Sneak Preview to San Sebastian’s Surfilmfestibal

SURF RIOT ©Nick Waplington. On the last day of August, 1986, Nick Waplington woke up late and turned on the news. An Aeromexico DC9 had collided with a light aircraft going to Big Bear for the weekend. Both aircraft dropped from the sky onto residential Cerritas, near Huntington Beach, just south of Los Angeles, killing all those onboard both planes — plus a number of people unlucky enough to be at home that Labor Day morning. Waplington then drove to Huntington Beach, where he had been planning to watch the OP Surf Pro Championships. Upon arrival, all hell was breaking loose. Having only one roll of 24 exposure film, Waplington documented the chaos exploding around him in 25 concise frames. The photographs within Surf Riot contradict the standard imagery associated with American surf culture from the 1980s. Gone is the laid-back Adonis figure and his flaxen-haired beach babe, and instead, in full lurid color, we see sunburned teens running wild. Unlike other youth revolts, this surf riot bears little in the name of protest— it's merely a spontaneous eruption of violence just for the sport of it. Coca Cola cups and radio station promotions lie trampled underfoot, commercial symbols of contentment cast aside.

Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, the San Sebastian surf film festival Surfilmfestibal is right around the corner now, running from 31st May to 10th June, with 10 days of fun entertainment and cutting-edge surf films from all over the world. If you’re in town and haven’t got tickets yet, here’s what’s on the schedule so far.

The festival kicks off the 31.05, at 20h30, with a programme of Surf + Skate in the Trueba Cinemas, with the Spanish premiere of Skatistan and another very special piece soon to be unveiled.

Friday 1st June, the festival heads to the Aquarium with HUGE SURF: paddle vs tow then FUTURE!

Saturday 2nd June 2nd, it’s back to the Guardetxe! The first location of the festival’s memorable parties. This magic space overlooking Donostia hosts Kutxa Gaua. At 18h00  the festival will welcome JapaNing, a project curated by Kurando Shogi that offers a slice of the freshest Japanese surf culture, then the premiere of Gastrologging. An evening of films, art, music and FOOD!

Also set for Saturday, Extended Vision (presented by Patagonia). Masterclasses + collaborative short film shooting with IPhones! Jack McCoy, Keith Malloy, Kepa Acero and Igor Bellido are gonna tell us all their secrets for the making a good surf film! Followed by 4 hours of filming at La Zurriola Beach, 4 directors, 4 groups of students, 4 hours of editing and Voila! A project curated by Juan Azpitarte. Reserve your slot fast! Very few available spots!

The rest of the programme will be unveiled on 30th May. For more information and to sign up for sessions, visit


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