New Smyrna Beach, FL – The fourth and final event of the 2023 Florida Surf Film Festival, presented by Monster Energy wrapped last weekend, and we are excited to announce the winners of this year’s awards. Celebrating ten-years of surf movies, we could not be prouder of our community, genuine fellowship, and good times spilling over from the past decade. Bringing together fans from both sides of the inlet and all directions in Florida, and beyond. Filmmakers from Australia, South Africa, Portugal, France, California, and Hawaii attended the 2023 festival, along with 24 new Surf Stories podcasts guests from all over the world. We’re closing in on 60,000 unique listens for 2023.
We kicked off the year with Jay and Jessica Johnson in attendance with their film, The Impossible Wave, highlighting the 27-year journey of Fernando Aguerre to qualify surfing as an Olympic Sport. Englishman Mikey Corker also joined us to present his feature documentary Savage Waters, a stunning and intimate portrait of modern adventurers as they follow clues left in a 19th century treasure-hunter’s journal to find and ride a mythical wave in some of the most dangerous waters of the Atlantic. Mikey and producer Ghislaine Couvillat’s (Whipped Sea productions) work was truly amazing, and they took home the hardware winning Best Documentary – Feature and Best Soundtrack – Feature.
In June, we hosted the Taylor Steele Filmmaking Residency for the week leading up to our annual Father’s Day weekend of movies, including a Kelly Slater drop-in. Darieus Legg brought his infectious stoke and smile to the festival and took home the coveted Viewers’ Choice – Short for Stoker Machine. Maddie Meddings and Lucy Small’s film, Yama, profiled a pioneering group of Ghanaian female surfers and skateboarders, earning Best Documentary – Short. Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Maassen reeled in yet another Best Cinematography – Short for his profile film Malia, starring Malia Manuel, and James Kates and Shaun Manners directed and edited the Joe G., Steven Douglas, and Beren Hall (Globe) produced Cult of Freedom – The Shaun Part, capturing Best Surf Film – Short and Best Soundtrack – Short.
Lisa Andersen, 4X World Champion from Ormond Beach and FSFF board member, and CJ Hobgood, 2001 World Champion, helped us wrap up the year with two sold-out nights in the outdoor amphitheater at Atlantic Center for the Arts with filmmakers Matty Hannon and Guy Williment in attendance representing their respective works, The Road to Patagonia and Corners of the Earth – Kamchatka. Matty’s travel doc/love story/surf adventure film was rewarded with the coveted Viewers’ Choice – Feature, while Spencer Frost and Guy Williment’s stunning, Russian cold-water exploration film earned Best Surf Film – Feature and Best Cinematography – Feature. French filmmaker Aurelien Bacquet was also in attendance with his beautiful short film A14 on the Paris surf scene.
We can’t begin to express how grateful we are to all the filmmakers, fans, juries, sponsors, and board members who support the festival and have done so now for a decade. Rewarding doesn’t begin to describe it, and we are so excited to set course for another 10 years. YEW!
Here are all the winners for the 2023 festival year:
Best Documentary – Short: Yama, Lucy Small and Maddie Meddings
Best Surf Movie – Short: Cult of Freedom – The Shaun Part, Joe G
Best Cinematography – Short: Malia by Morgan Maassen
Best Soundtrack – Short: Cult of Freedom – The Shaun Part, Joe G
Viewers’ Choice – Short: Stoker Machine, Darieus Legg
Best Documentary – Feature: Savage Waters, Whipped Sea – Mikey Corker
Best Surf Movie – Feature: Corners of the Earth – Kamchatka, Guy Williment and Spencer Frost
Best Cinematography – Feature: Corners of the Earth Kamchatka by Guy Williment and Spencer Frost
Best Soundtrack – Feature: Savage Waters, Whipped Sea – Mikey Corker
Viewers’ Choice – Feature: The Road to Patagonia by Matty Hannon
It’s been an incredible year, and there’s no way to thank all the producers, directors, cinematographers, and editors that put their hard work into these projects. Their stories are the ones we want to hear. Adam Steckley constructed our 2023 awards from felled Floridian trees, allowing our winners to take home a piece of Florida in their awards.
We recognize the difference between Best Documentary and Best Surf Movie. Those who approach the artform by documenting character, locale, etc. with personal interviews, historical footage, and anecdotal clips were in competition for Best Documentary, and those movies focusing on the high performance, action-driven sequences competed for Best Surf Movie. This award will be extended to short films as well.
Florida Surf Film Festival’s jury, comprised of twelve individuals with journalistic, cultural, and/or experiential factors will determine recognition. Juries include: Feature Films – Matt Warshaw, Scott Hulet, Matt George, Chas Smith, David Scales, Keith Malloy, Lauren Hill, and Ira Opper. Short Films – Marcus Sanders, Takuji Masuda, Matthew Shaw, Ashton Goggans, Bruce Reynolds, Brad Moody, and Joe Turpel.
We are proud to have Monster Energy serve as our presenting sponsor again for this year’s festival, providing travel and lodging for the filmmakers who attend the festival.
Podcast Sponsor: Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation
Principal Sponsors: State of Florida Division of Arts and Culture, Volusia County, Roark, YETI, Sun Bum, Wagner Vasileros – aka The Lawyer Dude, Anson Stoner, Globe Brand Footwear, and Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Major Sponsors: Persimmon Hollow, Cronin Surfboards, Florida Virtual School, Brian Layman Wealth Management, Cap’n Lu’s – A Health Food Store for Pets, Red Dog Surf Shop, Kembali Board Shack, Café Verde, and Clancy’s Cantina
NSB Sponsors: Flaunt Electric Bicycles, Scott Yurchison Real Estate, Daytona Climbing Company, Dragon Alliance, LunDev Homes, Nixon, Mangrove Bay Design, Biological Consulting Services, Dr. Phil Stephens at MyEyeDr, Funxion IT, Pura Vida Bracelets, Beachside Tavern, Solento Organic Tequila, Dr. Matt Smith at Natural Health Practices, Daytona Drywall and Plaster, White Claw, Kula Yoga, Magnolia Acres, and Surfrider Foundation Flagler/Volusia.
Media Partnerships include: Surfline, The Surfer’s Journal, Surf Splendor Podcast Network, Beach Grit, The SurfNetwork, American Surf Magazine, and Encyclopedia of Surfing.
Encyclopedia of Surfing provides our historical and archival needs.