Feature Documentary Jury
PROFILE: SAM GEORGE–Filmmaker, Editor, Surfer
As both a former senior editor for Surfing Magazine and former editor-in-chief of SURFER Magazine, Sam George, 60, has been writing about the sport for over 33 years and is acknowledged as one of the sport’s leading experts. George has written and/or directed a number of acclaimed surfing documentaries, including the 2004 Sundance Film Festival official selection Riding Giants and other films such as Pipeline Masters, The Lost Wave: An African Surf Story, and Hollywood Don’t Surf, which premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
Sam’s latest documentary Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and screened as the premier episode of ESPN’s prestigious “30 for 30” documentary series. It went on to win a 2014 Emmy Award as part of that series.
Sam has written and edited more than half a dozen books on the subject of surfing, including Surfing: A Way Of Life (1992), Surfing (1994), Tom Blake: Surfing 1922-1932, The Perfect Day: 40 Years of SURFER Magazine(2001 Surf Life (2003). SURFER 50 (2010) and The Big Juice (2011)
One of the sport’s most well-traveled surfers, Sam has explored the coastlines of over 40 countries, riding waves on every continent save Antarctica. On one of his latest adventures, he rode waves near the Arctic Circle on the north coast of Iceland.
A former professional competitor, Sam is also one of the pioneers of stand-up paddle surfing and is currently Senior Editor at SUP Magazine. He still competes in various stand-up paddle surf races, accruing a number of age group victories.
PROFILE: Scott Hulet–Writer, Editor
With 25 years in the pit, Scott Hulet is the longest-serving chief editor in the history of surf magazines. Originally from the borderlands of San Diego, Hulet spends his days helming The Surfer’s Journal, fishing and surfing off southern California and Mexico, and bouncing a lovely new granddaughter on his knee.
PROFILE: Christian Beamish–Writer, Surfer
Christian was born in Laguna Beach, California in the late 60’s and grew up in neighboring Newport Beach. Through the mid-70’s and 80’s, Christian was shaped by two distinct ethos of the Southern California beach culture: the “classic” waterman culture akin to legends such as Pat Curren, Buzzy Trent, and Peter Cole; and the “progressive” movement coming out of Australia and Hawaii and embodied by the likes of Rabbit, Cheyene, and MR.
He began shaping surfboards while attending college in Santa Cruz in the mid-90’s focusing on low-rocker wider outlines and really exploring the high performance aspects of various single fin shapes. After earning an M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, Christian went to work as the Associate Editor at The Surfer’s Journal.
While working at The Journal, Christian began experimenting with keel fin shapes and built an 18-foot Shetland Isle beach boat in his garage; a boat he would later journey down the Pacific Baja coast on under power of sail and oar in search of adventure and surf.
Christian now lives in Carpinteria, California, with his wife, Natasha, daughter, Josephine, and son, Miles. He continues to shape surfboards, write magazine articles, and work on his 27-foot coastal cruising sailboat – Spirit Level.
PROFILE: JOE TURPEL–Surf Commentator for WSL
Joe Turpel started surfing on the South shore of Oahu, Hawaii. His dad, a former lifeguard, surfer and sailor began pushing him and his sister into waves on the weekends. When Joe turned 13, his family moved to Laguna Niguel, California where he joined the high school surf team. He later went to the University of California, Santa Barbara where he competed on the surf team and clinched a national title. While studying Communications and Dramatic Arts he interned at the ABC affiliate, KEYT, in the Newsroom and Sports department. After graduation, he got his first announcing job working for the National Scholastic Surfing Association, and a year later in 2007 he delivered his first broadcast in Brazil. Turpel is entering his fifth year calling play by play for the WCT. He has also been the play-by-play voice for the Billabong Pipe Masters, Vans Triple Crown, Rip Curl Search Events and the Volcom Pipe Pro amongst others. Turpel has published work with Surfing Magazine and worked as the Associate Editor at Surfline.
PROFILE: MATT PRUETT–Writer, Editor, Surfer
Matt Pruett has spent the last 19 years imbedded in the flaky scalp of surf journalism like a Stumpy Point deer tick. Best known for his tenure as editor of Eastern Surf Magazine (2001-09), he also co-authored one book that nobody read (Wavescape), directed one surf movie that nobody watched (Always Right), and has contributed to a bunch of international surf magazines that nobody buys anymore (including Surfing, Surfer, Transworld Surf, Stab, The Surfer’s Journal, Japan Surfin’ Life, Surf Europe and Carve). These days, he works as a Senior Writer/Editor for the boss-dog website Surfline.com from his Outer Banks enclave, where viewing, studying and critiquing surf videos (aka “films”) is a major part of his daily ritual. He surfs a lot, but has never touched a GoPro.
PROFILE: Ben Mondy–Writer, Editor, Surfer
Ben Mondy has turned 40, but looks significantly older. He grew up in Redhead, a beach in Newcastle, Australia and decided not to use his Economics Degree after becoming Deputy Editor for Tracks magazine, a post he held from from 2000-2006. He moved to the UK in 2006 to become a partner in All Conditions Media, a content and communications agency and continued to write for most of the world’s biggest surf publications including Surfer, Surfing, Surfer’s Journal, Surfline and Tracks among others. In 2011 he relcoated to Biarritz, taking his disastrous French and love of heaving beachie barrels to the next level. In France he has continued to write for a range of editorial platforms as well as for various action sports brands and also produced a couple of video series for EpicTV among others. He has a wife, two kids and and ongoing passion for the ocean and those that enter it.
