San Diego Hosts Its First International Surf Film Festival

San Diego Surf Film Festival celebrates art of surf cinema, gives independent filmmakers a venue

International filmmakers, surfers, artists and ocean buffs alike will gather in San Diego May 11-13, 2012 for the first ever San Diego Surf Film Festival (SDSFF). The inaugural event — which is slated to screen 12 feature-length films and 20 short films centered around surfing — will be held at Bird's Surf Shed in San Diego, a world famous restored quonset hut filled with an impressive collection of historically significant surfboards and artifacts. The names of the films to be shown will be announced April 14.

The three-day event, which will kick off with a VIP party on May 10, will also feature surf-related art and photography by local artists. Since San Diego is synonymous with surfing, the City of San Diego will present the San Diego Surf Film Festival with a proclamation on the opening night, Friday, May 11.

The SDSFF will be a platform for independent filmmakers from around the world to showcase their talents. This will truly be an international event celebrating surf cultures from around the world.
"This festival is all about promoting and congratulating the individuals who create surf cinema simply out of passion," said La Jolla native, bodysurfer and filmmaker Pierce Kavanagh, who, along with his wife Petra and friend Ed Lewis created the festival.

"A lot of our friends are independent surf filmmakers and we started to notice that it was becoming harder and harder to make surf films as an independent art form. The motivation of the film festival is to help support the independent filmmaker, give them promotional opportunities, help place them into distribution deals and get the public behind them. Doing this will allow them to get their freedom back and ultimately we will have better films because of it."

To Kavanagh, San Diego and Bird's Surf Shed are the perfect venues for the festival. After all, the San Diego surfing community has had a major influence on the history and development of surfing through its unique surfboard designers and remarkable surfers. San Diego may not be the birthplace of surfing, but there is no denying the contributions and innovations that this beautiful city and its ocean loving community have provided to the surfing world. The San Diego surfing timeline consists of such revered names as Bob Simmons, Carl Ekstrom, Larry Gordon, Butch Van Artsdalen, Skip Frye, Mike Diffenderfer, Bob Hansen, Pat Curren, Bill Caster, Steve Pendarvis, Mike Hynson, Dale Dobson, Rusty Preisendorfer, Joe Roper, and Hank Warner, to name a few.

"Intertwine this amazing surf history with 75 miles of diverse coastline, a new crop of creative board designers and an incredibly deep talent pool, and you soon realize San Diego simply lives and breathes everything that is wave riding," Kavanagh said.

The main goal of the San Diego Surf Film Festival is to bring the entire global surfing community together on a grassroots level.
"This is the main reason why we are going to put a twist on the competitive film festival concept. We don't want this to be a popularity contest, or a way to promote a particular brand so we are actually letting the filmmakers themselves decide on the awards" Kavanagh said. "Surf Films are one of the most important mediums we have to honor our most beloved pastime and lifestyle. We want this to be a time to come together, enjoy each other's company and be inspired by the works of art that these artists and filmmakers worked so hard to bring to life."

For more information on the San Diego Surf Film Festival please visit


Other Links:
Vimeo promo video:
SDSFF promo:
Flickr photos:
Bird's Surf Shed:
Surf media history:

Media Contacts:

Andrea Siedsma
Cell: 760.840.0494

Liz Bradshaw
Cell: 858.405.4589