Posts Tagged ‘ Surf ’

Clay Pollioni @ Home

Dark Fall Premiere….

If your an east coast surfer your probably frothin on the fact that the film “Dark Fall” by Alex DePhillipo has announced it’s premiere date. July 16th @ the House of Blues in Atlantic City, NJ with be a night to remember as it will mark the culmination of years of hard work for Alex and all the boys… Go out and grabs your tickets soon as it will surely be sold out!

Talyor’s Interview W/ Drift Mag

Interview: Joe Conway

When it comes to influential surf filmmakers, everyone gets in line behind Taylor Steele. In less than a week, he’ll premiere his latest film Castles in the Sky, an extension of his “journey over destination” Sipping Jetstreams series, at Tribeca Cinemas in New York.

Drift managed to catch up with Taylor in the midst of the buzz and insanity that precedes any film premiere in the city that never sleeps.

Drift: You’ve bucked tradition with The Drifter and now Castles in the Sky by holding the US/world premieres in New York—any particular reasons why?

Taylor Steele: For the Drifter premiere, we had the chance to be a part of the New York surf film festival which is a great event. I love New York for it’s energy and inspiration and it felt like a natural location for the premiere of Castles. The locations in the movie have a strong identity and culture, so what could be a better fit than NY.

What does progression mean to you today? You’re known for pushing the threshold in terms of the surfing you document, the locations, your filmmaking process—even down to the music you use. Do all those aspects always move in sync naturally?

Thank you for the compliment. Progression to me is just pushing the limits and boundaries of what we have done before: where we travel to, technology, the surfing. Trying something new and different is always progression. Learning from our mistakes, learning from other cultures. No, they don’t sync up naturally, it definitely takes some blood, sweat and tears from all involved. The surfers also put in a lot of work on my projects and they are always pushing the threshold.

It seems like The Drifter, the Sipping series and now Castles in the Sky are based on a thematic progression, too, almost like a challenge to surfers or the surfing community as a whole. Is it a conscious effort to get people to question the way they travel or live?

Travel has shaped and influenced me as a person. There is a lot to learn from other cultures. Our biggest world problems stem from being too self-centered–living in our little fish bowl. I am like most and am still trying to learn to think about the big picture on a daily basis. Yet the more people I meet it helps me think about the effects of my choices. I hope from my movies inspire people to travel and learn so that they can bring it back. It’s not a challenge but hopefully it inspires people visually to out there and experience as much as they can.

What do you say to the detractors who say that’s a ploy or a gimmick?

My main inspiration for these movies is my two daughters. I want them to watch these movies and feel excited about the world and not intimidated or in fear.

Were there particular experiences from the making of Sipping that inspired you guys to go even further with Castles?

Sipping truly changed my life. It inspired a move of my family to Indonesia and to continue to travel with two kids in tow. It made me really want to learn and experience new places. On most trips we would have these moments that felt so foreign and removed from home that it felt like we were seeing the world with new eyes. That was the goal moving forward. So we thought about that when we chose locations. Each had to feel like nowhere else we have been. We are inspired to bring that out in film.

Do you just score everywhere you go, every time you go? Exactly how challenging have the “off the radar” spots been to document—both in terms of waves and general hardships?

It’s hard to score in some locations as roads don’t follow the coast and it requires a lot of driving, exploring and dead ends. It gets tough when you’re searching for waves and the swell is up. You can almost hear the clock ticking.

Any hard-earned travel secrets you can share with Drift readers?

If you smile then people will smile back 99 times out of a 100. Most people are just like us and are as curious about us and our culture as we are about theirs. Oh yes, and make sure you have the proper paperwork to shoot in Morocco before you end up at the airport.

To wrap things up, how’s coming along? You’re blazing new trails with a crowd sourced video—do you think the experience will end up influencing your own filmmaking at all?

On an immediate level its already inspiring new relationships in terms of surfers to work with and filmers to collaborate with on future projects. I have seen some cool new styles and it’s just starting. I’m excited to work with the final 20 on their parts and I’m sure I’ll be able to learn as much from them as they can from my experiences. I can’t wait till year 5.

Thanks Taylor—

Matt Meola

I cant even mind surf this good!!!!

Austin Saunders interview w/liquid salt mag

Austin Saun­ders is an East Coast surfer/shaper who quite sim­ply, builds beau­ti­ful surf­boards. Entirely self-taught, he started his own busi­ness at the age of six­teen – mas­ter­ing the arts of design­ing, shap­ing and glass­ing. We spoke with Austin to learn more.

What was your life like grow­ing up?

I was the typ­i­cal beach kid. I spent the week prac­tic­ing for foot­ball or play­ing paint­ball, and spent the week­ends on the beach. I hated school, but my par­ents expected me to go to col­lege. I lasted almost two years in col­lege work­ing towards a busi­ness degree. School wasn’t for me, but those two years have helped me run my own business.

