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Hurricane Playlist: Pepa Knight

I sat in the Surfers Coffee Bar on an ordinary work day, trying to think of a band to write about for a weekend music feature.My friend, Tyler, was visiting from California and plopped down next to me as I stared blankly at my screen, weary from browsing. Seeing the chance to get some fresh ideas, I asked him to tell me a good band that I may have not heard of before. He grabbed his phone, scrolled through some music and threw out a name that was to become my new favorite band: ‘Jinja Safari’.

Fast forward to a few years later: Still growing in popularity and stretching beyond the borders of their native Australia, Jinja not only thrives as a group, but is made up of insanely talented solo musicians. Cofrontman of the band, Pepa Knight is one of those who has branched out to produce a solo project, and the first samples are TASTY.

Today, we introduce you to perhaps his most popular single, ‘Rahh!’

Pepa creates a surprising sound, picking colorful, lesser-used instruments like the sitar and the flute to accompany soothing, yet energy-filled vocals.
‘Rahh!’s use of drums- a very significant and spiritual instrument in many cultures- sets it all to life; carrying the song and waking you up with the rhythm of adventure. Jinja Safari was inspired by the sounds of the world, with frontman Marcus Azon crafting the feel and even the name of the band after his experiences in Jinja, Uganda. Pepa recently took a trip himself across India and that has heavily inspired what he’s written.

The fact that the creator of the music is a globe-trotter himself may explain the vagabond feeling that you get when you hear ”Rahh!’
It’s a song that seems made to accompany an epic sun rise; a reminder of the fresh and the new. It was made for one of those car rides where your arm stretches out of your window, and your fingertips float with the curves of the wind. It’s an ‘I’m awake to the world and going somewhere!’ song.

Inspiring, fun, refreshing.
It’s everything you want your weekend, or your life for that matter, to be.

Enjoy the sounds of Pepa Knight and follow him here as you wait for the release of the full album ‘Hypnotized’ in April 2015!


Just Passing Through…

Besides hitting the waves on International Surfing Day, another great way to celebrate the stoke of the ocean is to check out Reef’s latest surf short, “De Passage” created by Director and Cinematographer Russell Brownley in conjunction with Reef’s Global Creative Director, Mark Tesi.

Brownley is known for surf films such as “Walking on Water,” “Fading West” and “Promised Land” but is particularly special to Surfing the Nations because of his short documentary on Bangladesh called “Gum for my Boat.” Known for his ability to connect surfing and culture in meaningful ways, the debut of Brownley’s latest work is perfectly timed for International Surfing Day.

Brownley’s portrayal of the natural beauty of the ocean as well as the raw stoke of the people who surf its swells emphasizes the magnified beauty of each when the two meet in highly charged interactions. Add on the element of travel and “De Passage” fulfills every surf film’s potential to be an addictive, adrenaline-packed adventure laid out before the viewers’ eyes. The surreal qualities of Brownley’s videography convey the stoke that every surfer can identify with and that so many non-surfers long to experience.

“De Passage,” French for “Just Passing Through,” follows the surf adventures of Reef representatives throughout five continents and some of the worlds best surf spots. One of the fiercest breeds of explorers in our modern age are surfers. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected throughout all arenas of life, it is important to take time to appreciate the elements of nature that make surfing such a beautiful adventure all around the world.

While this is only the 10 year anniversary of Surfrider Foundation’s International Surfing Day the ideals that it focuses on are a part of our daily goals here at STN. Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine started International Surfing Day as an initiative to combine the fun of surfing with the responsibility of caring for the environment. We at STN focus on combining surfing with humanitarian work locally and internationally…making every day International Surfing Day.


Click here to watch the full length film:



(Written By: Akela Newman)

A Life Outside

In 50 years, do you think you’ll still be surfing?

When you paddle out, the only thing you’re thinking of is that present moment. It’s one of the beauties of surfing- your mind is completely pulled into the here-and-now, no matter how distracted you were before. Most surfers don’t take the time to imagine the future of their home break; the future of their surf community, or the others that will come after them.

Fifty years ago, six boys whose names would one day be well-known, started to surf. They are still surfing even to this day, and now it is their time to look back on a time when they never looked back, and tell their stories through the upcoming film A Life Outside.

