New documentary inspired by local event

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — As a teaser to one of the most anticipated community events of the year, a VIP party was in full swing on Sept. 7 to premiere the popular new documentary “Manufacturing Stoke.”
The Cardiff 101 Main Street organization has teamed with the nonprofit to host the Cardiff Surf Classic and Rerip Green Fest on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 at Seaside Beach.
The event will include a surf contest, live music, local organic food, a kid’s zone and a Green Fest comprised of eco-friendly businesses, government agencies and nonprofits bringing education and awareness of sustainability to our communities.
Filmmaker Pierce Kavanagh was so encouraged after attending the event last year that he set out to make a documentary about the sustainability of the surf industry. “I was totally inspired by the people I met there and the kinds of things they were doing,” he said.
In collaboration with his wife, Petra, the couple finished the film in seven months — just in time to show it prior to this year’s festival.
“It’s really come full circle,” he said at the party. “We knew this project was destined to be done.”
Meghan Dambacher, co-founder of, said the film was an important piece of the puzzle in changing the way people view consumption.
“I think it’s already making an impact,” she said about the documentary. “It’s educational for people on all levels.”
Far from a scathing review of the evils of an industry bent on making a buck at all costs, Kavanagh said the film is more revealing in the changes that can and are being made within the world of surfing.
As the film opens with a surf montage, the narrator evokes the dichotomy of a surfer riding a board made of toxic materials atop pristine waves.
“The coolest industry on the planet and we’re being kooks,” he said. “Some of them know they’re not doing the right thing.”
While some established companies are making changes to the way they do business in an effort to achieve a more sustainable environmental product, Kavanagh said it’s a slow process.
“They all have a long way to go and they know it.”
Ocean Beach-based Hess Surfboards owner Danny Hess notes the “contradiction in terms” of the lack of sustainability of surfers and the industry that feeds an insatiable desire to buy more stuff.
The film makes a point that the young surfers’ attitudes are major tipping points in the way companies do business.
“Kids get it, they understand that we have to take care of the ocean, that we can’t just keep producing stuff that will magically vanish,” local resident Dean Preston said. “They’re the ones that are challenging the mindset that more is better.”
“Hopefully it kicks them in the butt,” Kavanagh said, referring to the film. “It’s a nice kick in the butt but it holds them accountable.”


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