David Scales Joins Florida Surf Film Festival Short Documentary Jury

New Smyrna Beach, FL – David Scales’s Podcast, Surf Splendor, is on the forefront of surf media.  While DVDs and print magazines, with exceptions, have been archived, the mode of transport for portraits, meaningful introspection, and new and developing issues and projects has become audio podcasts.  We are finding our drives shorter and our knowledge deeper, listening to Chas Smith, Matt Warshaw, and Jamie Brisick.  In the old days, you saw pictures of Curren and the occasional post-heat interview timing out at 30 seconds.  Now we get an hour plus of the best of the best.  The door to the kitchen is now open, but it is with proper seasoning and feel for the medium-rare.  The meat is tender, with flavor, and in some cases, still close one the bone.  It’s a gratifying meal, every time, which is why bringing David out in November for the main event will be so special.  He even hinted that he may record a podcast or two while he’s here.  FSFF extends a big welcome to one of the best curators of the long-form surf interview.

About David:  First came surf film, then came surfing. Bruce Brown’s portrait of Pat O’Connell and Robert “Wingnut” Weaver was Scales’s first exposure to the world of surfing. He saved up $30 washing cars and got a ride from mom to Harbor Surfboards in Seal Beach California. He had planned on purchasing the The Endless Summer 2, but was shocked to see a vast collection of offerings. Under glass were 20 different VHS surf films and the genesis of a lifelong passion for the medium. His very first purchase was “Jacked” by Santa Cruz filmmaker Tony Roberts.

David Lee Scales grew up near the beach in Orange County, California and started surfing at age 12. A storyteller by trade, Scales has explored writing, film, and podcasting. In 2013 he established the Surf Splendor podcast network, which now produces 4 surf-related podcasts. Surf Splendor features long form interviews with surf luminaries, many of whom have either showcased at the Florida Surf Film Festival or have served on the jury. Included among them, Jamie Brisick, Matt Warshaw, Morgan Maassen, and Chas Smith. Through Surf Splendor, Scales’s goal is to help chronicle surf history while simultaneously dissecting board design and providing commentary on surfing through ongoing open forum discussions between surf industry leaders and Surf Splendor’s listenership. Learn more and listen in at SurfSplendorPodcast.com

-Kevin Miller

Lauren Hill joins Feature Documentary Jury

We’re thrilled to announce that surfer/writer/filmmaker Lauren Hill has joined the Feature Documentary Jury for the 2018 festival year.  I first met Lauren in the water at Ponce Inlet when we were introduced via fellow friends/surfers from her hometown of St. Augustine.

In the span of 5 short years Lauren took up surfing and collected a handful of competitive titles, including U.S. Women’s Amateur Longboard Champion in 2001. Deciding to shelve the competitive aspect of surfing, Lauren went on to earn degrees in Environmental and Social Science from Stetson University and now works with surf brands and media to create dynamic, inclusive imagery and film content.  Her work and activism continue to revolve around marine conservation and gender as they relate to surfing culture, including groups like Surfers for Cetaceans and the VDay movement.





Surf Expo – Here We Come

Florida Surf Film Festival will be hosting free screenings at Lafayette’s Orlando starting at 7PM on Thursday, January 25th, and Friday, January 26th.


1/25 Richer Poorer presents No One’s Gonna Give You Nothing by Sam McIntosh about Danny Fuller’s career in art and surfing.  Followed by The Seawolf by Ben Gulliver, tracking surfers across the globe to cold water climates, this feature surf documentary is the best surf movie we’ve seen in a while.  Complete with an original soundtrack, the footage and performances will take your breath away.

1/26 – Vissla and What Youth present 22, a new film by Victor Pakpour starring Cam Richards, who will be in attendance, and Fairly Normal, also starring Cam Richards.  The trio from Miami, The Jacuzzi Boys, will be supplying the live tunes.

Come on out and enjoy both evenings after expo!

Chas Smith Joins Short Documentary Jury

January 10, 2018 – We’re thrilled to announce that Chas Smith has decided to join the short documentary film jury for the 2018 festival year.  I came upon his unique voice through the Surf Splendor podcasts, and I’m happy to report that his written work is some of my favorite up-front, intelligent, and honest reporting in our stupid culture.  Thank the great big universe for Chas and his keyboard strokes.

