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Film, Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

What’s What: Drew Miller

July 6, 2012

Drew Miller is a 24 year old filmmaker, currently living in the Sunshine State. His most recent work is ‘What’s What’ (featured above). I was turned on to Drew’s work when I approached his collaborator, Eric Hires, for an interview. You can check out our interview with Eric here, and watch me pick Drew’s brain below.

When and where did you learn to surf?
I grew up in central Florida, in the small citrus town of Lake Wales. I made trips with neighborhood friends to Ft. Pierce Florida and surfed the North Jetty. The North Jetty is a great all around wave. In 2007 I moved to St. Augustine, and released my inner log demon.

What was your first board?
My first board was a 70’s style single fin, that I found in a friend’s basement. That kind of set the tone for the rest of my surfing career. I still love riding boards like that.

You’re a Florida boy…have you ever ventured up to the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest?
Ocean Beach in SF is as far North as I’ve surfed on the west coast. I paddled out in my 3.2 and froze my butt off….but the waves were great!

What’s unique about surfing in Florida?
The people. I rarely paddle out and encounter negativity. The water stays warm most of the year. We may not have the best waves in the world, but we spend a lot of time in the water.

When did you first get involved with film?
I’ve been shooting video since middle school. Its always been a passion of mine. I went to Flagler College in St. Augustine Florida, and studied Production. That’s when I started making movies that really got me excited. I was hooked from the beginning, and love it.

What’s it like working with Eric?
Eric is a man’s man. When I grow up I want to be more like him. He’s always down to get’r done.

Yeah I just said that…Because its true!

Tell us about working with Justin Quintal and Chad Doyle, on What’s What.
Justin is a freak. The waves were so crappy and he just went nuts. We’ve been collaborating on surfing shorts a lot lately and we both agree that we just want to document these sessions and create rad stuff.  Chad Doyle is my favorite surfer. He’s such a rad dude, and has one of the best styles on the east coast. Chad and his goony compadres are the guys behind the Peninsula Holding Company. They make really unique boards in Daytona Beach, FL. They’re some of the first guys I started shooting with, after moving to St. Augustine in 2007.

Outside of film & surfing, what are your other interests?
I really like watching movies. I usually watch at least one movie a day. Some might say I’m wasting my time, but I say I’m doing research.  I love thrifting and finding worthless treasures with my girlfriend, Lisa. That being said…surfing and video are pretty central to who I am. Hanging with Dustin Miller and Eric is always inspiring. We make a rad team.

What’s are your plans for 2012?
I just want to create. There are so many talented people in Florida, and I think video is a great platform for showing the world what the Florida kids are up to. Shooting is just too damn fun to stop.

Drew has over 50 short films on his Vimeo page. Get your ass over there, and check them out!  Hopefully we can get the Flagler Lions up to Washington sometime soon, to shoot some cold Northwest stoke. ;)

Film, Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

What’s What: Eric Hires

July 4, 2012

I contacted Eric for an interview, after running across his short film; What’s What. I cruised over to his Vimeo page, and realized that I’d seen his work before. California Haze, and Saturday San O are both 9 Plus mini-films, with a unique feel and original soundtracks. What’s What shares the same qualities.

Get to know Eric in our interview below…and check back later this week for What’s What: Part Deux…our follow up interview with Eric’s partner in creative crime; Drew Miller.

When and where did you learn to surf?
I dabbled with surfing in high school, but grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida where the waves are super inconsistent. I really started surfing when I moved to Saint Augustine to go to Flagler College in 2004. I think I surfed every day my first semester.

What was your first board?
A crappy 6’2 thruster I bought for $100.

You’re a Florida boy…have you ever ventured up to the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest?
Yes. I actually lived in Bend, Oregon for a few months at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. I was doing a lot of rock climbing up there at Smith Rock but made it out to the Oregon coast for some waves at Cape Lookout and Pacific City. This was in February and it was like 10 feet at 15 seconds. There was no one in the water at Cape Lookout and just my girlfriend on the beach. It was pretty sketchy being the only one out in giant surf at a place I’d never been. Not to mention the water was effing cold! I caught two waves and the current ripped me way down the beach, but it was pretty fun. Props to y’all that surf in that cold water year round.

What’s unique about surfing in Florida?
The waves are pretty hit or miss here, but you hardly ever have to wear rubber or deal with crowds. It is rarely agro in Saint Augustine and you know almost everyone in the line up. I spent a year and a half in San Diego and decided I like surfing in Florida WAY better. The vibe is super mellow.

