Juries

Feature Documentary Jury:

TAYLOR STEELE–Filmmaker

Named one of surfing’s “Ten Most Influential People” by Surfer Magazine, director Taylor Steele’s two decades of experience and 25 award-winning films continue to challenge and redefine the ways we see, think about and experience the art of surfing.

Steele’s breakthrough films MomentumCampaign and Loose Change of the ’90s established The Momentum Generation, a close-knit collection of progressive surfers including Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and Shane Dorian, who have each proceeded to redefine the limits of modern surfing. Over the past decade, Steele’s films have continued to pioneer the outer limits of the genre, with epic travelogues like Sipping Jetstreams and Castles in the Sky, eclectic profiles like The Drifter and Missing, and social experiments like Innersection and This Time Tomorrow. “I never want to repeat myself,” says Steele, “so each project I try to push to another level. Something that scares me just a little.”  Photo: Patrick Ruddy

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.  Photo: Patrick Ruddy

KEITH MALLOY–Filmmaker, Surfer

Keith’s late father pushed him into his first wave at age four in Ventura County where he surfed until moving to Hawaii in his late teens. Keith surfed on the US National team as an amateur and qualified for the world tour at age twenty-six.  He made the decision not to compete after an injury and went back to free surfing, traveling, and big wave riding.  He was featured in numerous films and magazines including the cover of Surfer and Surfing seven times.  His outdoor exploits include climbing the North American Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite, California.  He also finished second place finish in the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard Race and was a finalist at the Pipeline Bodysurf Contest.  Keith has directed two feature films including the award-winning Come Hell or High Water and Fishpeople, winner of the 2017 Florida Surf Film Festival Viewer’s Choice – Feature award, among others.

Like his brothers, Keith is a master of all forms of waveriding. Whether it’s a gun, a thruster, or a pair of swim fins, his approach speaks of a lifelong commitment to the sea. After years of surfing in front of the lens, he recently stepped behind the scenes to direct the bodysurf film Come Hell or High Water. He lives in California with his family.  Photo:  Patrick Ruddy

DAVID SCALES–Podcaster

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

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 also wrote and directed TROUBLE: The Lisa Andersen Story, winner of the Viewers’ Choice Award in 2018.

LAUREN HILL–Filmmaker, Surfer

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.

NATHAN MYERS–Filmmaker, Editor

Nathan Myers is Editor of The Surfers Journal. He was formerly editor of Surfing Magazine and lead content creator at Surfline, as well as an independent filmmaker (InnersectionHere & NowSe7en SignsThe More Things Change) and writer/producer for director Taylor Steele on projects including The DrifterCastles in the Sky, the award winning Proximity.

He continues to make films and loves the surf film festival culture. He was in Bali for the last ten years, but recently relocated back to California.

IRA OPPER–Filmmaker, Executive Producer, Network Tycoon

Ira is an Emmy Award-winning surf television and film producer and director.  He founded The SurfNetwork in 2008, amassing the largest on-demand surf video database with platforms extending from your phone to your AppleTV, etc.  He lives in Solana Beach, CA.  Photo:  Patrick Ruddy

Short Documentary Jury

Takuji Masuda–Filmmaker


Takuji Masuda (47), winner of the Florida Surf Film Festival 2017 Best Documentary – Feature for BUNKER77, is a Japanese Longboard champion from Kamakura known for his committed nose riding at Pipeline.  He is also the former publisher of a beach culture, trilingual magazine Super X Media and has curated art shows around the world. Masuda has served on the boards of directors of World Surf League and Pepperdine University, his alma mater, from which he received a bachelor of the arts in 1993 and Master in Fine Arts in 2017. He is also the head coach of Pepperdine University’s esteemed surf team. Masuda’s critically-acclaimed, award-winning documentary film, BUNKER77, is streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime.

Photo:  Patrick Ruddy

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.

