Shore-shots Irish surf film festival 2014

by Alison, 09/04/2014

I've been mentioning surf culture a lot in the posts about California. When I say that, I really mean California surf culture. The movie images and ideas that were probably my first exposure to surfing. However they are not something that resonates with my daily experience of surfing. They are a vacation, a luxury.  This experience of surfing is a far cry from home.  

Our island has a unique perspective and experience of surfing that is creating a culture all of its own. Cold water, wind, changing weather, wetsuits, booties, hoods and gloves these are par for the course as an Irish surfer. So too is the brilliant light that can suddenly illuminate a gun-metal grey sea, and turn it into a shimmering emerald and turquoise mass,  the elemental feeling when you are sitting in the line-up with as much water pouring out of the heavens as is below you surfboard, the golden feeling of being in the right place, at the right time when the wind, swell and tides coincide and the satisfaction of a warm fire after a cold day.

Shore-shots Irish Surf Film Festival took place last weekend in the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin. While showing feature length movies during the day the main event was the short film competition. While this competition accepted edits from Ireland and abroad, the main body of entries were Irish.

As you know, Ollie is currently away. This meant that I had to find a new date for the evening and my cousin kindly obliged. A person who I think has a real appreciation for cinema, she felt she knew little about the surfing. Surf movies tend to have limited or no dialogue and I suppose going to one as a non surfer could be akin to going to a foreign film without subtitles. I was amazed by her reaction. They say ''only a surfer knows the feeling'' but these short edits managed to both engage an audience of winter worn surfers while demonstrating the grace and beauty of our waves and landscape and the skill involved in riding them to the uninitiated. It was lovely to see on a big screen these creative, expressions of a sport I love, set in a scene I can resonate with. It really felt like Irish surfing has found its voice and the Shore-shots film festival is giving it a fantastic platform to express itself. 

This platform while competitive, still maintains a feeling of collaboration. As the organisers noted to get surfers from all areas of Ireland to come to a surf festival in Dublin was a massive achievement in its own right. Only in its second year Shore-shots the feeling around the prize giving was one of celebration. Not only for the winners but for Irish surfing in general. As well as supporting photographers and cinematographers, the emphasis on locally produced and home grown items specific to our cold climate was in evidence with products from niche companies such as Benthik and Atlantic equipment. In Ireland creativity and the sea have always been closely linked, and it was lovely that if only one night you could find this many like-minded people under one roof.

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