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From Film Fests to Book Signings, Here’s What’s Cooking Around South County

By Jake Howard

Summer may be well in the rearview mirror, but between the steady run of swell and consistently epic events around San Clemente and Dana Point, there’s a lot to be stoked on as we barrel into the holiday season.

Starting things off with our eyes on the horizon, the Coast Film Festival is going down in Laguna Beach this week. The festival was slated to open with a premiere of the new travel documentary Birth of the Endless Summer: Discovery of Cape St. Francis at the Hobie shop in Laguna Beach on Wednesday night, Nov. 10.

The festival is jam-packed with some really inspiring outdoor films, but for the surfers out there, you’re not going to want to miss the screenings for Waterman, a documentary detailing the life and times of Duke Kahanamoku, and Girls Can’t Surf, which tells a revealing story of what women in the early days of professional surfing had to endure to get to where we are today. Both films are showing on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Waterman and Birth of the Endless Summer, as well as Shorebreak The Movie, the history of skimboarding, and Lost Prophets, an ode to Laguna Beach surf culture, are playing on Sunday, Nov. 14. Newport-based musician Matt Costa will perform some tunes on Sunday, Nov. 15, as well. For more info, go to

On the subject of the early days of women in professional surfing, author and surf historian Jim Kempton will host a book signing for his new tome, Women on Waves, at Basham’s Surf Shop in San Clemente this Saturday, from 3-4:30 p.m. Besides a chance to meet the author and have him sign a copy of the book, there’s also going to be a panel discussion with a number of big-name surf legends from past and present.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and really interesting to hear the stories of surfers like Jericho Poppler, who plays such a larger-than-life role in all of this,” Kempton told the San Clemente Times. “And to be able to have an event like this down in the Surf Ghetto, where there’s so much history and such a long tradition of surfboard building, it should be a good afternoon for the whole community.”

And speaking of community, it was a blistering day of surfing down at Church last Saturday, Nov. 6, as the West Coast Board Riders event scored some seriously good surf for the season opener.

With a stacked team anchored by the likes of Dino Andino, Matt Archbold, Kirra Pinkerton, Nate Yeomans and the Gudauskas brothers, the squad dominated the day, posting the highest point total in the history of the West Coast Board Riders.

Brandon Ragenovich put in the inspired MVP performance, while the club was able to raise $3,000 in scholarship funds for Sawyer Lindblad as she continues her journey to qualify for the WSL Championship Tour.

Rounding out the results for the day, Newport Beach finished second, Laguna Beach finished third, and Dana Point finished fourth.

The San Clemente Board Riders partnered with iconic wetsuit maker Rip Curl to take the club’s already powerful reputation to the next level. Photo: Courtesy of Rip Curl

Besides the win, the big news for San Clemente is the new partnership with Rip Curl. The iconic wetsuit brand, which is headquartered in town, is putting its support behind the leadership of club President Benji Severson and Vice President Frankie D’Andrea.

“From what I’ve witnessed and experienced personally, the Board Riders is more than a club; it is community and family,” Severson says. “A place where kids compete alongside their heroes and heroes alongside surfing’s icons, and families compete together. All supported by the broader community of San Clemente that loves its surf history and celebrates surfing’s future. Big thanks to Rip Curl for all the support!”

“We’re fired up to be the presenting sponsor of the local San Clemente Board Riders club,” says PJ Connell, Rip Curl North America’s director of marketing. “Aside from the financial support we provide for all their growth endeavors, we are also psyched to provide our headquarters as a place for the team to activate fundraiser events, supply product from our local retail flagships and aid in the production of the technical equipment the club needs to perform at the competitive level.”

Jake Howard is local surfer and freelance writer who lives in San Clemente. A former editor at Surfer Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, today he writes for a number of publications, including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.

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