When did you first get involved with film?
My senior year at Flagler College I started assisting my good friend Dustin Miller on shoots. Dustin shot and edited “Picaresque” and recently worked with Dane Reynolds to make “Thrills, Spills, and What Not”. He taught me everything I know (I studied Business in college) and gave me my first big break when he asked me to go Costa Rica to shoot water for “Picaresque”.

How did you and Drew meet, and start working together?
Drew and I met in school when we played on the same intramural soccer team (Flagler College intramural soccer champions 2008!). He interned for Dustin and I when he was a senior but then I moved out west for a couple years. Since I’ve been back this year we’ve just been hangin’ and making fun surf edits when we have nothing else going on.

Your most recent project is What’s What. Can you tell us a bit about it?
We had shot with Chad and Justin a couple weeks before when the waves were pretty good and made a short called “No Swimming or Surfing”. Justin lives and hour north in Jacksonville and Chad an hour south in Daytona, but they are dredging sand at Saint Augustine Beach and it has been making the waves really fun here so the dudes have been coming to town to surf and hang.

It was a Wednesday afternoon and they were both coming in town and the waves were pretty fun. I wanted to go surfing and have a bro sesh, but Drew suggested we shoot. So we did and scored some rad little moments.

That session made Justin and I late for the Wilco show that night, but it was worth it.

Outside of film & surfing, what are your other interests?
Climbing rocks. Traveling. Riding bikes. Music. Throwing horseshoes in the yard. Sandlot baseball. Building shit.

What’s on the menu for each of you in 2012?
I got to go on a trip to Chile with Dustin to shoot water for Craig Anderson’s new film at the end of 2011. We shot all super 16mm film, which is the best. It looks like I may go on a couple more trips for that film this year.

I also just shot my friends wedding on 16mm, so hoping to do some more of that to pay the bills. I’d love to keep making stuff with Drew and get paid for it…that’d be nice! How about a Stoke Harvester film? We’ve got ideas.

You can enjoy more of Eric’s work on his Vimeo Page. Eric & Drew are set to direct Stoke Harvester’s first feature film. In regards to the script…we’ve decided to go with Francis Ford Coppola. There was original talk of working with Woody Allen…but Francis promised we can use the logs from Apocalypse Now.

…Well that, and Eric & Drew love the smell of napalm in the morning.


Film, Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

The Sea of Possibility: Nicholas Damen

June 26, 2012

Nicholas Damen is a filmmaker, currently residing in Newcastle, Australia. My first glimpse of his work was a few months back, when a friend shared rangi with me.  Last week, Nicholas gave us The Sea of Possibility; a short film showcasing Jack Lynch…and a nice little point break on the coast of Tasmania.

When did you first get involved with film?
Around two or three years ago I decided to make a surf film with my good friend, Simon Treweek. The film is called Lucid. We had no idea what we were doing and what we were in for. You know that innocent excitement you get when you first come across an idea, not knowing all that is involved with something…but you launch ahead and learn along the way? Film making has been that exact experience for me.

Vimeo is a really powerful tool, not only for sharing your work, but also because of the feedback and comments. Being able to read what others think and see were your creation has ended up, is valuable information for someone who wants to create.

What was it like growing up, & surfing in Tasmania?
I grew up in Tasmania and moved to Newcastle in 2008… but I’m moving back to Tasmania now with my wife, as we’re expecting our first child. :)

Surfing in Tasmania is a very different experience.  I can say, you spend more time driving than surfing. If you’re into adventure, then this isn’t such a bad thing. The long car trips and bush walks often bring on good conversation about the session that’s about to take place.

Do you draw any inspiration from other filmmakers? If so, who?
I guess Taylor Steele and Kai Neville are inspiring people. They are able to make a living from film making. I’m an electrician and film is really a hobby for me so I’ve never been able to throw my whole self into it. I try not to watch to many surf related clips as I find an unrestraining urge to copy or just make my own version of someone-else’s work. I think it’s human nature to do that, and I guess we all do it.

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of clips that center around the custom motorcycle culture. I find these clips inspiring. It’s better in the wind is an amazing online clip that captures the free spirit of motorcycling. I guess it’s made me contemplate what the free spirit of surfing look like. Hopefully I can communicate this in Sally.

What can you tell us about Sally?
It’s still in production…but I guess basically it’s about travel, getting out and exploring…

Your project The Sea of Possibility, stars Jack Lynch. How do you know Jack?
An amazing photographer, Lindsay turner told me about him a while back. I organized to shoot with jack. From there we became mates.