Bright, hyper-ironic surf journalist, author, and bon vivant from Coos Bay, Oregon; frequent contributor to Stab magazine, ex-contributing editor at the now shuttered Surfing magazine, and co-founder of BeachGrit, a surfing website. Smith’s first book, Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, a surf-based cultural examination Oahu’s North Shore, came out in 2013. In an upbeat review, Kirkus called Smith the “clown prince of trash prose, and described the book as a “boozy and often funny investigation into a little-understood corner of America.” Paradise was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award for Nonfiction. His second, Cocaine + Surfing: A Love Story! is out now. He’s also working on a feature documentary film in consideration for selection in this year festival based on the life of four-time world champion Lisa Anderson.

Florida Surf Film Festival Announces February 2018 Programming

Buy Tickets Here

January 10, 2017 – Florida Surf Film Festival is proud to announce films for the first quarterly installment of the 2018 festival year.  Doors open at 6PM, and movies begin at 7PM for the following venues:

  • February 8th – The Abbey, Orlando
  • February 9th – Surfside Playhouse, Cocoa Beach
  • February 10th – Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach

New and independent surf documentary films are hard to come by.  Years of planning, scrapping together funds, surfers, and swell can be a disheartening, long and winding process.  What Ben Gulliver has delivered in The Seawolf surpasses expectations of what modern surf films hope to accomplish.  Cold water discoveries all over the world, an incredible original score, and the absolute highest quality performance surfing seen lately stands alone this winter as the best surf film we’ve seen in a while.  Hold on tight.  Ben will be at the festival to discuss his latest work with fans.

The Seawolf – Trailer from Ben Gulliver on Vimeo.


Buy Tickets Here

6:00PM: Doors Open with Giveaways at the Door

7:00PM: Commencement of 2018 Festival Year by John Brooks

Moonless Island by Gabriel Novis – 6 min.
The Malloy Brothers by YETI – 5 min.
22 by Victor Pakpour – 8 min.
Brainwork: Adam Replogle by Kyle Buthman – 12 min.
No One’s Gonna Give You Nothin’ by Sam McIntosh – 15 min.
Jungle by Morgan Maassen – 17 min.

8:15PM: Intermission with Raffle Items


The Seawolf by Ben Gulliver – 44 min.


Florida Surf Film Festival mission: 

Florida Surf Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to invigorate surf culture and artistic appreciation by exhibiting contemporary documentary films with surfing as a focus from artists far and wide and operate featured-artist workshops in journalism, photography, and filmmaking.

Dayla Soul Joins Florida Surf Film Festival Short Jury

New Smyrna Beach, FL – With the incredible feedback from her latest work, It Ain’t Pretty, which screened at the 2016 Florida Surf Film Festival, and took the coveted Viewer’s Choice – Feature award, Dayla has graced our jury with her expertise and passion for filmmaking as a new juror for 2018’s short films. We are honored to have her as part of our team.

Having surfed her whole life, she is deeply passionate about the ocean and the lifestyle. She was frustrated with the films on women surfers because they all just seem to portray the stereotype of a beach bunny.  She decided to make It Ain’t Pretty because she wanted to share the truth about who female surfers are and show the ability, skill, and determination it takes to surf in Northern California. She’s been filming IAP since March 2013.

Her photography and film segments have been featured on OutsideTV, Comcast GameON, CBS, ABC, Mode TV and local San Francisco news papers and radio. She has organized, produced, and directed 8 major events/benefits for her documentary and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that earned $36,000 for equipment. She is a member of The Women’s Surf Institute and continues to be an advocate for the first ever Women’s Big Wave World Tour!

2017 Florida Surf Film Festival Announces Awards

Left to right:  Kevin Miller, Executive Director; Scott Hulet, Editor – The Surfer’s Journal; Takuji Masuda, Dir. – BUNKER77; Ira Opper, Dir. – The Secrets of Desert Point; John Brooks, Festival Dir.; Keith Malloy, Dir. – Fishpeople

November 19, 2017

New Smyrna Beach, FL – The Fifth Annual Florida Surf Film Festival (FSFF), presented by Monster Energy, is a wrap, and the juries and founders are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 awards.

