Coming to you live from Augies Coffee in DT Claremont, CA. Still day dreaming about the epic night at the 8th Annual Save the Waves Film Festival Friday night. This event was held at Farm League offices in Venice Beach. First time being held in Venice, the turn out was excellent. With the attendance close to 100, the small trendy lot of Farm League’s offices started to feel like one big, happy family.
Save the Waves mission is to protect the coastal ecosystems around the world through innovative strategies in partnership with local communities. Utilizing a unique combination of protected areas, economics, and direct action, Save The Waves partners with locals to preserve their coastal resources and in turn strengthen their communities. More importantly, these shore breaking ecosystems provide epic surf around the world. When we harm these ecosystems we end up harming ourselves, and of course, ruining the surf.
All the proceeds from the Save the Wave Film Festival goes towards the foundation and directly benefits some of our favorite surf spots around the world. What I loved about this event is that Save the Waves wasn’t just talk, they did the walk when it came to sustainability by not using single use plastic cups at their cash bar. Instead, they encouraged you to bring your own reusable cup, or for $10 you could buy a customized Save the Wave Kleen Kanteen cup (event had awesome sponsors like Kleen Kanteen, Cliff Bar, GoPro, Patagonia) with a free beer included. Don’t tempt me with a good time!
The beginning of the festival started off with 15 short films, click here to see the list. They were eye catching, beautiful pieces of work that brought so much love and unity to the people watching. I got the chills as I heard the cheers from the crowd encouraging the voices on the screen. “Creators: Leah Dawson” by dir The Inertia featured creative ambassador of women’s surfing, Leah Dawson. Leah shared that taking care of the ocean is just more than protecting our earth. It is protecting the place where she feels most empowered, “My biggest compliment is not that I surf like a man, but that I surf like a woman,” says Leah. “If someone watches me ride a wave, I want them at the end of it to know that I’m in love with the ocean.” Leah discusses how surfing and women can be so powerful if we choose not to use it to highlight our sexuality, but to shine a spotlight on our strengths as women in which we can compliment the surf culture.
As Leah spoke, I heard cheers and whistles of encouragement from the men in the crowd as they welcomed the empowerment. Just typing this I’m getting the goose bumps. In such a time of divide in our country, it was a very powerful moment of unity.
Many of the films preached that you don’t have to be a sponsored surfer to go out and catch a wave. It’s more about the love for the sport and everything the ocean gives you. The films were so much more than the top dogs bragging about their glory list of surf accomplishments, but encouraging the average Joe to get out there and drop in. I believe there is a mind shift happening in some parts of the surf culture. Instead of becoming territorial over the surf spots and keeping it for the exclusive elite, I observed that the culture is now finding value in sharing their wave. People are becoming so disconnected from the outdoors. Perhaps by changing the tone and encouraging people to join them (surf culture) in their love of the sport, then maybe more people will start caring about our oceans and want to act on it.
A couple favorites I must mention (via savethewaves.org):
“Malloy Bros.” / dir Farm League
Following in the footsteps of their father, the Malloy brothers have been blazing trails off the beaten path since before they knew how to stand up on a surfboard. Their love of adventure has brought them to remote beaches all over the globe, earned them spots at the top of the competitive surfing world, and fueled their endless exploration. Can I be part of the Malloy Family?
“Dream Day” / dir Leo Hoorn
What would it feel like to begin your day in fresh powder and end it in the briny Pacific on the perfect sunset wave? It would probably feel like a dream. Four athletes set out to see if they could make that dream a reality – starting out in the Sierra backcountry, then rock climbing, cruising down Mt. Tam on mountain bikes, and capping it off with a surf at Stinson Beach. Amazing adventures are possible when you get outside and dream big. This was basically a huge summary of what my dream day would look like.
“Facing Ocean Plastic in Jamaica” / dir Parley
In March 2016, Parley kicked off a collaboration with TBA21 and Alligator Head Foundation to bring the Parley A.I.R. Strategy to Jamaica. The goal: end ocean plastic pollution through the power of art, community, and sports. If you haven’t already, you must check out Parley’s website and all the amazing ocean conservation projects they are doing around the world.
The intermission included live music, libations, and friend making in the eclectic group of surfers, environmentalist, hipsters, and party people.
The night ended with two feature films (via savethewaves.org):
“The More Things Change” / dir Nathan Myers
Gerry Lopez first surfed Uluwatu in 1974. The fabled Balinese wave was pristine, magical, and empty. Gerry returned to Uluwatu 40 years later to find it bustling, developed, and a different scene. After a week of surfing and yoga, however, Gerry tapped into a spirit of place that will endure.
“Las Olas” / dir Joel Sharpe
Las Olas explores what it means to be a surfer. Through the telling of six stories from local surfers, we journey through Central America and discover the joy of surfing. For such a simple act of sliding over a wave, whole lives and landscapes change. Is surfing more than just a sport?
All and all, an epic night with awesome people. Want to feel more connected to our oceans? Check out any of my links above to see what you can do to defend one of our most mysterious and beautiful beings on our planet, our oceans.
Now go find the nearest body of water, drop in, and fall in love all over again.