SCOTT HULET–Writer, Editor

With 25 years in the pit, Scott Hulet is the Creative Director at The Surfer’s Journal and the longest-serving chief editor in the history of surf magazines. Originally from the borderlands of San Diego, Hulet spends his days overseeing creative at The Surfer’s Journal, fishing and surfing off southern California and Mexico, and bouncing a lovely new granddaughter on his knee.  Photo: Patrick Ruddy

Ashton Goggans–Writer, Editor, Surfer

Ashton is the Editor in Chief of StabHe’s written features and directed films for Surfer, Bon Apetit, The Surfer’s Journal, The New York Times/Herald-Tribune, Vice, and n+1, held marketing positions at GoPro, Old Navy, and Sightglass, founded The Compound in Sarasota, Florida, and attended the New School, in New York City, for Non-Fiction Creative Writing, where he studied under Mark Greif, Margo Jefferson, Chris Hondros, Christopher Hitchens, and Andrew Meier

Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Ashton gleaned his appreciation for riding waves and telling stories from his father, Mark, a mailman/surfer who lived through the culture’s adventurous ’70s to tell some tales, and who as a proud second-generation Post Man enjoys the gift for gab as well as an uncanny ability to Listen. When not cracking the whip in Stab‘s Los Angeles office producing surfing’s most high profile projects, Ashton is chasing waves up and down the California coast in his beloved Ford F-150 freedom bird, Rocinante, on international strikes with his younger brother, Jack, or sourcing vintage American artifacts with his partner, Samantha.  Photo:  Patrick Ruddy

JOE TURPEL–Surf Commentator for WSL

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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.

DAYLA SOUL-Filmmaker

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!

Matt Shaw-Writer, Journalist, Editor

Delmarva born, North Florida-bred writer and journalist, Matthew Shaw, first gained an appreciation for surfing’s unconventional lineage through his late-father’s tales of psychedelic surf exploits during the mid-70s, post-shortboard revolution, pre-competitive surf-boom era. After earning a post-graduate degree in History from the University of North Florida and a decade on the West coast spent mostly in San Francisco’s quirky, left field Ocean Beach surf community, Shaw’s writing career began in earnest as a reporter for, then editor of an award winning alternative newsweekly in Jacksonville, FL, Folio Weekly, where he did his share of muckraking, covering everything from shady development projects to metropolitan politics to the area’s emerging arts and music scenes. Since joining the team at SURFER Magazine in 2015, Shaw’s traveled the globe as a features writer for the magazine, chronicling contemporary surfdom through profiles and travelogues.

He’s currently serving as Editor in Chief of North Florida culture glossy, Void Magazine, and continues to report on national stories for The New York Times, while penning pieces for SURFER and The Surfer’s Journal. Aside from his work as a writer, Shaw tours with the Jacksonville-based, psychedelic, garage-surf trio, The Mothers Gooses. He lives in Atlantic Beach with his wife, Samantha–a Public Defender with the 4th Judicial Circuit.

JUSTIN PURSER-Filmmaker

Born & raised in Florida, Justin started out at a very young age shooting surf films for international brands such as Quiksilver, Billabong, & Rusty with iconic professional surfers such as the Hobgood brothers and Kelly Slater.  After moving to Los Angeles, he began working at Academy Award winning production companies A Band Apart and Anonymous Content where he was able to learn the directing process from the world’s top directors. He grew his role into writing music video treatments for directors on music videos such as Beyonce “Single Ladies”, Beyonce and Shakira “Beautiful Liar”, Pink “Nobody Knows”, etc. He went on to write Beyonce’s live performances for the 2011 Grammy Awards and her appearance on the final Oprah Winfrey show.  Justin also co-produced The Shooter Series and Richard Brown (True Detective) where he directed interviews with Jay Z, Mark Wahlberg, and Outkast.