Are there any specific surfers you have not worked with yet, that you would like to?
Mmmm I find it important to know the person your’e working with, and for them to respect and know you…so you can create something honest.

I’d love to shoot Dane Reynolds and Al Knost…I’ll prob never meet those guys so I’m dreaming…

Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter?
Both, but with jam.

Your current film focus is surfing. If you were to shift to something else, any idea what it would be?
Motorcycling clips interest me a lot, along with skate and snowboarding. I’ve got an idea for a video installation that would suit a museum or art gallery. to put it briefly; Its about being in, and on video.

What’s on the menu for you in 2012?
I guess release Sally, and become a dad. I’m really excited about this.

Damen’s film Lucid, is currently available through OnWAX media. Sally will also be available online, after it’s release. You can enjoy the rest of Nicholas’ work on his Vimeo page.


Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Dave Allee: Almond Surfboards & Designs

June 19, 2012

Dave Allee is the proprietor of Almond Surfboards & Designs. Almond is a brand modeled for those of us that like our stuff made the old fashion way; by hand.

Where did you grow up, and when did you start surfing?
I grew up in Newport Beach, California.  I was actually born in the hospital across the street from the Almond shop.  I didn’t surf for the first time until 5th grade… and got my first board when I was 13.

Ever surfed in the Pacific Northwest?
I have not surfed in the Pacific Northwest, although it is definitely on my bucket-list.  I spend some time in Northern Idaho every Summer with my Grandparents, and the lake up there is always so glassy that I have spent many afternoons day-dreaming about surfing with a backdrop of pines and mountains.  I’d really like to surf around Victoria, BC someday… seen some breath-taking photos of the coastline up there.

When did you start shaping?
I started shaping my first board at 19… and solid balsa singlefin with five 1″ redwood stringers and a glass on redwood fin.  After that 12-month long project, I decided a foam/fiberglass board would be a bit easier… so I shaped myself a 5’10 twin fin fish that became the inspiration for the Sandia model.

How did Almond Surfboards come to be?
Once I made a board for myself, a few other friends wanted one… that’s when I started putting “Almond” on them.  About the same time I started shaping, while I was in college, I started to formulate a brand-concept for Almond… I felt like there was a gap missing for a lifestyle brand around the stuff I was interested in… I would use my ideas for Almond as a filter for the stuff I was learning in school… which helped me further develop some of my ideas.  When I met Griffin Neumann-Kyle in 2008 it really set the stage for us to be able to grow, because he was looking to shape all day every day, and I was more interested in the big-picture dreaming and business side of things.  Once we started working together, things really started to click.

I understand that your brother Jeffrey & cousin Taylor also work at Almond. What’s it like working with family?
My brother, Jeff, helps me run the shop during the day… which is great.  It’s a different dynamic being older brother and boss… but he’s a willing worker.  My cousin Taylor does our accounting stuff… because it takes a uniquely gifted person to stay on top of all of the incoming and outgoing invoices.

Do you have a favorite board in the Almond quiver?
My favorite is changing all of the time… but this Summer I think it’s the Almond Joy.

Are there any other shapers out there you would like to collaborate with?
There aren’t any other shapers I’d like to collaborate with… Griffin and I have a good thing going.  We’re like yin and yang… he’s like 90% function and 10% form and I’m like 90% form and 10% function. He’s always trying to make them work better, and I’m always trying to make them look a certain way.

I am all-for collaborations though… and we have a number of new collaborations coming down the pipe.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
The bread-knife.

You have a lot of items on the Almond menu…boards, fins, wetsuits, apparel…Any new branches planned for 2012?
The Almond tree is always growing… deepening our roots and expanding our reach.  Keep an eye out for more Surfer+Craftsman collaborations, projects and profiles coming in 2012.

Stoke Harvester is proud to be an Almond dealer. We will have a few Almond boards, t-shirts & fins available through our store, in the next few weeks.  :)


Almond Surfboards – Official
Almond Surfboards – Facebook
Dave on Korduroy

Film, Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Steve Cleveland: A Paradigm Shift

June 15, 2012

I was first turned on to Steve’s work about three years ago, when I picked up a copy of Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables. Recently, he worked his way back in the tube with A Paradigm Shift.  APS has a killer soundtrack and includes some of my favorite surfers; Kassia Meador, Alex Knost, CJ Nelson, Dane Peterson, Tyler Warren, Chris Del Moro…and more. Here’s our interview with the man behind the film.

