Mustang Daily Staff Report
Gidget and Duke “Big Kahuna” may not be ruling California’s surf scene anymore, but surf enthusiasts from past and present can still shoot the curl Thursday at the SLO International Film Festival’s 8th annual “Surf Nite” at Fremont Theatre.
First on screen will be director Leslie Iwerks‘ “The Ride,” winner of the XDance Best Film in 2004. The film chronicles a group of surfers’ journey tracking a big swell in Maui and their ultimate attempts to surf a massive, 30- to 50-foot wave.
And it’s not just any old surfers in the 45-minute documentary. Iwerks captured Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Peter Mel, Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones boards-in-hand, planning their epic rides.
While Iwerks said “any surf film starring big-wave surfers is going to be compelling right out the gate,” this film gives a behind-the-scenes perspective on some of the most prominent people in the surf industry, documenting how they work together with one common goal: big wave surfing.
“These guys — nothing stops them,” Iwerks said. “At the end of the day, seeing the physical strength, courage and fearlessness of these guys who ride these big waves is pretty incredible.”
Iwerks will also receive the SLO Film Festival Spotlight Award for her work with documentaries, one of which earned her an Academy Award nomination.
“I’m honored to receive (the award),” Iwerks said. “Documentaries are a lot of fun and have huge potential to make a difference.”
Following “One Ride,” Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones will return to the screen for “Storm Surfers 3-D,” which takes the audience to some seriously big waves in the Southern Ocean.
Business administration junior and Cal Poly surf team president Justin Barr called both Carroll and Clarke-Jones “crazy, big wave surfers.”
“They are not specialized to just surfing big or small waves but can rip in any conditions,” Barr said. “Both are legends … they can rip no matter what.”
Barr, who plans to go to “Surf Nite,” said the event “seems like a really great way to support the films and meet more of the surfing community here in San Luis Obispo.”
Barr also likes how relatable the documentaries are to the sport itself, he said.
“They portray the experiences every surfer has felt and continue to feel about surfing,” Barr said. “Also, it is a cool way to see all the waves and places they get to travel to because it influences where I want to travel next.”
The evening will also feature a Q&A session after each film.
Tickets to “Surf Nite” can be purchased at www.slofilmfest.org for $22, or $17 with student ID.
Allison Montroy contributed to this staff report.