Justin was one of the original creators and directors of Maker Studios (acquired by Walt Disney Corp.) that pioneered the Multi Channel Network YouTube centric companies of today. He conceptualized and directed one of Maker’s first ever YouTube talent driven branded campaign (Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Las Vegas) creating the model on how brands advertise utilizing YouTube & influencers. He is the only director to concept and direct a brand sponsored video (Cosmopolitan Magazine & Nivea) to take number one on the Ad Age Viral Charts with no Advertising Agency involvement beating out top brands such as Nike, Pepsi, & Toyota. He has also directed music videos for major record labels and companies such as Interscope, Warner Bros, Capitol, Apple Music, & Sony; for artists Eva Simmons, Corey Taylor, Jason Derulo, A Fine Frenzy, Bret Michaels, The Midi Mafia, Miggs starring Lindsay Lohan, Mickey Avalon, Taproot, along with a fun little PSA for To Write Love On Her Arms with Joaquin Phoenix, Miley Cyrus, & Liv Tyler.

SCOTTY SHERIN–Photographer

Scotty is a Photographer, Writer, and the Associate Editor of SBC Surf Magazine. He subsidized his early career in surf photography through bartending. It was during this stint of cocktailing that Scotty was offered an internship at Surfing Magazine. Not one to pass up an opportunity, Scotty loaded up his truck and made the transcontinental crossing from Halifax, Nova Scotia to San Clemente, California. Scotty has since returned home to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, where he continues to focus on both editorial and commercial work for brands like Smith, YETI, Rusty, and Lululemon.

Former Jurors

DEREK HYND–Surfer, Journalist

Feature documentary filmmakers will have their new work judged by the person Steve Pezman described in 2015 as “the best surfer to ever ride a board.”  Derek was a top ten ASP competitive surfer, first ASP surfing coach (Mark Occhilupo), annually reviewed for SURFER the top 44 surfers for each new year, and developed The Search campaign for Rip Curl, featuring one of our other favorite surfers of all time. Matt Warshaw, in the Encyclopedia of Surfing, writes, “[Derek] helped launch the sport’s ‘retro’ movement, and in the late ’00s he became the leading proponent of finless surfing, or “free friction” as he preferred to call it.”  His list of credits includes Sultans of Speed (1987), Litmus (1997), and Glass Love (2003).  One of our favorite cameos includes The 5th Symphony Document.

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.

David Carson–Graphic Designer, Art Director, Surfer

Newsweek Magazine said David Carson “changed the public face of graphic design,” while the Smithsonian Institute called Carson “one of America’s most important artists.” Apple named him one of two of the most influential graphic designers in 30 years and called him “a pioneer with profound impact.” David Carson worked as art director/graphic designer for Quiksilver, Rusty, Gary Linden Surfboards, Surfing Magazine’s “Exploration” issue, The Surfers JournalSurf PortugalSurf in RicoThe Surfer’s Path, San Sebastian Surf Film Festival, Magicseaweed, C Skins Wetsuits, Monster ChildrenWhat Youth, Surfrider Foundation, Quiksilver Pro NYC & France, Album Surfboards… He started his surf career as a team member for Con Surfboards via Claude Codgen, and later was a top-ranked pro in California’s 4A Pro Division, had a signature fin through Rainbow Fins, and a signature model through Infinity Surfboards.  Beside winning the college all-stars event in Baja California at K55 representing SDSU, David was also one of 2 amateurs invited from the USA to compete in the Smirnoff Pro-Am at Sunset Beach, Hawaii (18 were invited from around the world). David is an east coaster at heart who still feels most connected to Cocoa Beach. David spent four years in Cocoa Beach, three in Folly Beach, SC, and seven in New York City. He has been involved with the Kill the Fin Trade to stop the shark finning campaign in Australia. He’s also an inductee of the 2018 Class of East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.

Christian Beamish–Writer, Surfer

BeamBioPic 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.

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 ExpectationsHave 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 JournalThe 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.

Chad Campbell – Filmmaker, Tavarua Boatman

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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.

RICHIE FITZGERALD–Big Wave Surfer, Filmmaker

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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.

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.

Ben Mondy–Writer, Editor, Surfer

BEN MONDY-SPARKES

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.

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.

LEWIS SAMUELS–Writer, Editor, Journalist

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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.

MATT PRUETT–Writer, Editor, Surfer

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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 SurfingSurfer, 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.