When did you get your first surf­board?

I got my first surf­board when I was about 12. I bor­rowed it from my Uncle Greg. I guess that first expe­ri­ence is what started my jour­ney to build­ing surf­boards. I grew up play­ing foot­ball and I have always been big, and the board I bor­rowed def­i­nitely didn’t fit me. Even though it was in the 8 to 9 foot range, it was built with “typ­i­cal” dimen­sions … and I’m not your typ­i­cal surfer. In fact, most peo­ple these days aren’t typical.

What was the feel­ing you had when you first stood on a surf­board?

First I was think­ing, “Holy crap! I am stand­ing up?” Then, all I felt was pain as I face­planted into the beach. Every­one teaches you how to stand up, but no one teaches you how to stop before you hit the shore.

Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young man?

I have always admired my fam­ily. All of my fam­ily mem­bers are hard work­ers. We never had a lot of money when I was grow­ing up, but they always showed me that if you work hard at what you love, you are paid back in the end. I guess you could also say I admired James Brown. I always joked about how he said, “I am the hard­est work­ing man in show business”—I con­sider myself the hard­est work­ing man in the surf­board busi­ness. We have that in common.

Who or what first inspired you?

My first inspi­ra­tion came in the form of a 1968 Hansen Com­peti­tor that I pur­chased when I was 14. It made me real­ize that was the type of surf­board that I wanted to build. It was old, worn and used, but through the lit­tle bit of green pig­ment it still had intact, I could tell that it was some­thing spe­cial. I still have that board today.

How big is the surf scene in Vir­ginia?

Con­sid­er­ing how lit­tle of a coast­line we have, the surf scene is fairly large. We have noticed the surf scene grow­ing in the 35 year plus age group and a huge upturn in the over-50 crowd. The great thing is that this works to my advan­tage. From the begin­ning, all my boards were cus­tom. The 50-plus crowd needs boards built to their exact needs. You are not going to buy a board off the shelf that works for you when you are new to the sport, on the East Coast and over 50. If you want some­thing that is going to work for you, on day one it has to be built for you.

What do you think the surf world should know about the surf scene in the South?

We are the most surf stoked peo­ple you could find. We are used to rid­ing a two foot swell with wind chop, but you should see us when it really starts fir­ing. A lot of times we are counted out because we are on the East Coast, but we have some fan­tas­tic surfers (and let me add shapers) who get very lit­tle recognition.

You don’t look like the stereo­typ­i­cal surfer and shaper. Is that to your ben­e­fit, detri­ment or makes no dif­fer­ence?

I was def­i­nitely was made for football—not for surf­ing. But take a look at our soci­ety. Most peo­ple aren’t your typ­i­cal 135 pound Cal­i­for­nia surfer types. I guess being larger than most shapers works to my ben­e­fit. I learned to adapt my boards to fit my needs and I can trans­late this knowl­edge to other body styles and body types.

You are unlike many other shapers in that you make tra­di­tional surf­boards as well as alter­na­tive surf craft. What prompted you to make these other alter­na­tive surf craft?

Some­one once said that to find out if some­one is really worth their salt, you ask them if they are the best in their busi­ness. If they answer “yes”, chances are they’re not. If they respond by say­ing that one day they hope to be and that they learn some­thing new each and every day, then that per­son most likely is the best in their busi­ness. I try to learn some­thing new each and every day. Even though ala­ias, paipos, and hand planes aren’t some­thing new, they have long been for­got­ten. They have become a lost art and through learn­ing how they were con­structed, my knowl­edge of how all surf craft work deep­ens. But the real rea­son we should give the atten­tion to these alter­na­tive surf craft is because they’re just plain fun! Have you rid­den any yet?

What is the great­est thing you have learned in your life?

I guess bal­ance. Every­thing in life and surf­boards is about balance.

Do you have any regrets or wish you had done some­thing dif­fer­ently?

Every­thing that I orig­i­nally con­sid­ered regret actu­ally worked out in the end. Every chal­leng­ing expe­ri­ence deep­ened my knowl­edge and taught me valu­able life lessons. Actu­ally, I regret try­ing to eat a whole dozen Krispy Kreme dough­nuts on a bet. The first six goes down easy. No so for the rest.

What are you most proud of?

I think I am most proud that I did this myself. I never appren­ticed under any­one. I learned shap­ing from books and videos. I learned glass­ing by trial and error. I only had the help of my fam­ily and friends like my dad, Troy, Uncle Joe and friend Rich. I was 16 when I started my busi­ness and, since that time, I started and ran two dif­fer­ent glass­ing and shap­ing facil­i­ties. Just recently, I opened a surf shop that car­ries the Austin name. My new shop rep­re­sents me. I didn’t want the Wal-Mart mega out­let of surf­ing. I wanted a shop that shows tra­di­tion and craftsmanship—the way things use to be. At my new shop, we spe­cial­ize in boards, not clothing.

