Outside of your deep personal connection and more as the primary caretaker and curator of the Bud Browne Archives what do you feel is his legacy?

Of course the surfing world recognize Bud Browne’s legacy to be one as the man who created the surf film genre. But to expand upon that, I quote from Midget Farrelly:“ Bud captured the ethos of his time. He did not rewrite or refashion. His images were so powerful.”
You know, when asked to describe himself, Bud responded with, “A man of few words.” But, although I would have to agree with his self assessment, I still find it ironic that for someone who spoke so little, the work he left behind in films and images speaks such volumes! He was a very reticent and deeply modest individual who often dismissed the many “firsts” attributed to him; first to film the first day Waimea was surfed, first to bring Makaha Point to the surf screen, first to film Honolua Bay, first to film (and name) Laniakea the first day it was known to be surfed, first to capture Outter Reef at Pipeline, and of course, he was the first commercial surf filmmaker. When I would proudly remind him of these things toward the end of his life, he characteristically dismissed it all with a wave of his hand. Still, what I believe to be Bud enduring legacy is that he alone captured and documented the most in depth, chronological history of surfing from the birth of modern Big Wave Riding, through the short board revolution. No one documented more epochs in the sport of surfing than Bud Browne.
Having grown up the daughter of Buzzy Trent and been surrounded by a veritable who’s who of the surfing world can you give us some insight into what drove these folks to do what they did? Obviously there is the courage and athleticism involved but making a somewhat broader analysis, what cultural forces were in play at the time that might have influenced these pioneers?

In my father’s time, they were certainly a band of brothers. The early Californian Big Wave Surfers (most of which came from Santa Monica), arrived in the islands at different times, but they were always following each other’s dreams; my father, who was one of the first, arrived in 1952. I have known many Big Wave surfers throughout my life, and while no two were alike, and each had their unique characters, they all possessed one common denominator…they BELONGED in Big Water. They not only felt driven to surf the biggest wave that they could, but they thrived on it. They didn’t just wait for it to happen. They lived for it to happen. It was their number one preoccupation.  Being married to some of these men had to be difficult I’m sure, because as I recall, many marriages didn’t last. Not the first ones anyway. But some passions that you go at alone come at price, don’t they? Still, interestingly, many of the Big Wave Surfers I have known from my father’s day were very humble and deeply introspective men.

I think there’s definitely a certain prototype personality in a Big Wave Surfer that is blueprinted in men who pursue other big physical challenges, like the people that climb Everest, fly fighter jet planes, or pursue bull fighting in the ring. Had Buzzy Trent not been a Big Wave Surfer, he would have been a bullfighter. His drive, timing, and circumstance just found it’s way into Big Wave Surfing.

There have been a few famous big wave surfers who just as famously walked away from this high-stakes pursuit. Along with your Dad I’m specifically thinking of Greg Noll. What factors would you say influenced these reversals? Also, from your personal perspective what sorts of echoes did that very intense lifestyle create in your family’s life? Was it a difficult transition from that to a different way of living?

First of all, I can’t speak for Greg Noll, but I can for my father Buzzy Trent. My father gave up surfing in one day. Literally. As a teenager at the time, I wasn’t moved by this at all. But today, I find it quite extraordinary. He was still in his zenith, in top physical shape. Still strong. He left it all behind. But he was like that. When he made a decision, he committed without ever looking back. This was in 1974. By then a lot had changed in the Hawaiian arena of surfing. Boards were changing, people were changing, and for my father, most significant of all, the crowds were esculating. In his mind  he felt he had done it all and had surfed his favorite breaks as he always wanted to remember them. Before Ricky Grigg passed away, he reminded me of what Buzzy told him…”You don’t need to ride another thirty foot wave Ricky. That wave has immortality in your brain.”

The tribe of surfers in my father’s day were all Big Wave Riders. Every one of them. I grew up thinking that that was the apex of all surfing. But like anything that requires top physical shape to keep it up, as you get older, you eventually adjust to being less than, or leave it behind. My father chose to leave it all behind. Did that choice have consequences? Hell yes. Everything has consequences. Was it a wise choice? I’m not sure. I’ve often wondered what Buzzy Trent would have been like as an older surfer.

Yes, the echoes of my father’s, Bud’s and their people’s time reverberate within my life on a daily basis. Seriously. Daily. Its deeply embedded within me because of my family ties, and of course, because of the history entrusted to me through the prolific body of work bequeathed to me by Bud Browne. How could it not? I carry the ghosts of surfing’s past. My husband often jokes (sometimes even laments) that our home is haunted. But I feel compelled to write about it and, like I’m doing here at the San Diego Surf Film Festival, share the films. I’m always honored and grateful to do so.

