Back to News

EVENT: Central Coast Premiere of Ocean Driven at SLO Film Fest’s Annual Surf Nite

February 3, 2016

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival’s internationally renowned “Surf Nite in SLO” is back for its 11th year with a new documentary about Big Wave surfer Chris Bertish and the day that changed big wave surfing forever. The famed Maverick’s champion and professional speaker will travel from his home in South Africa to join Maverick’s pioneer, Jeff Clark on the stage of the historic Fremont Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo on Friday, March 18 after the Central Coast premiere of Ocean Driven. This event is presented by Visit San Luis Obispo County and Film Commission.

Directed by Santa Cruz filmmaker Nadia Tarlow, Ocean Driven is a true and gripping story that chronicles the development of South African big wave surfer Chris Bertish. His single-minded pursuit of his dreams and refusal to let seemingly insurmountable obstacles stand in his way culminates with his winning the world's most prestigious big wave surfing competition in 2010 at Mavericks, a famed surf break just south of San Francisco. Moments after nearly drowning, Bertish took the world by storm in the largest waves ever seen in a competition. Ocean Driven is a tale of overcoming obstacles and fears, redefining what is possible, and inspiring viewers to never give up in pursuit of their dreams. This exciting documentary features many big wave legends, ocean specialists, and breathtaking images.

Besides surfing the largest wave in competition (and winning), Chris Bertish is also a Standup Surfboard champion, and holds the South African Open Ocean SUP 24-hour distance world record. He now has his sights set on paddling across the Atlantic Ocean, alone, on a custom built SUP. Bertish travels the world as a motivational keynote and Ted-X guest speaker, and is also the author of “Stoked!” 

“Chris Bertish speaks from the heart, and from vast experience, to convince his audience of the power of the human spirit to overcome the greatest obstacles.”

– Steve Pike, WaveScape Speakers Night

Just 20 minutes south of San Francisco, and 1/2 mile offshore from Pillar Point Harbor, Mavericks is a winter destination for some of the world’s best big wave surfers. Very few are willing to risk the hazardous, sometimes deadly, conditions. An invitation only contest is held there most winters, when the waves come and only 24 of the best-conditioned big wave surfing professionals in the world compete against each other to win this prestigious competition. Several of this year’s Mavericks competitors are expected to attend Surf Nite depending on when the contest is announced. It is possible that it will begin any time in February or March.

Surf Nite in SLO has honored an amazing array of surf legends since its first year in 2006.  Gerry Lopez, Greg Noll, Nat Young, Linda Benson, and Mavericks champions Peter Mel and Darryl “Flea” Virostko are a sampling of the surf celebrities who have travelled to San Luis Obispo to attend the annual event at the Fremont Theatre. The oversized screen in the art deco theatre is the ideal venue for movies about big waves, and Ocean Driven follows in the tradition of new documentaries with exciting and daring cinematography.

The evening at the Fremont Theatre will begin at 7:30pm with a unique local legend, “Pismo”, the surfing goat. Ever since Pismo’s owner, Dana McGregor taught his pet goat to surf in Pismo Beach, the two have been getting plenty of media attention and were recently profiled in a National Geographic segment about unusual animals. A short film will illustrate Pismo’s amazing talents as a surfer, and the celebrity goat will be in attendance to meet his fans and “sign” copies of McGregor’s new children’s book, “Goatee, the Surfing Goat.”

Also in attendance will be Greg Linden, VP of the Big Wave World Tour. Linden recently gained attention for surfing the daunting waves of Hawaii’s “Jaws” at 65 years old. Living proof that “old guys rule,” Linden is looking forward to joining the festivities, which include a happy hour and after-party in the festival’s HOLLYWOOD & VINES Tent, sponsored by the City of San Luis Obispo. Beer and wine will also be available in the Fremont Theatre lobby beginning at 7pm.

Surf Nite in SLO is presented by Visit San Luis Obispo County & Film Commission, and also sponsored by the Boutique Hotel Collection, the City of Pismo Beach, Q104.5, Quality Suites of San Luis Obispo, Saint Archer Beer, Creeky Tiki and Mother’s Tavern.

Surf Nite in SLO
Friday, March 18, 2016

Hollywood & Vines Tent  - Happy Hour/Meet & Greet – 5:00 – 7:00pm
(located directly behind the Fremont Theatre - 1025 Monterey St. SLO)

Fremont Theatre - Pismo the Surfing Goat – 7:30 pm followed by

+ OCEAN DRIVEN with special guests Chris Bertish, Jeff Clark, Nadia Tarlow & Greg Linden

$15 General / $10 Students & SLOIFF Film Society.
Only Movie Mogul Passes accepted for the movie and Happy Hour Party.

Hollywood & Vines Tent  - Surf Nite After-Party - 9:00-11:00pm
Live music, food, wine, beer.
Mogul passes and Surf Nite tickets will be accepted for this party.

A number of special-event tickets are on sale now at The complete festival schedule and film lineup will be announced in early February. Press credentials will be available for approved media representatives, please email Elissa Wiese for those details. Photos are available upon request.