What mean­ing does surf­ing hold for you and how has it changed your life?

Surf­ing is my life. I work seven days a week, roughly 12 hours a day. When I actu­ally get a day off what else would I do? I go surf­ing. While I’m surf­ing, I think about how I could redesign the board to make it a bet­ter noserider, turn bet­ter or catch waves quicker.

What brings you the most hap­pi­ness in the world?

Sunny day with chest high, peel­ing waves. Eng­lish Bull­dogs. The “Hot & Now” sign turn­ing on as you drive past Krispy Kreme. A freshly oiled AR-15. A 51 shoe­box Rat Rod. My fiancée Jamie.

What is your favorite board? What is your favorite surf spot?

My favorite all-time board is my 10 foot Soul Glide. That board has been magic since day one. My favorite local surf spot is called Greens because all you see when you look onshore is all the bright green, mil­lion dol­lar man­i­cured lawns. Where exactly is it? I will plead the Fifth on that one. My favorite non-local spot is Infini­ties in Kauai, Hawaii. It has an awe­some left that goes on for miles. Friendly peo­ple (if you are respect­ful), warm waters and warm air temps. What more could you want?

What are you cur­rently lis­ten­ing to on your iPod?

Too $hort, Mikey Avalon, Sub­lime, James Brown, TI, Rage Against the Machine, Anti-Flag. It’s a given that Too $hort will be blast­ing when some Soc­cer Mom with her 8 year old kid comes walk­ing through the fac­tory. You should see the peo­ple div­ing for the vol­ume control.

What causes or orga­ni­za­tion do you sup­port?

We are a big sup­porter of the March of Dimes. We have been a main spon­sor for their con­test for the last seven years. We also sup­port our local chap­ter of the Surfrider Foun­da­tion, many other local char­i­ties, and some schools that I sponsor.

What are you most grate­ful for?

My incred­i­ble good looks and my win­ning personality!

What is next for Austin Saun­ders?

On the home front, I am get­ting mar­ried in June to Jamie … and, yes, she surfs. In busi­ness, I plan to run full steam with the Austin Surf Shop. It is a tra­di­tional surf shop with boards and board sup­plies. We have a new model com­ing out that reeks with tra­di­tion. It is called the “.51”. It starts with a high den­sity foam blank, cus­tom paulow­nia or balsa stringers, super heavy volan glass work, all gloss pig­ment resin work, cus­tom glassed on pivot fin and tra­di­tional wood tail block. The only thing we aren’t doing with the .51 is pour­ing the foam blank. Every­thing else is made right here at the fac­tory. We also have a new web­site com­ing out that shows all our cus­tom wood boards like the balsa and paulow­nia cus­toms, the ala­ias, wood paipos and hand planes.

Show Some Love For A Local Hero

It’s that time of year to support a great Cause and freeze your ass off doing it! The 3rd Annual Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation Freeze for a Cause is going down on Saturday, February 6th. The contest will be at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ starting at 10:00 am sharp and will run until 3:00 pm. Slots are going to be very limited this year. There will be 3 divisions for the Freeze this year Open Shortboard, Open Longboard, and Open Womens. It’s highly recommended that you sign up early to reserve a slot for this event so you don’t get left out in the cold! The entry fee/donation is $20.

After the contest come out and join us for a raging after party at the Crab’s Claw in Lavallette, NJ hosted by the Hammer Family starting at 6:00 pm. There will be great raffle/auction prizes and drink specials. There is a $10 donation to get you into the party of the winter. If you want to go big a $20 donation includes a official DRCF Freeze for a Cause Tshirt! We hope to see everyone there and thank you for your continued support of the DRCF.

Volcom Pipeline Pro

Creation Plantation

Stylish piece from Filmmaker Cyrus Sutton

That’s Right

Surfer- Chico Koch
Photog- ESM- Ryan Struck

Surfer- Mike Gleason
Photog-ESM- Ryan Struck

Surfer Brian Pollak
Photog- Ryan Struck

photo’s courtesy of ESM

Artwork From the Soul

Joe Hodnicki is not only a good friend but an incredible artist who’s pieces capture the essence of surf culture. Joe also happens to be the founder of Okoto, an art based apparel company located in New Jersey who’s focus is on creating clothing that evokes thought through a very simple motto “live to inspire”. Most recently Okoto was asked to create the official New York Surf Film Festival Tee, where a portion of the proceed went to SurfAid International. Artistic and a humanitarian, two qualities that are seldom found together, come on now! Whether Joe is hand shaping Alaia’s or cravin away on his latest block print, he’s also keeping is creative!!! If you’d like to learn more about the Okoto go to,