Having lived through what is widely considered to be one of Golden Eras of surfing and being a surfer yourself what do you see as pluses and minuses of contemporary surf culture? Are there aspects those earlier era life-ways that you think contemporary surfers have completely lost? Are there aspects, say for example the role of women or people of color, that have evolved and improved?

Of course the “image “ of surfing has changed over time. Money and media is certainly a factor. Huge factor. But that’s all that’s really changed- the image of surfing. If you strip is down, unplug it- the sponsorship, the money, the grabble for glory…in its truest essence, surfing is still the same.

Personally, I don’t need an epic wave. I surf just about every evening at a little corner of beach that most self-respecting surfers wouldn’t look twice at. But, to me, it’s a piece of heaven. There’s a family of dolphins that frequent the place, but for the most part, I usually surf it alone. It’s not about the wave for me, although I am stoked when it gets good. It’s about the connection to something otherworldly. Surfing is feeling heaven. It’s about being touched by magic. I feel that every single time I ride a wave. That’s the part of surfing that hasn’t changed.

Sometimes I worry though. About where surfing has gone. I wonder if there are surfers out there riding waves simply for the magic, and not for the ego of being “seen on scene?” Doing things without the perks and/or notoriety of “ambassadorship?”

I like to believe that somewhere, some place, there are surfers chasing waves in  removed places without instagraming, facebooking, or twitterizing. I’m hopeful.

I suppose in Bud’s and my father’s day surfing was really about man and the sea. That’s it. I understand now that safety needs to be paramount. And truly, I was blown away by the performance at the Eddie this year. Still, I was amazed at the all the “stuff” nowadays. In my father’s day, there were no leashes, inflatable vests, jet skis, or lifeguards. Once you got yourself out in the line up, it was up to you to get yourself back in- period. You had to be a damn strong swimmer. I don’t think today’s surfers realize how the yellow brick road of surfing was paved.

I know from your writings and conversations how much Bud Browne meant to you. What is something you’d want everyone to know about him?This…that he walked the planet for nearly a hundred years, never ceasing to ponder the possibilities. The greatest life lessons I learned from Bud Browne was that it’s never too late to be brave, strong, and believe in possibilities. Surfing should be proud to call him one their own.

*Anna Trent Moore will be receiving our Bud Browne Lifetime Achievement Award during our Opening Night Tribute Thursday, May 19th 6-10pm.
Anna will also be presenting screenings of two of Bud Browne’s finest films on Friday, May 20th and Saturday, May 21st in addition to ipresenting her book  Laughing At Water
Check schedule for location and times.

In the heart of La Jolla, between the million-dollar mansions and Bugatti dealerships, lies a storied surf community. It’s where Pierce Michael Kavanagh grew up watching local legends like Chris O’Rourke, Tom Ortner and Peter Lochtefeld surf Windansea and the surrounding reefs.

Some of the finest surfing of the 1970s happened in his very own backyard and he got to bear witness. Every few months, a surf movie would come through town and Kavanagh and his friends would line up in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art to watch the film and feed off the energy of the crowd as he watched his surfing heroes on the big screen.

Those days influenced Kavanagh so much that he decided to start the San Diego Surf Film Festival in 2012.

“Getting together with the people from your local beach and hooting at a surf movie was the best! I wanted to share that feeling that I loved so much as a kid,” Kavanagh said.

Over the past few years the festival has grown from a weekend event held in a local surf shop to a 10-day event held in a 500-person auditorium. To say the community has responded is an understatement.

2016 San Diego Surf Film Festival

May 18: VIP launch party

May 19: Opening night premieres


May 22-24: Celebrate San Diego events (see website for details)

May 25-26: UCSD Price Center

May 27: Film festival day 1 at Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla

May 28: Film festival awards ceremony at Museum of Contemporary Art

The festival has become Kavanagh’s full-time job, and he and his wife, Petra, started discussing opening a headquarters for their projects. They hoped to find a location in La Jolla that could capture the spirit of the film festival year-round. The idea was to build a haven for local artists and traveling filmmakers, as well as a place to host special events throughout the year.

This past month, just seven blocks from the house Kavanagh grew up in, he found a funky sub-street-level office space for rent and decided to pursue the dream and open the Misfit Pictures HQ. Now with the fifth annual San Diego Surf Film Festival just a few weeks away, the HQ will serve as home base for all the events surrounding the festival.

