“Surfing’s one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what’s behind,” American big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton once said. As the 2014 summer season prepares to commence along our coast, this quote perfectly sums up Cucalorus’ spin-off, “Surfalorus.” Now in its third year, the festival will both honor the significance of the surf film and embark on some exciting new ventures to better our community.
The film celebration found its footing due to the historical legacy surf films have left on the independent scene. This year it will revel in new partnerships with the Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association (WBLA) and the Wrightsville Beach Museum. Together, they will render the first Wrightsville Beach Waterman Ocean Festival (WBWOF).
“We wanted to create opportunities for people who live in other parts of New Hanover,” Surfalorus and Cucalorus festival director Dan Brawley explains. “Sometimes, I feel like downtown and [Wrightsville Beach] are really separate places, so we just felt like we could bridge the gap a little bit.”
The inaugural WBWOF came about due to the 50th year celebration of the classic surf documentary, “The Endless Summer.” Backers of the film derived press kits, posters, giveaways, and the like to send to various organizations promoting the film. Wrightsville Beach Museum (405 N. Lumina Ave.) is among local organizations partaking in the documentary’s celebration. Director Madeline Flagler first approached Brawley earlier in the year to discuss a partnership with the WBLA, which will hold its annual Longboard Classic and SUP Surfing PRO-AM the same weekend as Surfalorus.Having worked closely with the WBLA in the past, Brawley was more than happy to suit up and hit the waves alongside new collaborators. Thus, it’s allowed the film festival to move its celebrations to Wrightsville Beach entirely.
“That was our dream from the very beginning, but we knew we were going to have grow [Surfalorus] and have to test out some things,” Brawley tells. “When we all came together and approached some of the venues there was an added value because [they] got to work with all three organizations that are doing really cool things in their own right.”
Despite the festival’s newfound affiliations, film ultimately remains the most significant aspect of Surfalorus. The low-key, laid-back event typically draws in a crowd of 1,000. Though surf films can be seen throughout November’s cultural staple, Cucalorus, the local surf scene merited Surfalorus to become its own entity.
“Surf culture has such a deep history in our region, and there was a real potential for exploring surf movies,” Brawly comments. “It was sort of a natural, organic outgrowth.”
“The Endless Summer” largely embodies the spirit of Surfalorus. Documentarian Bruce Brown follows Mike Hynson and Robert August around the world during a surfing trip to seek out the perfect wave. The cross the shark-filled waters of Australia to uncharterd areas of West Africa to the beauty of Tahiti. The film will screen at the Holiday Inn Sunspree on Friday, May 2nd at 8:30 p.m.
“I always think that some of the most innovative work that I see happens within surf filmmaking,” Brawley discusses. “It’s like music videos [in that] you’ve got a certain boundary and sometimes that’s really liberating.”
Sunset Shorts will screen at 7:30 p.m. at Annex Surf Supply. The flicks range are diversified, too. Local film enthusiast Ally Gold’s “Surf Bitch” consists of a found-footage documentary that highlights the presence of women in the water sports community, all set to the tune of Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch.” Likewise, UNCW graduate Russ Roe’s “Hurricane Below the Barrier” is a film that explores the necessity of change in the infrastructure of the Jersey Shore’s barrier islands. A question and answer session with the filmmakers will follow.
Saturday night will feature Catherine Brabec’s “A Life Outside,” an outdoor screening at the Tidal Creek Cooperative. The event will follow the festival’s annual Board and Beach Expo, which displays vendor’s wares in clothing, surf goods, food, and the like. “We’d love to revive that tradition of showing films outdoors at Wrightsville Beach,” Brawley describes of the once historic Lumina Paviliion, which stood at Wrightsville Beach where Blockade Runner now resides, and showed cinematic features. “I think we still have some work to do in terms of figuring out the logistics, but this will be a great test.”
The event’s kickoff will be a BBQ meet-and-greet in the Annex Surf Supply parking lot. Savory selections will come from Jackson’s Big Oak Barbecue. All events this year will be free. Surf, film and art enthusiast can enjoy live music from bands such as Close Caption and The Carvers throughout the weekend, too, all while getting the Surfalorus logo screen-printed on anything they have in their closet (screenprinting takes place Thursday and Saturday). For a full listing of events visit www.surfalorus.org.
“It’s a great way to kick off summer,” Brawley professes. “It feels like a really pivotal year.”
Surfalorus Film Festival
Free • www.surfalorus.com
Thursday, May 1st, 7:30 p.m.
Annex Surf Supply
534 Causeway Drive
The Endless Summer
Friday, May 2nd, 8:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn Sunspree
1706 N. Lumina Ave.
A Life Outside
Saturday, May 3rd, 8:30 p.m.
Tidal Creek Cooperative
5329 Oleander Dr.