Lighthouse International Film Festival

Surf Film Offerings Return to 2019 Film Fest

Varied Line-up Represents All Manner of Surfing Culture
By JON COEN | Jun 05, 2019
Courtesy of: ‘Girl on a Wave’ is just one of the five surf-themed films in this year’s Lighthouse International Film Festival.

Long Beach Island — Surfing cannot be defined as a single culture or even subculture.

Within the sport are numerous subsets of the culture. There are those who would argue it’s not even a “sport,” but a lifestyle. That might be a sharp contrast to the highly competitive professional side of the World Surf League. And all of it might seem a world apart from the pursuit of waves here on our little sandbar.

This weekend, June 6-9, the Lighthouse International Film Festival comes to LBI, bringing four days of film and culture to our shores.

In its early years, the LIFF presented surf-themed movies at every festival to mixed success. The last several years have not seen as many, if any, films dealing with surfing. But this year, the festival has included four different films that certainly look to hold a waverider’s attention, beginning on Thursday night with this year’s festival surf blockbuster, “White Rhino by Brent Storm. This hair-raising tale threads the stories of several surfers and videographers who chased the biggest swells around the world for several years. This one has already gotten some attention from the surf media for following some historic pro events with major swell including the 2011 Code Red Swell in Tahiti.

Friday night’s surf offering is a shorts block starting with “Cuban Wave Riders.” Directed by Liz Magee and Taylor McNulty, this 20-minute short focuses on the fascinating island nation to the south of Florida.

Cuba has close to three times the coastline as California. Compared to California’s estimated one million surfers, Cuba’s surfer population hovers around 100. The amount of surf discovery potential in Cuba is staggering. “Cuban Wave Riders” follows four Cuban surfers and their journey to find those waves in their own country that have never been ridden.

It screens with “Where the Desert Meets the Ocean at the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences on Friday at 10 p.m. The latter is about four friends from the landlocked Czech Republic, who travel the African desert to find the amazing waves at the famed and mysterious Skeleton Bay in Nimibia.

Girl on a Wave,” by Steven Esparza, screens at the Surf City firehouse on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. This feature is about Maui-based Sarah Hauser, who left the comfort of a master’s degree in computer science and a traditional career path behind to follow her passion and pursue the unconventional path of an action sports athlete. The film aims to inspire women and girls never to lose sight of their dreams.

Tickets to all of these shows are $12 and can be purchased individually at An all-access pass is $125.

— Jon Coen

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