PROFILE: Chad Campbell – Filmmaker, Tavarua Boatman
Chad Campbell is an award-winning filmmaker from Hawaii whose films include Surfer Magazine Video of the Year The 5th Symphony Document and the Shane Dorian biopic The Blueprint. He is also the founder and chief organizer of the Kona Surf Film Festival, which is in its 12th year. In addition to film work, he spends time as a Tavarua boatman.
Short Documentary Jury
PROFILE: MATT WARSHAW–Writer, Historian
Matt Warshaw, former editor of SURFER, author of The History of Surfing, Founder of The Encyclopedia of Surfing, lives in Seattle with his wife and son.
PROFILE: Charlie “Chas” Smith–Writer, Journalist, Filmmaker
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.
PROFILE: LEWIS SAMUELS–Writer, Editor, Surfer
Lewis Samuels is a Senior Writer for Surfer Magazine, best known for his caustic wit and unflinching honesty. Samuels gained early recognition for creating Surfline’s Power Rankings and creating Postsurf.com. In search of the story, Samuels has chased swells to Sumatra and Ireland, dodged great white sharks, shadowed Kelly Slater on the path to an 11th world title, shot automatic weapons with Hawaiian gangsters, surfed Maverick’s with the world’s best big wave surfers, driven one top-10 surfer to seek therapy, and weathered threats from MMA fighters, stalkers, professional surfers, and publicly traded surf brands, who are accustomed to the surf media delivering advertorial content. Samuels’ articles have appeared in premier surf magazines in the US, Australia, England, France, Brazil, and Japan.
PROFILE: DAYLA SOUL-Filmmaker, Surfer
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!
PROFILE: MATT KECHELE–Surfer, Shaper, Innovator
Born and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Matt Kechele began pro surfing at 16 years old, innovating aerials and applying skateboard-style maneuvers to surfing. Matt traveled the ASP world tour for more than five years, all the while shaping his own surfboards. Matt was an early mentor and shaper for Kelly Slater, eleven-time World Champion, in his formidable years as a amateur surfer. Matt has represented the East Coast and US Surf Teams as a Coach at XGames, earning five Gold Medals. He is still very involved in surfing, building surfboards, coaching, working for Quiksilver, and promoting his new line of Freak Traction.
PROFILE: JAMIE BRISICK–Writer, Photographer, Director
Jamie Brisick is a writer, photographer, and director. He surfed on the ASP world tour from 1986 to 1991. He has since documented surf culture extensively. His books include We Approach Our Martinis With Such High Expectations, Have Board, Will Travel: The Definitive History of Surf, Skate, and Snow, and The Eighties at Echo Beach. His writings and photographs have appeared in The Surfer’s Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He was the editor of Surfing magazine from 1998-2000. In 2008 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. He lives in New York City.
PROFILE: MARCUS SANDERS–Writer, Editor
Marcus Sanders has been the editor of Surfline for more than a decade, which sounds like a really long time but has, in fact, gone by pretty quickly. His work has also appeared in various surf magazines and websites internationally. He worked on the Encyclopedia of Surfing with Matt Warshaw and helped adapt Dante’s Divine Comedy into modern english vernacular with Sandow Birk. He also learned how to surf in San Francisco, a silly proposition at best, and continues to live in the city with his wife and two daughters, despite the fact that Google is taking over the place and parking still sucks.
PROFILE: RICHIE FITZGERALD–Big Wave Surfer, Filmmaker
RICHIE FITZGERALD, the youngest of the Fitzgerald clan, was born and raised in Bundoran, County Donegal, which has become known as a world-class surfing destination largely due to Richie’s exploits as the undisputed face of Irish surfing.
Having represented Ireland at both World and European Championship levels, Richie chose to pursue a career in big wave exploration off the Irish coast. He faced the biggest surfing challenge of his life on the final day of filming WAVERIDERS surfing the biggest swell (60ft+) ever attempted off Ireland to become one of Europe’s most renowned big wave surfers.
WAVERIDERS has since gone on to win the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, the IFTA (Irish Film & Television Award) for best Film Documentary, the Surfers Poll and has now become the biggest grossing film/documentary in the history of film/documentaries throughout Ireland and the UK.
Richie has also owned and managed the North West Coast’s first and leading surf shop, Surfworld, since 1990. Richie, with his Australian wife, Briohny, now jointly own and manage one of Ireland’s largest surf businesses in the Northwest. Together they have opened 3 shops and 2 surf schools to become one of the most recognised names in the core Irish surfing industry.
Richie’s sponsors include Volkswagen, Billabong, Vans, and Northcore.
PROFILE: PAUL PREWITT–Filmmaker
Paul is the owner of Big Impact Films, Inc. out of Daytona Beach. He has over 30 years experience as a TV and video producer/director, cameraman, and freelancer. Paul began shooting photos of surfing in 1971, and shooting surf films in 16mm in 1983, specializing in water photography with credits in over 10 films. He distributed surf films on the East Coast for numerous filmmakers over 12 years, and published Sea Treks free surf magazine. His surf film from 1988, which he produced and photographed was called Atlantic Crossing, a 16mm surf film.
Current projects: Viva Cuba! cultural documentary, HOT CUBA TRAVEl, legal travel business to Cuba.