Where did you grow up, and when did you start surfing?
I was born in Redondo Beach Ca. That’s the area where I had my first experiences with the ocean. I was like a moth to a flame; I was just drawn to the ocean. I remember my aunt would take me to the Palos Verdes cove when I was 4 yrs. Old, and I’d wade in the tide pools. My family moved to the Big Island of Hawaii when I was 7 and that’s where I started riding waves…body surfing and belly boarding. We moved back to the mainland (Redondo) when I was 11 or 12. That’s when I got my first surfboard; an old Velzy/Jacobs 9’3″ balsa, for $20. That must of been around 1963 or 64.

When did you first get involved with film?
I got involved with filming in the early 70s when I was taking photography at Maui Community College. That was my foundation. I started my first surf movie in 1989. It was called On Safari to Stay, and featured a 13 yr. old Joel Tudor, Wingnut, Donald Takayama and Skip Fry. I made it with my good friends Chris Ahrens and Greg Weaver. Spider Wills was a consultant.

What was it like working with Greg Weaver and Spider Wills?
That was a kick in the arse mate!!!!!!!!! So many stories that I can’t tell ya all… but when I’m with Joel and Wingnut, we always relive a couple of the episodes. The stories keep gettin better and better. Weavers da bomb mate, and Spiders a total legend. I learned a lot from Greg and spider! I’m very appreciative of that experience


Your most recent project is A Paradigm Shift, can you tell us about that?
Well, A Paradigm Shift is a relatively fast paced, tightly edited movie with a bitchen soundtrack. It’s a bunch of great surfers in I guess what you’d call “the alternative” vein of surfing. Ya know…great surfers riding all types of boards, in all types of waves. We shot it in Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, Micronesia, and California. I worked on it for a little over 2 years and am stoked on how it turned out!

How do you go about picking the surfers for your films?
I have been very fortunate in that regard! The surfers in my films are people that I’ve met over the years… friends; guys and gals that I get along with and work well with. It’s not that I pick them, really…because they all can pretty much work with any of the alternative surf filmmakers out there. My crew of surfers is a pretty eclectic group. They are relationships that I have developed organically over time. It’s a symbiotic thing! I feel lucky and blessed to get to work with the “A” list surfers in our longboard/alternative (longboards,fish,hulls, eggs, retros, alaia’s ect.) genre. For what I do, it’s all about the surfers. You can have the best surf in the world to shoot, but if the talent level isn’t there then all ya end up with is a bunch of bitchen waves being ridden by so-so surfers. Nobody really wants to watch a film like that, do they?

Any favorite surf flicks?
Yeah, I really liked Ozzie Wright’s 156 tricks. It changed the way I looked at what I was doing at the time. CJ Nelson turned me on to it. In the beginning I was also influenced by Bud and Bruce brown’s films. Mac/Freemans films are also always a good watch… many others too!

Any other filmmakers you would like to collaborate with?
I respect a lot of the film makers out there, but for now I prefer to do my own thing…. but if Steven Spielburg came calling I’d be all ears. ha ha

Any hope for a third Safari movie? :)
Funny you should ask, thinkin about it…. Looking for funding… anyone out there want to be an “executive producer?” Call me, well see!!!!!!!!!

What’s next for Steve Cleveland?
Like I just said, thinking about going back to my roots. A story driven movie? Ya never know…just doing my own thing, with a lot o help from my friends!

Check back in a few weeks for Renick’s forthcoming review of A Paradigm Shift. You can connect more with Steve over at SurfCraft Media’s Official site.


Film, Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Elisa Bates: Women + Waves + NYC

June 1, 2012

About a month ago, my friend Quash shared a Vimeo link on Facebook that caught my attention. I watched the trailer above, and made contact with it’s creator…Elisa Bates. Elisa is an artist, based out of Brooklyn…with an itch for surfing Rockaway Beach.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Pelham, New York, which is a suburban town in Westchester County about 30 minutes north of mid-town Manhattan.

When did you start surfing?
Truth be told, I’ve been “starting” to surf for the past several years but am still very much a beginner. My husband, who’s been surfing his whole life, has tried to teach me here and there and what I learned is that while he’s a really good surfer, he may not be the best teacher (he agrees). However, I did take a proper surf lesson in Montauk, NY last summer, which was a game changer for me. I finally felt what it’s like to be in control of the board, I stood a few times and now I’m looking forward to getting back in the water.