“This year, we are doing more than we have done in years past,” Kavanagh said. “We’ve extended the festival to cover 11 days, with community events like beach cleanups, art shows, surfboard building tutorials, filmmaker workshops as well as premiering over 40 films at the festival.”

If you enjoy surfing in San Diego, the San Diego Film Festival is a must-attend event. Start getting hyped and don’t blow it.

A full schedule and locations for events can be found online at

To visit Pierce and learn more about the events, stop by Misfit Pictures HQ at 565 Pearl St., Suite 100 in La Jolla.

As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him thoughts about the surfing and fitness worlds to or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.

For immediate release

Contact: Pierce Michael Kavanagh/ SDSFF Founder
805 680 1598

One of the Largest and Most Respected Surf Film Festivals in the World, the SDSFF Returns to Beautiful La Jolla, California May 18-28th, 2016.

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San Diego, CA (February 17, 2016)
Damian and I have been friends for a long time now and I just was waiting for the perfect opportunity to highlight his incredible artistic talents. Now is that time.

So let’s get right into it and hear about it right from Damian himself.

Please give a brief career highlight reel to bring everybody up to speed?
I feel all weird talking about myself.
Basically I’ve worked for Marvel and Disney, had a college in Southern California exhibit a retrospective of my life’s work while still alive, featured in the 20th Anniversary Kustom Kulture show along side my idol Rick Griffin, exhibited in Milan last year, and this summer I’ll be the only mural/surf artist on GNC’s Fresh Paint reality show. Not sure that last one is a highlight or not.

Describe your art aesthetic?
Hard for me to articulate. But here’s what several unidentified sources claimed off the record… 

“Not everything golden is groovy according to Los Angeles based artist Damian Fulton. Distinctly original, often darkly humorous, and always imaginative, his vision takes a stark look at the stereotypical and often dysfunctional California lifestyle, especially the coastal scene.”
“Fulton’s work centers on his observations of So Cal’s surf culture. In his beach environment, the waves are rough, the surfers are rougher. The narrative is diverse and complex. The surf scene in Los Angeles can be strange and brutal at times, but for Fulton, it appears to be the elixir that fuels his imagination.”
I approve this message.
Who would be your main influences?
I was influenced as a kid by Mad magazine, DC and Marvel Comics, and classic mid century animation. My teen years were fueled by Rick Griffin and Zap comix, 70’s Album cover art, Frank Frazetta, and the emerging hot rod and motorcycle culture. Lately i’ve been inspired by the work of turn of the century illustrators like NC Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and Norman Rockwell. All of this stuff somehow makes it into my doodles!
Your first offering to the surf world was your poster for the HB contest in the 1980s?
I believe those posters were the first published surf art I ever did. In the early 80s I was painting event posters for BMX races and some marketing folks thought my style would work for the infamous OP Pro event. That was one of my favorite gigs of all time. Sigh.
Since then your art has been featured in galleries all over the world. Surf art guy gone good?
Yes. From lowly surf poster doodler to hoity toity global gallery guy. That pretty much sums up my art career’s arc.

Can you give us a hint on what to expect from you art-wise during the SDSFF 2016?
There’s a crazy image that’s been rolling around my head that I hope to capture in a live mural painting right on the premises of the Misfit Pictures HQ during the course of the SDSFF. Plus there’s some sketches that have popped up which will be the basis for the SDSFF event poster. We’re producing a hand silk screened limited edition poster to commemorate the 5 year anniversary. What else? Funny you should ask… I’m working on a nifty logo for the 2016 SDSFF as we speak, I mean as we email.


 Name one thing in your studio you just could not do without.
My motorcycle. 
Regular or Goofy?

The list of previous SDSFF artists is like a who’s who in the world of surf art. I imagine you gotta be bringing your A-game on this one?

Ugh…I can’t handle the pressure. I resign as official artist of the 2016 SDSFF. Actually I’m just pulling your big fat hairy leg. 
Thankfully, I really believe my creative brew is peaking. If all goes well, I’m planning to bring the full force of my experience and rad vibe.
Last question, could this be one of the greatest things to ever happen to you?
Absolutely. Surf+Film+ Art. What could be better?
 I love you man.
I love you.
For more information on the upcoming San Diego Surf Film Festival 2016 list of events, please visit
For more of Damian Fulton’s amazing art, please visit:
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