Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival: Spreading Stoke Through Film

santa cruz surf film festival
Whether you’re an avid surfer or just an ocean lover, the 19 films featured at the inaugural Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival are guaranteed to tell a story you’ll want to watch.

Taking place at the Del Mar Theater September 24th and 25th, and the Rio Theater on the 26th, the festival features 6 different screenings of short and long films from all over the world, with a focus on issues, people and places in surf culture. None of these films have ever been screened in Santa Cruz before, and this may be your only chance to see them on the big screen!

The final selections were curated from over 60 entries, with the criteria that they present compelling stories, beautiful cinematography, and exciting surf scenes. Each screening will include one long (over 30 minutes) and several short films, totaling about an hour and a half of screen time.

santa cruz surf film festival

The features include:

  • Lakey Peterson – Zero to 100, the inspiring story of the current number 6 on the women’s World Championship Tour and her quick rise up the ranks of professional surfing after picking up a surfboard for the first time at age 12.
  • OUT in the Line-up, which follows the around-the-world journey of a surfer to shed light on attitudes towards homosexuality in surf culture. Including interviews with professional surfers who have come out of the closet, this documentary sold out at the Newport Beach Film Festival and the San Francisco International LGBT Frameline Film Festival earlier this year.
  • The world premiere of Oney Anwar – Chasing the Dream, which focuses on the first professional surfer to come out of Lakey Peak, Indonesia, and his journey from his home in a tiny Indonesian village to sponsored surfer working towards a spot on the World Championship Tour.
  • Beyond the Surface, the tale of a group of professional women surfers who travel to India to share waves with India’s first female surfer. Filmmaker Crystal Thornburg-Homcy and cast member Kate Baldwin will be in attendance for a Q&A.
  • The Old, the Young & the Sea, a survey of characters who travel the European surfing route.
  • Tierra de Patagones, in which two brothers travel through Patagonia, meeting the locals and surfing one of the wildest, southernmost points in the world.

There are also a whole slew of captivating shorts — too many to describe — but one short that’s strangely flown under the radar in the surf world is Ben Gulliver’s 22-minute picaresque tale of camping and surfing in Canada’s northwest island chain of Haida Gwaii. Staged with a quirkiness and cinematic detail that bears homage to Wes Anderson, among breathtaking landscapes, this short film is not to be missed.

Every screening will feature giveaway prizes from sponsors including O’Neill Surf Shop, ZEAL Optics, and Escape Campervans, and the first 25 people in line at each screening will receive a limited edition tote bag full of sponsor goodies.

11 countries and 4 continents are represented by this year’s official selections, and each of the six programs will take you on an unforgettable journey. So, if you love watching surfing, traveling to exotic locations, or just appreciate a good story, come out to what will be the first of many Santa Cruz Surf Film Festivals to come.

You can see screening times, watch trailers, and buy tickets here.

About Delphine Foo-Matkin

Delphine Foo-Matkin recently finished a 2-year adventure surfing around the world with her husband and blogging along the way at Surfing Round The World. Her passions include writing, learning new skills, exploring Santa Cruz, and crafting with fibers and fabrics, but her first love will always be surfing.