The 2017 festival kicked off Friday with Perilous Sea, the award-winning work of Mike Bromley and Ryan Meichtry.  Sometimes, the east coast gets good, in Nova Scotia…  The further reaches of the Northern Atlantic also produced for the duo, who won Best Surf Movie – Short and Best Cinematography – Short for their efforts.

Joe G.’s world premiere of Cult of Freedom – The Australia Part, pulled in Viewer’s Choice – Short with some footage of Taj right after retirement, and the Globe boys – Dion Agius, Eric Geiselman, Nate Tyler, and Noa Deane, among others, taking to the air and free-falling into thumping, clear-water caverns with the director’s personal voiceover giving light and humor to their travels.  Mr. G. included 16-milimeter work, provoking audible gasps, old-school howls, and an undercurrent of whispers.

Next, right into Ira Opper’s vision and Bill Heick’s family footage of friends who roughed it in the early days of Lombok’s eastern parts in The Secrets of Desert Point.  Ira used Bill’s voice for the voiceover, a personal touch that resonated with veteran travelers.  Ira met with and greeted questions from many fans during the course of the weekend, and shared some harrowing stories of engine failure in the Java straights, only to be rescued to score incredible footage for his ESPN series back in the late 80’s.

Friday night ended on a big note.  Albee Layer and Dan Norkunas presented their work Nervous Laughter and drew a huge grom-count.  The footage of the often-hilarious Q and A can be found online, but the work speaks for itself.  Find it somewhere and enjoy.

On Saturday morning, Sam George, filmmaker, surfer, and voice of surf journalism for many fans, greeted 14 early birds to the founders’ room of the Pabst Visitor’s Center and Gallery at Atlantic Center for the Arts.  What followed was an eight-hour workshop detailing the creation and execution of documentary filmmaking.  As a veteran story-teller and Emmy Award winning director, he shared knowledge that only comes from having brought an idea to the screen, many times.

Matt Warshaw sits in on Sam’s Workshop. Photo: David Moorefield

Saturday night, Church of the Open Sky, winner of the Best Soundtrack – Feature award, brought a thoughtful look at how the act of surfing can bring joy and gratitude into the lives of surfing communities.  Beauty in sound and sun-saturated images from Sri Lanka and Australia initiated new fans and veterans to Nathan Oldfield’s stunning, peaceful work.  It was nothing short of perfection.

Eric Ebner came to the festival expecting a t-shirt, and he walked away with Best Documentary – Short.  His film, The Bull, is the quintessential short bio-doc about a Baja surfer, Glen Horn.  His often home, the bluffs of Never Never Land (kept confidential by the filmmaker) could be found with a little bit of research.  Crafting a movie with such efficiency and beauty happens infrequently, believe it or not.  Eric did it.

Keith Malloy brought the lives of six people to the screen.  Somewhere in Fishpeople, each and every fan found the confidence, dedication, and courage of the ensemble cast too much to bear.   Keith Malloy shook a lot of hands, took photos with fans, but he also managed to gain even more respect as a filmmaker and artist, if that’s possible.  His ability to find the emotional key upon which a segment depends and embolden it with editing, scoring, and strong interviews makes his film this year’s Viewer’s Choice – Feature.

The final film of the 2017 festival documented the life and ultimate sadness of a man wrestling with inheriting millions of dollars and the absence of a father-figure.  Bunker Spreckels stumbled out of the forest onto the North Shore of Oahu in his teens with a creative, youthful approach to Pipeline and penchant for partying.  Oh, and his step-dad was Clark Gable. The feature film jury unanimously voted Takuji Masuda’s Bunker77 Best Documentary – Feature for 2017.  The films essence was captured by a near end-of-life interview by Craig Stecyk, that weaved throughout the film, ominously and from the bottom.  Despite the love and support of his friends, his heartbreaking early death came at the throes of addiction and abuse.  Sometimes, you don’t get back up when you hit rock bottom, and Takuji told the story in a dramatic climb and fall structure, capturing contemporary’s recollections, anecdotes, and photographs that combined with Stecyk’s interview, complete this excellent documentary film.

