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Feature length documentary about 6 surfers who pioneered the surf break at famed Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ in the 1960's. Read more

New York, NY Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on March 17, 2013.

Feature length documentary about 6 surfers who pioneered the surf break at famed Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ in the 1960's.

New York, NY Documentary
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About this project

As the surf boom took hold in the 60's, Casino Pier was not only one of the best surf spots on the east coast, it was one of the most competitive and closely guarded by the locals. The Pier has been an icon for decades and is now all but destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. This is the story of these surfers and the Pier- then and now.  Featuring the surf legends who inspired and surfed with them: Gerry Lopez, Shaun Tomson, Corky Carroll, Mike Doyle, Mickey Munoz and David Nuuhiwa.

Casino Pier, Seaside Heights NJ
Casino Pier, Seaside Heights NJ

A Life Outside is a story of passion and obsession. It’s the story of the relationships of six New Jersey surfers: Greg Mesanko, Chris Mesanko, Kevin Casey, Jim Purpuri, Richard Luthringer, and Bucky Walters. Each one of them got on a surfboard for the first time about 50 years ago and haven’t stopped their pursuit of surf to this day. Pioneering surf at the famed Casino Pier in Seaside Heights NJ, in the 60’s, surfing freezing waters before wetsuits existed, when boards were long and heavy, skipping school when the swell was up, enduring criticism and low opinions by those who did not surf-these guys found themselves inside the grip of a passion, an obsession so deep, that only those who ride waves would understand. But surfing the Pier was a privilege earned, a territory fiercely protected. You didn’t just own a board and paddle out, you had to be invited and then prove quickly that you were good enough to be allowed in. So while surfing was a connection, friendships were complicated by the fierce competition in the water.

Out of the water, surf shops were the gathering spot, the clubhouse, and Greg Mesanko's shop, Grog’s Surf Palace in Seaside Park, was the mecca of the east coast. His shop created an intersection of surfers from around the world as surf culture and industry began to build. Legendary surfers Mike Doyle, Gerry Lopez, Corky Carroll, Shaun Tomson, Mickey Munoz, David Nuuhiwa- all came and surfed in NJ because of Greg’s unique vision that put Casino Pier on the map. A Life Outside weaves their stories along side the lives of the NJ men, exposing that regardless of fame or monetary rewards - at the core is the same unrestrained passion and single focus to surf.

Grog's Surf Palace, Seaside Park 1960's
Grog's Surf Palace, Seaside Park 1960's
Inside Grog's Surf palace with Greg Mesanko and Shaun Tomson,
Inside Grog's Surf palace with Greg Mesanko and Shaun Tomson,
Seaside Heights
Seaside Heights

Today, close to 50 years later, all these guys are still surfing. In September 2012, we filmed a surf trip in Baja MX with the NJ crew. Corky Carroll, Mike Doyle and Mickey Munoz joined us for an amazing week where we captured footage in and out of the water- great surfing and great surf stories. Then, just 3 weeks after returning home to NJ, Hurricane Sandy hit. Towns, homes, and the Casino Pier were destroyed. The lives of our NJ crew forever changed.

Greg Mesanko at Casino Pier after the storm
Greg Mesanko at Casino Pier after the storm

A Life Outside is about more than surfing.  Its a story about not giving up or giving in, and having the courage- in and out of the water- to live life deeply and without compromise.

Filming began 2 years ago in NJ with interviews and documentary footage featuring Greg Mesanko, Chris Mesanko, Kevin Casey, Jim Purpuri, Richard Luthringer and Bucky Walters shot in NJ.

Roundtable shoot, NJ
Roundtable shoot, NJ

Interviews and documentary footage have also been filmed with surfing legends Gerry Lopez, Shaun Tomson, Corky Carroll Mickey Munoz, Mike Doyle, and David Nuuhiwa.

Gerry Lopez, Bend Oregon
Gerry Lopez, Bend Oregon
Mike and Annie Doyle
Mike and Annie Doyle
Corky Carroll and his wife, Raquel
Corky Carroll and his wife, Raquel
Shaun Tomson, Santa Barbara, Ca
Shaun Tomson, Santa Barbara, Ca
Mickey Munoz and Bucky Walters
Mickey Munoz and Bucky Walters
David Nuuhiwa, Huntington Beach, Ca
David Nuuhiwa, Huntington Beach, Ca

In September 2012, we filmed in Mexico with the NJ crew along with Mickey Munoz, Mike Doyle and Corky Carroll. This includes water photography as well as footage filmed on land.

filming Mike Doyle
filming Mike Doyle
filming Mickey Munoz
filming Mickey Munoz

We’ve researched and located archival film footage and photographs of Casino Pier and the NJ guys and surf legends from the earliest days of surfing.