Your current project is AWAY…can you tell us a bit about it?
It’s a short documentary film that looks at the subculture lifestyle of New York City surfing through the lens of three women who surf at Rockaway Beach, Queens. In the past few years, there has been somewhat of an explosion in the popularity of surfing in NYC. What caught my attention and what drove the idea behind the film was how many more women there were surfing and excelling in this male-dominated sport at Rockaway Beach, an unexpected, moderately difficult, inconsistent break inside NYC. As a female living in NYC, married to someone who’s been surfing at Rockaway since the mid 90’s, I understand the level of commitment necessary to be a serious NYC surfer and also the difficulty and frustration. There were a few documentaries and lots of press coverage that focus on the men who surf there, but I couldn’t find much about local NYC female surfers. I think what I’ve ended up with is a film that takes a personal look at these three women who collectively represent an archetype of what it is to be a female NYC surfer. These women are amazing.

How do you know the 3 women featured in the film?
I didn’t know the women at all before making the film. One of them, Katrina, is actually an old friend of my husband’s who he recently re-connected with and found out she surfed at Rockaway. The other two, Mary and Jee Mee, I found through talking to people within the Rockaway community. I have to mention that everyone who I encountered during the whole process of making this film was so very kind, helpful, and accommodating. I can’t say enough great things about the Rockaway community as a whole.

When did you first get involved with film?
I come from a graphic design and art direction background, spending the bulk of my professional life working in the music and entertainment industry. This project is my first film.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere, really. Road trips, people on the subway, abstract art, the beach, the mountains, certain pieces in my wardrobe, airports, music, old books, good and bad typography, pop culture, my dog, blenders, campy films, my husband, tequila. From anywhere in my consciousness. I draw inspiration from living.

What’s on your playlist right now?
Lately, I’ve really been into a lot of 70’s and (early 80’s) rock like The Rolling Stones, The New York Dolls, The Who, The Clash, The Pretenders. And also, I’ll add in some Von Bondies, Queens of the Stone Age, Gories, Pixies, Morning After Girls, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

How many belly rubs has your dog received today?
So far today, he has received at least 15 or 16 belly rubs. Plus lots of compliments.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Hopefully, a sort of design/film/motion bouillabaisse of work served in between some travel to new and old places. And also, I’ll be working on perfecting my riding technique…well, um after I learn to catch the waves.

You can stay updated on AWAY, at the film’s official website. Elisa also has some great work up on her Vimeo page.

– Shawn

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Mike Black: Mining the Stoke

May 29, 2012

Back in 2006, tired of my corporate career and carpeted cubicle, I decided to pursue a more enjoyable means of earning a living. I found myself at Cheka-Looka Surf Shop…scraping the wax off rental boards, trying to convince the guys I was slightly more than a kook. After a brief hazing from Jeff and Bubba, I was told I had the job…under one condition…I needed to go home that night and watch the greatest surf movie of all time: Invasion From Planet C.

Since then, we’ve shown the film at numerous surf movie nights and birthday parties. If you haven’t seen Invasion From Planet C, you need to… but first read our interview with the brainchild behind it, Mike Black.

Mike Black: Surfer, Interplanetary traveler, Math teacher

How long have you been surfing?
25 years.

Any favorite surf spots?
any clean empty point.

Ever surfed in the Pacific Northwest?
I have had the pleasure. My buddy lived in Cannon Beach. We scored some beautiful little peelers in some amazing settings around there.

How did the Bing Feral Pig, come to be?
I have ridden and owned many pigs in my life. Reynolds Yater, Hap Jacobs, and Dale Velzy are a few of the craftsmen that come to mind when I reflect on who shaped some of them. I run Surf-A-Pig, a website devoted to pig surfboards. I constantly receive many emails from all around the world that contain stories and photos of people making and riding pig surfboards.

I love the way a pig rides. In the beginning of 2009 I sold my quiver of “nose rider” logs in an effort to fund a new quiver of pigs. I wanted to see what was currently being made in the swine family. With the proceeds from this sell I went straight to Matt. At the time, I didn’t know that much about pigs, but I knew Matt was the go to guy. Matt shaped me a beautiful board that treated me well. So well, I will not sell it. Ever. Although this BING Matt shaped me was an AMAZING board, I started poking around to see who else was doing what.