The screening panelists have entered their selections, along with our viewers’ choices.  The awards are as follows:

  • Best Documentary – Feature:  Bunker77; Director – Takuji Masuda
  • Best Surf Movie – Feature:  Proximity; Director – Taylor Steele
  • Best Cinematography – Feature:  Under an Arctic Sky; Director – Chris Burkard and Director of Photography – Ben Weiland
  • Best Soundtrack – Feature:  Church of the Open Sky; Director – Nathan Oldfield
  • Viewers’ Choice – Feature:  Fishpeople; Director – Keith Malloy
  • Best Documentary – Short:  The Bull; Director – Eric Ebner
  • Best Surf Movie – Short:  Perilous Sea; Directors – Mike Bromley and Ryan Meichtry
  • Best Cinematography – Short:  Perilous Sea; Directors – Mike Bromley and Ryan Meichtry
  • Best Soundtrack – Short:  Pedro’s Bay – Director – Eddie Obrand
  • Viewers’ Choice – Short:  Cult of Freedom – The Australia Part, Director – Joe G.

Juries include: Feature Jury – Scott Hulet, Sam George, Christian Beamish, Joe Turpel, Matt Pruett, Chad Campbell, and Ben Mondy.  Short Jury – Matt Warshaw, Lewis Samuels, Matt Kechele, and Bryan Forand.  Festival director, John Brooks, and executive director, Kevin Miller, also submit votes for competition.

We were again proud to have Monster Energy serve as our presenting sponsor for this year’s festival, providing travel and lodging for the filmmakers who attend the festival.

Surfline provided coverage and marketing services for the 2017 festival as our principal media sponsor.

Cigar City Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery served as the festival’s official beer sponsors, with St. Augustine Distillery serving as the official spirits sponsor of the festival.  Clancy’s Cantina and Café Verde served as the festival’s official food sponsor.

Other sponsors we’d like to thank include:  Serenity Springs Recovery Center, Globe, Brian Layman Wealth Management, Richer Poorer, Anson Stoner, Encyclopedia of Surfing, Florida Virtual School, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Dakine, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Nixon Watches, JT Handcrafted Surfboards, Holistic Movements, Biological Consulting Services, Mangrove Bay Design, Lundev Homes, La Ponderosa Beach and Jungle Resort, Total Vision, SDR Massage, Funxion IT, Hampton Inn, Red Dog Surf Shop, Kembali, and Surfrider Foundation (Volusia/Flagler Chapter).  A silent auction featuring some of our sponsors’ products was held in the Pabst Visitor Center and Gallery.

Florida Surf Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to invigorate surf culture and artistic appreciation by exhibiting contemporary documentary films with surfing as a focus from artists far and wide and operate featured-artist workshops in journalism, photography, and filmmaking.

–Kevin Miller

Meet Paige Laverty – this year’s feature photographer

By Ashley Brooks

New Smyrna Beach, FL – Imagine your biggest daily dilemma upon waking up being, “Do I shoot or do I surf today?” This is the life surf photographer and Ocean Beach local Paige Laverty has carved out for herself. A world traveller and adventure seeker, Paige has spent the last 20 years trekking across the globe, living abroad for stints in both Italy and Buenos Aires, backpacking through over 40 counties, and spending 5 years living in The Big Apple before moving to San Francisco to learn to surf. After just one lesson in Stinson Beach, Paige knew she was hooked and that life would need to change in order to accommodate this new found love of surfing. She ditched her high paying 9-5 job in favor of flexible gigs like driving for Lyft/Uber and babysitting to have ultimate freedom to surf or shoot photos whenever the waves were good.  She is now a regular in the Ocean Beach lineup, both as a surfer and photographer, being one of the few females swimming out to shoot from the water. Her shots of Mavericks have been bought and published by Surfing Magazine as well as Surfline, and just this year she was commissioned for a Mentawai boat trip as a staff photographer. Paige is living the quintessential surfer’s dream, planning her days and travels based on the ocean swells. Come meet Paige and see her work at the New Smyrna Beach FSFF Nov. 10th and 11th at the Atlantic Center for the Arts where her photography will be both on display and available for purchase.



