Echo Beach World Premiere

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Newport Beach’s classic Lido theatre sold every last seat for the world premiere of the documentary {{{ECHO}}} BEACH during the 10th annual Newport Beach Film Festival underway now. In the tradition of DogTown and the Z Boys or Bustin’ Down the Door this retrospective look back at the cultural phenomenon of Echo Beach was met with ravenous fans and endless applause.

Echo Beach is insider speak for the four city blocks of beach that make up the last stretch of sand in Newport’s north west jetty area between 52nd and 56th street groins. The films’ focus is on the early 1980’s era of high performance surfing and entrepreneurship that would eventually establish Orange County as the focal point for the growing surf industry. The handful color characters that comprise the Echo Beach crew were all on hand this night to celebrate including Quiksilver founder Bob McKnight, Danny Kwock, John Gothard, Preston Murray, and film maker Jeff Parker. They were supported by a large entourage of friends and family along with the film’s narrator, and fellow Echo Beach alumni Mark McGrath. The line literally wrapped around the theatre and the red carpet positioned underneath the theatre marquis brought a legitimizing feeling to a scene that always lacked credibility.

That specific lack of credibility was much of the films focus. Producer/filmer/writer Stefan Jermias took on the job of explaining the importance of the Echo Beach crew and outlining their subtle, but incredibly important contribution to todays surf industry. After a short history lesson on the Newport Beach landscape the film quickly paints a picture of a young group of disenfranchised teenage kids intent on throwing their lives away. but doing it with style. These teen visionaries blended genres like punk and early break dancing with rockabilly and dance hall to produce unique looks and stylish flair. Always in front of the camera they learned fast that they didn’t need surf contests to legitimize them, they had the attention of the budding surf magazine industry and the milked it for all it was worth.

By the time they were done these four friends; Kwock, Gothard, Murray and Parker had all landed cover shots and all scored great industry jobs that in many cases would last a lifetime. While the film did an amazing job telling a complex story, it may have lacked a bit in telling the story of some of the supporting cast members, but all in all Echo Beach is a huge success. Film makers Stefan Jeramias and Jeff Parker employed the same DIY strategy as the original Echo Beach crew and built a masterpiece from scratch.

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