Enter August 2011. I have been exclusively riding pig boards for over 3 years. I approach Matt again. I ask him if we can put some kind of collaboration together. I feel like I have significant experiences that might be able to contribute to designing the ideal pig board, I feel like he has the skill and the foundation to execute what I am thinking about. I bring over many pigs from my herd. I tell him what experiences I had on the boards. Additionally I show him video and photos of how the boards preformed and in what conditions the preformed in. He takes it all in. We pass some numbers back and forth, and some ideas for the aesthetic of the finish.

Matt gets after it. He shapes it. I am there and observe it all. I am so stoked and full of anticipation.

Finally the board is finished. When I go to grab it from the shop… as soon as my hands touch it, I know it is perfectly balanced. Sometimes you know a board is perfect just by feeling the rail. This was that. I get it in the water. My first session was in thigh high pier dumpers. Even in these meager conditions, I knew this board was AMAZING. The next morning I get it on some clean waves. Immediately I felt this board was the single best board I had ever rode. By my third session I was beside myself with the board’s functionality. This is the one board quiver. Matt is a magician.

How long have you been teaching, and what turned you on to that profession?
I’ve been teaching for 15 years. I never thought “when I grow up, I want to be a teacher!” Rather, after I received my M.A. in Pure Math from UCSB, I suffered a head injury while surfing some AMAZING glassy walls at Rincon. Simultaneously during this time of life…the time right after I graduated, as I was trying to find out what to do with my theoretical math degree, I was working at Clyde Beatty’s glass shop in Santa Barbara. The head injury made me realize life is short, and I should do more than “huff resin”. I heard Long Beach was hiring un credentialed teachers, I got a job with them, and have since learned teaching is my calling.

Can you please define the quadratic formula?
The quadratic formula is a collection of symbols humans use to model objects subject to gravity.

How did you meet your partner in Stoke Films, David Potter?
I befriended his brother in college. His brother was friends with my friends neighbors.

When did you first get involved with film?
David Potter had me acting in some of his adult humor projects. From being around David, I started to think about stories and writing. David is an amazing artist, a technical wizard.

In your interview with Liquid Salt, you mentioned a “Bollywood-style motorcycle bounty hunter surf story project”…anything come of that?
Not yet. We have some amazing scripts floating around. David and I are great friends and enjoy working with each other, but both of us are more focused on other projects right now.
The logistics of filming , editing, marketing, and distributing your own product are painful to say the least. I am very proud we pulled off the projects we have, and I hope to have more collaborative work with David in the future.

Any favorite surf flicks?
You know , I really don’t watch surf flicks. I really enjoy watching empty waves break. I swear if someone made a flick full of empty point surf from all around the planet, that shit would be on all the time. Like a video of logs burning.

I understand you’re currently working on a sequel to Invasion From Planet C
Ok, I made that up…but now the seed has been planted. ;) What’s on the schedule for you and/or Stoke Films in 2012?
Currently David and I are laying low. David has a super crazy project that I acted in being finished. Hopefully that will be out soon. We’ll see!

Mike was nice enough to send us over a few copies of Invasion From Planet C. You can pick one up for yourself, here. When Gnar-Gnars not in the water or manning the classroom, he maintains a pretty killer blog…dedicated to boards with meat & D-fins. Check out Surf a Pig.

Blast it!
– Shawn

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Jeremy Rumas: Hangs Upon Nothing

May 7, 2012

I was going to write an intro about how I came across Hangs Upon Nothing, but Instead I think I’ll just say a few words, and then jump into the interview.

16mm, original soundtrack, talented artist, new blood…Jeremy Rumas.

Tell us about Hangs Upon Nothing.
My original idea for this was just to make a film that conveys what surfing feels like to me.  And by this I mean the entire experience of being a surfer, and traveling as a surfer.  The people you meet, the places you see, the things you learn by heading out into the water, or heading off to a far corner of the world and experiencing what life is like there.  And also the amazing interaction you get to have with the ocean, and with the earth.  I really feel that surfing is one of the purest experiences one can have on this planet.  You are right there feeling the earth’s energy all around you, you’re a part of it.  It’s so amazing, and I just wanted to try to convey this in a film.

What is your relationship with Mikala? How did you meet, etc…
I met Mikala on a beach on Christmas Island, Kiribati.  I was returning there to visit Chuck Corbett and film more with him, and Mikala and his brother Daniel came down there at the same time, along with Michael Kew, Chris Burkhard, Josh Mulcoy, and Nate Tyler.  I had my Bolex with me and I went up and introduced myself to Mikala.  I wasn’t sure who he was at first, though I knew of his name and had seen him in surf mags before.  I was able to show all these guys some footage from my project at that point, and Mikala and Daniel just gave me an open invite to come film with them.  From that point on they just became a part of the film, a really big part of it.