Florida Surf Film Festival Announces 2017 Official Selections

Photo: Nervous Laughter Archive

New Smyrna Beach, FL – Florida Surf Film Festival (FSFF), presented by Monster Energy, is proud to announce the official selections for the feature film and short film categories for the November 10th and 11th main festival, its fifth annual event at Atlantic Center for the Arts. This is the 4th and final installment of the year-long festival, preceded by the February, June, and August quarterly screening series.  FSFF will also screen some featured works of the festival on November 16th in Cocoa Beach at the Surfside Playhouse and November 17th at The Abbey in Orlando.

Attendees for the New Smyrna Beach festival include:
  • Sam George – Documentary Film Workshop
  • Keith Malloy – Fishpeople
  • Takuji Masuda – Bunker77
  • Scott Hulet – The Surfer’s Journal, Editor, Juror of FSFF
  • Dan Norkunas, Nervous Laughter
  • Albee Layer, Professional Surfer in Nervous Laughter
  • Ira Opper, The Secrets of Desert Point
  • Matt Warshaw, Encyclopedia of Surfing, Juror of FSFF

Passes are available here, and one-night passes will be on-sale at the door for $20 and a two-night pass runs $30.  Passes for kids 11 and under are also available for $5/night and $10/two-nights.  Patron level support is also available in limited numbers for $125/pp., which includes a festival poster, 2017 limited edition t-shirt, FSFF Tervis Tumbler, dinner both nights from Clancy’s Cantina on-site, two-night festival pass, and four drink tickets (add a spouse for an additional $75).  Tickets for the Cocoa Beach and Orlando events are also available for sale for $20/adult and $5/kids 11 and under.  Please email Kevin@floridasurffilmfestival.com with any questions.

Filmmaker and journalist, Sam George, will be hosting a full-day documentary film workshop on November 11th; details are available at www.floridasurffilmfestival.com.  Matt Warshaw will also be in attendance from Encyclopedia of Surfing with all of life’s answers.  Chad Campbell, Filmmaker (5th Symphony Document) and juror, will also be available to classic Tavaua boatman stories and will be available for questions.

FSFF differentiates itself from others due to its year-long presentation of works, all of which are included for competition for the 2017 festival year.  The curated feature documentaries (longer than 30 minutes) have been balanced-to-taste and avoid too much of any one genre.  For instance, the big-wave genre has been prolifically documented in the last couple years, and as such, two features are included in the festival, one of which, Distance Between Dreams, screened in February 2017 to a packed amphitheater.  The other big wave venture is from veteran documentarian, Dan Norkunas, who will be in attendance, and features Albee Layer and friends during one of the best winters in recorded history.  The film is rightly titled Nervous Laughter.  Historical documentaries have also made a good showing this year with Bunker77 (Takuji Masuda, who will be in attendance) and The Secrets of Desert Point (Ira Opper, also in attendance) making the list for November.   Leaving the cubicle behind for a look at surf travel, Alena Ehrenbold debuts her beautiful film Blue Road that will leave fans broke but happy on some distant coast.  Rounding out the feature category, Fishpeople, a new film by Keith Malloy, who will be in attendance, will highlight the lives of six people who could not separate the ocean from the narrative of their life if they wanted to.  The Church of the Open Sky will be a fantastic conclusion to the festival offering classic and new shapes on a canvas painted by none other than FSFF veteran Nathan Oldfield.

Filling the lineup of short films (under 30 minutes) in November, new works by Mike Bromley, Sam Sykes, Gustavo Imigrante, Andy Miller, and Eric Ebner will see the light of the big screen.

We recognize the difference between Best Documentary and Best Surf Movie.  Those who approach the art form by documenting, even if mockingly, a character, locale, etc. with personal interviews, historical footage, and anecdotal clips will be in competition for Best Documentary, and those movies focusing on the high performance, action-driven sequences will compete for Best Surf Movie. This award will be extended to short films as well. In addition, Best Cinematography and Best Soundtrack will be awarded for both feature and short films, along with a Viewers’ Choice award.

Friday, November 10, 2017


  • Commencement/introduction by John Brooks, Festival Director
  • Blue Road – Alena Ehrenbold, 44 min.
  • Perilous Sea – Mike Bromley and Ryan Meichtry, 27 min.