Filming continued during and after Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park NJ.

Greg Mesanko and Jim Purpuri survey the damage at the Pier
Greg Mesanko and Jim Purpuri survey the damage at the Pier
Jim Purpuri's home was destroyed by Sandy
Jim Purpuri's home was destroyed by Sandy

We are 2 years into this production and ready to begin post-production. Because of the destructive impact of Hurricane Sandy on the NJ surfers, the story is still evolving and more filming is needed as reconstruction of Seaside Heights and Casino Pier begins. We were fortunate to have some funds and generous contributions of time and camera gear to get us through this initial, expensive phase of filming but now need your help to fund the amount of money required for the filming, editing, sound mixing, music, and archival footage licensing to make this film complete.

Making a film is an extremely expensive and time consuming process and we’ve already invested a considerable amount of both. We need some funds to cover additional filming over the next 2 months but most of our remaining expenses will be to cover Post-Production. This includes editing, audio mixing, color correcting and creating masters for theatrical screening. These are all very necessary, technical, and highly skilled aspects of finishing a film. And then you can’t make a film without music, and music licensing is an additional and considerable cost. We are also including archival film and stills in our film, and this too is another licensing fee.

It’s important to understand that Kickstarter and Amazon each take a fee when a project is funded. Kickstarter takes 5%; Amazon takes an additional 3-5%.

That leaves us getting between 37,800 -to 38,640 when we reach our goal of 42,000.We realize this is a big number, but in the realm of filmmaking it’s a bare minimum to get our film done. If we are fortunate enough to go over our goal it will help by giving us more time to do all we need to do.

We hope you will contribute and become a part of our production team and help get this film finished!

This documentary is for those who want to see and hear inspiring stories. Stories about following your dreams and living life without compromise, even in the midst of crisis. Making a film is an expensive undertaking but with Kickstarter's unique crowd funding structure we can finish this film and make A Life Outside available to all who want to see it.

I have been directing and producing all sorts of film and television projects for years, including commercials, network and cable programming. This is my first feature documentary. Film is a collaborative medium, and I’ve been working with the best team possible. This includes, from NY, my fearless DP, Peter Trilling, (who got his first surf lesson by the way, while filming with Corky Carroll in MX) to LA based DP Russell Brownley, who captured the most amazing footage of all the guys, in and out of the water. Water photography is an art to itself and working with Russell and his crew, Nic McLean and Josh Colegrove, was a highlight along this production trail.

The team! Russell Brownley, DP, Catherine Brabec, Director, Nic McLean and Joshua Colegrove, cinematographers, with the surfers
The team! Russell Brownley, DP, Catherine Brabec, Director, Nic McLean and Joshua Colegrove, cinematographers, with the surfers

Once we are successfully funded, we will continue with production, filming in Seaside Heights in March to follow through the stories of the NJ surfers. Funds raised through Kickstarter will also be used for music and archival footage licensing, as well as all aspects of post-production- color correcting, sound design and mixing. The edit will begin immediately, and we are projecting an initial rough cut to be complete by May 2013 and the final cut finished by Sept 2013

Risks and challenges

The process of documentary film making holds a lot of the unknown. As in life, obstacles can occur at any point in the process. Anything can happen, even hurricanes! At this point in the production, the impact of obstacles we may encounter would only affect schedule.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

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    SPECIAL EDITION T-SHIRT DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR A LIFE OUTSIDE!
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    Tour Seaside Heights and the Casino Pier and have lunch with the director and one or more of the NJ surfers in the film (travel not included.) PLUS all the above AND your credit on the film gets boosted from a 'thank-you' to Associate Producer.

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    This pledge rewards you with the surf experience of a lifetime! A week long surf adventure trip in Mexico with the legendary Corky Carroll! All expenses for two, except for airfare. PLUS all the above.

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Funding period

- (30 days)