At first I had this idea that there wouldn’t be any pro surfers in this film.  I was more interested in making something simply about surfing, without a commercial aspect.  After meeting these guys and seeing how hard they worked at their craft, how dedicated they were, and also just how they were all really approachable and down to earth, I completely changed my mindset on this.  I realized that this film should be about anyone who enjoys riding waves, whether it’s just for fun, for a job, or both.

This chance meeting with Mikala and Daniel was really the luckiest moment for me in regard to making this film.  Bringing them onto the project really made it possible for me to make the film I wanted to make.  I had no experience in surf filmmaking, nothing to show expect a bit of footage, and to my surprise Mikala said he thought that might actually be a good thing.  They were excited about my vision, and stoked about shooting this with 16mm film.

I consider both Mikala and Daniel, and also younger brother Keoni good friends now.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Northwest Indiana in a pretty simple American town.  Just outside of Chicago, pretty close to Lake Michigan.

When did you start surfing?
When I was 24.  The first place I ever rode a wave standing up on a board was in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  There was this family there at the beach in a Winnebago.  They had two longboards, and the father Marty let me try one of their boards out.  We paddled out together and caught a few shin high glassy peelers in really cold water. It felt pretty natural to me since I grew up skateboarding and snowboarding.  I remember my first wave, I felt like I was flying, and it was literally only shin high, but it still blew my mind.  A few weeks later I bought a longboard and was on my way to Samoa.  That’s where I really learned to surf.

Browsing your work, it’s obvious that you are creative in a lot of different fields..When did you first get involved with film?
The first time I touched motion picture film was when I was nineteen at Columbia College in Chicago.  That was 13 years ago.  I took one film-making class there where we made short movies with 16mm Bolexes.  After that I didn’t do too much with actual film-making until starting on Hangs Upon Nothing.

Tell us a little bit about your creative process.
I get random ideas for projects all the time.  I usually try to jot them down in my sketchbook or record them, and if I don’t I’ll often forget what the idea was.  This is everything from story ideas, drawing ideas, to song ideas.  For concepts I really like, I just spend free time further developing them.  Hangs Upon Nothing is the furthest I’ve yet taken any of my own personal art projects.  I’ve spent a lot of time working as a commercial artist, animator, and concept designer, working on projects for other people or companies.  When you spend a lot of time using your creativity towards making a living working on others’ projects, it can be challenging to find the time to get your own personal projects done.

So it’s been really fulfilling for me to work on this project, and to see it finally coming together.  And it’s been really cool just releasing these trailers and some posters and art and seeing peoples’ reactions to it all.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From everything I see, everything I experience, and everything I think is beautiful or interesting in some way.  It can be the way someone walks, the mannerisms someone has while talking, or maybe the positive outlook on life that a random stranger has.  I notice this stuff, and I take notes on it, and try to incorporate it into my art or stories somehow.  If I’m shooting with a camera, I look for stuff like this.

I’m also inspired by waves, surfing, friends who have gone after their dreams, people and animals who are just stoked on life, Star Wars(circa 1977-1980), American Graffiti, Akira(the Japanese comic), and music that takes me somewhere else.

One of the bands listed on the H.U.N Soundtrack is Turbofire to Zenith, can you tell us a little about that?
Turbofire to Zenith is me and a revolving group of friends(Mike Regan, Garrett Schultz, George Boyas, and Javier Guzman) writing and recording the original score for the film.  Most of it we’re recording on the second floor of this big garage/barn that’s sort of just where country starts in NW Indiana.  At this point we are just a studio band for this film.  I’m really hoping we can tour with the film playing live, or at least do some shows in the midwest where we perform the sountrack live.  That’s been my vision all along for this project.  At the least though, the soundtrack is going to be original.

The name comes from a mixture of classic Chevrolet Turbo-fire engines, and some sci-fi concepts of gals riding giant creatures hurtling through space, sort of how Atreyu rides the Luck Dragon in The Neverending Story.