  • Fresh Rubber – Andy Miller, 7 min.
  • The Secrets of Desert Point, Ira Opper, 45 min.


  • Nervous Laughter, Dan Norkunas, 69 min., starring Albee Layer
  • Cosmic – Sam Sykes, 12 min.
  • Reef Road – Gustavo Imigrante, 21 min.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


  • The Church of the Open Sky – Nathan Oldfield, 55 min.
  • The Bull – Eric Ebner, 13 min.


  • Untitled – Joe G.
  • Fishpeople – Keith Malloy, 49 min., starring Dave Rastovich & Matahi Drollet.


  • Bunker77 – Takuji Masuda, 90 min., featuring Bunker Spreckels

Florida Surf Film Festival’s jury, comprised of twelve individuals with journalistic, cultural, and/or experiential factors will determine recognition for the following awards:

Best Documentary – Feature; Best Surf Movie – Feature; Best Cinematography – Feature; Best Soundtrack – Feature; Best Documentary – Short; Best Surf Movie – Short; Best Cinematography – Short; Best Soundtrack – Short

The following two awards are selected by viewers’ enthusiasm for the films during the festival and feedback during the nights of programming to staff:

Viewers’ Choice Award – Feature; Viewers’ Choice Award – Short

Juries include: Feature Films – Scott Hulet, Christian Beamish, Joe Turpel, Matt Pruett, Chad Campbell (planning to attend), and Ben Mondy.  Short Films – Matt Warshaw, attending, Sam George, attending, Lewis Samuels, Matt Kechele, Nick McGregor, and Bryan Forand.

We are proud to have Monster Energy serve as our presenting sponsor for this year’s festival, providing travel and lodging for the filmmakers who attend the festival.

Principal Sponsors:  Surfline, Globe Brand Apparel and Footwear, Anson Stoner (Advertising and Creative), & Encyclopedia of Surfing

Major Sponsors: Florida Virtual School, Serenity Springs Recovery Center, Brian Layman Financial, Dakine, Costa Del Mar, Red Dog Surf Shop, Kembali Board Shack, and Clancy’s Cantina

Sponsors: Cigar City Brewing, Da Kine Poke Bowls (Orlando), Taco City (Cocoa Beach), Nixon Watches, Waterways Travel, SDR Massage, Mangrove Bay Design, Biological Consulting Services, La Ponderosa Beach and Jungle Resort, Total Vision, Holistic Movements, Surfrider Foundation (Cocoa Beach and Flagler/Volusia Chapters), and Hampton Inn.

Among other notable partners, Florida Virtual School is a new supporter as well as renewing support from Serenity Springs Recovery Center.  Anson Stoner has also provided our graphic design, once again, for t-shirts, posters, web graphics, et al.  Brian Layman Financial is our partner for your investment needs.  Encyclopedia of Surfing provides our historical and archival needs.

Previously screened entries during 2017:

February 11, 2017:

  • Bezerke – Andrew Kaineder, 14 min.
  • Beauty and Chaos – James Skerritt, 7 min.
  • Riskey Business – Guy Mac, 25 min.
  • Fields of View – Cyrus Sutton, 10 min.
  • Distance Between Dreams – Ian Walsh and Rob Bruce, 62 min.

June 16th, 30th and July 7th:

  • A Road Through Galicia – Luke Pilbeam, 8 min.
  • Guide to Getting Girls – Victor Pakpour, 15 min.
  • Pedro’s Bay – Eddie Obrand, 27 min.
  • Masa – Dominic De Salis, 4 min.
  • Proximity – Taylor Steele, 56 min.

August 17th, 18th, and 19th:

  • Journey to the End of the Night – Patrick Trefz, 4 min.
  • Surfers’ Blood – Patrick Trefz, 56 min.
  • Vacation Island – Morgan Maassen, 5 min.
  • Broken Dreams – Sebastian Zanella – Gabriel Novis, 7 min.
  • Under an Arctic Sky – Chris Burkard and Ben Weiland, 40 min.

Florida Surf Film Festival mission: 

Florida Surf Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to invigorate surf culture and artistic appreciation by exhibiting contemporary documentary films with surfing as a focus from artists far and wide and operate featured-artist workshops in journalism, photography, and filmmaking.