SurfNRG has announced the release of their 11th volume to the award winning video series produced by SURFER Magazine Senior Staff Photographer Kevin Welsh. SOLAR ENERGY will premiere on the big screen at twenty-two locations along the East Coast of the U.S. and include live performances by Roots Recording artists "Boxelder". Segments from the Surfer Magazine/OP PRO Boat Trip Challenge video will also be shown throughout the evening and plenty of give-a-ways from the tour sponsors are planned for the summertime events as well.
The 2002 SURF NRG EAST COAST SUMMER TOUR kicked off August 14th with an outddoor showing at Da Kine Diego’s "Bamboo Theatre" in Satellite Beach, Florida. Later that evening the show resumes at the STORM CLUB in Cocoa Beach featuring live performances by Roots Music recording artists "Boxelder", "Doorway 27" and "Freeflow Conspiracy" along with special guests "Pepper". The tour then heads north through the coastal towns of St. Augustine and Jacksonville before leaving the Sunshine State for the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and to as far north as Mantoloking, New Jersey. The tour returns to Florida in mid-September concluding in Orlando with blowout shows at the House of Blues and The Social during Surf Expo tradeshow weekend.
The SURF NRG EAST COAST SUMMER TOUR has become synonymous as a fun social gathering for surfers of all ages. Since its inception in 1991 SurfNRG has produced one video program per year and has toured with it to audiences along the East Coast as far as Miami to Rhode Island.
Producer and promoter Kevin Welsh comments, "My intentions since my very first show was to restore the vibe from 70′s and 80′s while growing up surfing in Cocoa Beach when the latest surf movie would pack out the Surfside Playhouse. When I released my first video, SurfNRG vol. #1, back in ’91 I decided to premiere it at four venues within my home state of Florida. The opening show was at the now defunct Brassy’s Night Club in Cocoa Beach. Here’s my name on the marquise and no one’s showing up except my Mom, Dad and older brother. It was pretty scary at first. All of a sudden a rush of surfers packed into the club where they hooted and hollered for over an hour to footage I had then recently shot of the epic Halloween Swell. RC’s in Satellite Beach was goin’ off ! Charlie Kuhn had a ride for over a minute in some of the biggest surf I’ve ever seen in Florida. Matt Kechele towed in (something really new at the time), Jeff Crawford took off way back, Bill Hartley rode a 9’1" – and that swell became major East Coast history."
Eleven years later the SurfNRG East Coast Summer Tour still packs them in and keeps them hootin’ and hollerin’ at footage Welsh compiles as he travels aro und the world with an elite crew of surfers in search of the perfect wave.
SOLAR ENERGY – The Movie
"The two and a half days of flying time getting to Indo was quite grueling but once we boarded the boat and smelled the salt spray off the Indian Ocean we knew we were in for a surf trip of a lifetime" comments the veteran photojournalist and video maker.
That night the crew onboard the "Nusantara" journeyed 126 miles across open ocean swell and reached their first destination on the south end of the Mentawai Island chain.
The boat Welsh and his crew chartered was a newly documented 62′ power catamaran custom designed solely for surf charters in the wave-rich Mentawais.
One of the crew joining Welsh and his toolbox of hi-tech documentary camera gear to the Mentawais included 14 year old grom Adam Wickwire of Satellite Beach, Florida. Wickwire was recently named the #1 surfer aged 14 and under in Surfer Magazine’s special "Hot 100" issue and for good reason. Not only is Adam a three-time National Amateur Champion he’s also known by many of the current top professionals as one of the most promising talents to follow in the footsteps of Kelly Slater and the Hobgood twins.
"He totally blew minds in Indo surfing way beyond his years", comments Reef Team Captain Jeremy Saukel who’s watched Wickwire progress over the past several years. Also onboard were 15 year old Gulfcoast surfer Sterling Spencer, New Jersey pro-star Ryan Kimmel, California’s 18 year-old Travis Mellem along with seasoned pro and REEF team manager Jeremy Saukel.
Aside from the incredible surfing footage SOLAR ENERGY also captures the cultural ambience of the local Katiek Village tribe. While anchored off the island of Sipora surfing a reef break named "H.T.’s (Hollow Trees) the natives paddle up alongside the "Nusantara" in their hollowed out canoes in hopes of selling some of their hand carved wooden sculptures. After the crew onboard the Nusantara exchange "rupia" (the local currency) for some crafts Wickwire and Saukel test their skills in archery which makes for a rather humorous section in the video.
Another section in SOLAR ENERGY highlights the Olympio Pro Classic Surfing Event staged at the infamous surf break"Soup Bowl" on the East Coast of Barbados. Seventeen years ago Welsh journeyed to Barbados for his first time with a crew that included grommets (surfer slang for young surfers) Sean and Kelly Slater. Twenty something trips later to the island Welsh focuses his lens once again upon the Slaters as well as some of the top surfers from the East Coast and Caribbean. Welsh explains, "I was surprised to see that Kelly blew off the first event of the North Shore season to compete with all his long-time buddies down in Barbados. It was definitely a fun event for him from the moment he paddled out for his first free surf session at Soup Bowl to the moment he popped open the congratulatory bottle of champagne and sprayed the audience celebrating his win".
Also included in the SOLAR ENERGY is an interview with current A.S.P. World Surfing Champion CJ Hobgood, also from Welsh’s hometown of Satellite Beach, Florida. SurfNRG cameras were rolling on the North Shore of Hawaii this past winter prior to and up to the moment CJ was crowned the ASP World Champ. It was a fairy-tale finish for the elder of the top-rated Hobgood duo, which includes CJ’s twin brother Damien who finished ninth overall and was the previous years recipient of the "ASP Rookie of the Year Award". The final event of the ASP Tour which decided who’d become World Champion was staged at Sunset Beach. In a nail-biting finish it was one of the ecstatic champs closest friends, Ben Bourgeois of North Carolina, that inevitably deciphered the fate of the years #1 rated surfer. "I love Benny", yelled CJ to the crowd as Bourgeois took down Mark Occilupo then Danny Wills giving CJ the World Championship title.