Any favorite surf flicks?
Morning of the Earth, The Endless Summer, and The September Sessions.  One recent film I saw that I really liked is Splinters.  I haven’t watched too many surf films actually.  I made it a point to avoid them while shooting this, just to try and keep a bit of a fresh perspective on it all.  Inevitably if I see something I really like, it tends to influence me creatively, so it was more out of fear of copying someone too much that I tried to avoid watching them.  The ones I did see were when other surfers brought them around to show.  I’ve been watching a lot more short surf films online recently though.  I’ve had a plan that when I finish this project I’d like to go back and watch a lot of surf films spanning the decades that they’ve been made.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Freelance drawing work, and in my free time editing and making music for Hangs Upon Nothing.  I’m also working towards releasing some more silkscreened posters related to the film.  Hoping to have the edit and music wrapped up later in 2012, and then send the film around to fests and tour it.

This is the beginning of something beautiful. 

Hangs Upon Nothing – Website
Hangs Upon Nothing – Facebook
Jeremy Rumas

Photo credits:
1. J. Rumas
2. J. Rumas
3. S. Goldsbury


Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Todd Fischer and the Watercolor Surf of the PNW

April 18, 2012

Todd Fishcer is a Pacific Northwest based artist.

Todd has been a staple of the PNW surf art scene for some time now. Our friends over at PBC have developed a friendship with him, and I was happy to finally meet Todd at the Tim Nelson benefit party. Check out our interview with Fischer, below.

Where did you grow up?
Hmmm, I don’t know if I’m done growing up. I think if I stop, I will probably be dead. I have spent most of my life here in Washington state….however many of my earlier years were in Eastern WA. I think being not as close to the ocean, left more desire in me to be closer to it. (absence makes the heart grow fonder).

Any favorite surfers/shapers?
I don’t think I have a real favorite surfer or shaper for that matter. There are so many good surfers and shapers out there. I used to think It was a bigger deal to know who’s who of each, but now It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I do appreciate watching a good ride. and riding a clean shaped board.:)

What are you riding these days?
Well, my 10-0′ Robert August is pretty worn out now. Every year I think I have patched it up for the last time. I think its like letting go of a old friend. As long as it still floats me I guess I will keep er. I’ve also been riding my sup a lot. I have a 8′ Stewart (big guy short board) I have been trying to find more time for also. I am looking for a new 10-0 this year.;) if there is anyone willing to trade for a nice piece of artwork..wink,wink..

Favorite artists?
Now that’s a tough one.. Since I have started putting my own artwork out there to show, I have met so many artist. They’re all great. I admire anyone who is brave enough to put themselves, and their work in front of the world, and be able to take any remarks that come with it. To be able to paint and express yourself to the world, requires a lot of sacrifices in life. (lifestyle,doing without this or that), So when they put their work out for everyone to view, it really is a gift from the artist. To get back to your question..I cant name any one artist, It seems unfair to just name a few. there are so many to draw from for inspiration. sorry for the pun..

You obviously draw a lot of your creative inspiration from surfing in the Pacific Northwest…what else gets your boat movin?
Family and friends, Places I have been and hope to go to. I am kind of a dreamer.

Your work is predominantly watercolor…do you work with any other mediums?
I do use other things.. I use acrylics once in a while,wood, metal, I’m working on a project with some paper mache’ lately. watercolor is what I am most comfortable with though.

What do you listen to when you work?
I listen to a pretty wide variety. I guess i do have a few go-tos for music I listen to Chili Peppers, Beatles,B52s,Beach boys,Roy Orbison, Concrete blond, the radio, whatever mood I feel like, I try to listen accordingly. It helps get things on paper.

What’s Todd Fischer have in the works for 2012?
To keep trying to come up with new ideas, to put on paper. Hopefully travel a bit more this year. I plan on being in Gig harbor WA. for a paddle board/Kayak race at the end of April. May, 18-20th I will be at Clean Water Classic in Westport, WA. June, July is open right now, but I hope to be on the road. August I would like to be at Cape Kiwanda Oregon again. There’s a kids surf camp at La Push WA I plan on being at. September is my favorite month for surf, so I don’t plan on doing much then.:)

In October I plan on being on the Big island of Hawaii. If I come home after that, I will maybe be looking at a trip to San Diego area. In between all that I will be in Kingston at “Kingston Adventures” new home to set up my art booth. They have allowed me to use their location as my new gallery, so stop by and check it out if your stuck in Sunday night ferry traffic in Kingston. So far I’m looking at setting up every 1st weekend of each month and see what happens from there. I like working weekends. I gives me the rest of the week to find time in the water.. Hope to see you all soon, Todd Fischer

You can learn more about Todd, on his website.

NW Surf & Snow did an awesome Lifestylin’ feature on Todd. You can check it out here.


– Shawn