounds a year. But if you want to see the unlikely (even slightly insane) origins of the now flourishing scene, devon’s surf museum is the right place to start. With vintage boards, pre-WWII surf videos, and historic pictures of crazy people riding flat, rectangular planks of wood, First Wave is probably the most complete history of Britain’s love affair with surfing.

If you happpen to be in North Devon in the UK this year, the exhibit runs until 2015 at the Museum of British Surfing. Otherwise, check them out online for a look the wild way the sport found its footing on the other side of the Atlantic.