A Life Outside is a feature length documentary by Catherine Brabec that tells the story of  Greg Mesanko, Chris Mesanko, Kevin Casey, Jim Purpuri, Richard Luthringer, and Bucky Walters. These six men followed a passion that brought them to pioneer the surf break at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Their story is one of courage; of braving the crowd that spoke against their surfing, and of proving themselves in the highly competitive surf break. It’s about passion and the unreal commitment that has caused them to paddle out time and time again over these past fifty years. It’s about a time where surfing was looked down upon and unpopular, and the relationships that were bonded through that experience.

Being a surfer from the East Coast, I appreciate men like these who have established the surfing lifestyle in their area. They’ve done it by doing something as simple as loving surfing and pursuing it with passion, and as difficult as standing against the ridicule and disapproval of others. It is men like these that we have to thank for bringing the surfing lifestyle to life in places it never had been before. They are leaving a legacy for The Pier, for New Jersey, and the entire East Coast for generations.

This is a film that is still in the works and can only be brought to completion through your help. In this day and age, everyone is able to effortlessly document their lives: Instagram, youtube, etc. Immortalizing something takes literally a few minutes. What we can’t do though, is have easy access to the valuable memories and stories of the past. Here is a unique and worthwhile opportunity to invest in the production of this film, hear and see these stories and immortalize them for future generations. And maybe one day, fifty years from now, you’ll have your own story because of those people before you who at one point, never looked back.

If you want to see this film, make it happen: Donate through Kickstarter now! There’s only 15 days to go!



Photo courtesy of Catherine Brabec.










If you’re anything like me, documentaries can be a bit dangerous.

I just watched a great documentary called This Way of Life about a family in rural New Zealand overcoming obstacles and living a simple, yet satisfying life.

The whole hour and twenty minutes of the film caused me to suddenly want a farm with six kids, fifty horses and a few dogs here and there. I felt that I had to go swim in the river on horseback and walk through wide open fields every day.

Then I  saw the trailer for the documentary Blood Brother which tells the story of a young man who gives everything to work with children infected with HIV in India. Moments into the two minute and nineteen seconds of this trailer, I decide it is vital for me to pack up and head out to a village in the middle of nowhere and never look back.

Non-fiction. Documentaries. Real- life stories. Perhaps I saw these lifestyles and immediately wanted to feel and experience the things I’d seen: the struggle, the bonds, the hope, the pain; Or perhaps these desires and dreams have already been imbedded in my soul for a long time. Maybe this non-fiction reel shows my eyes what my soul has only imagined, displaying it through the stories of others.

Non-fiction says ”It’s possible. It’s real. it’s happening now, and you can be a part of it.”

Documentaries used to be associated with an older generation, only useful for looking into the past. They seemed too ‘school like’ for the younger generation that were on the way to something new. Now, documentaries are popping up everywhere on every subject and have proven to be some of the most inspirational fuel existing in media. We live in the information age. Visionaries have taken that wealth of information, added vision, focus and inspiration and used it to produce powerful works of art.

Maybe we should be call this time the ‘create age’ or the ‘art age’. Are we in our own digital renaissance? While you ponder that,

Here are some of our favorite documentaries and some we’re stoked on seeing soon.  Some old, some new, all good:

‘Nord for Sola’ or ‘North of the Sun’ is a new surf film that just took away ‘Best Documentary’  and ‘Viewers Choice Award’ at the London Surf Film Festival . This film follows two crazy Norwegians who decide to spend the winter in one of the coldest places you could find, and, you guessed it, surf. This one got amazing reviews, and we’re pretty sure our Swedish staff and interns will be stoked to see some fellow Scandinavians getting such recognition in the surf world (and as we live in slippers/flip flops  every day of the year here in Hawaii, I automatically highest respect for anyone that will face the cold like these guys)!

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Gum For My Boat: If you’ve known STN for a while, you’ve definitely heard of  Gum For My Boat  The film follows pro surfer Kahana Kalama as he goes to visit an unlikely surf club in Bangaledesh. It is here that he sees how powerful surfing can be in forging relationship and positively influence people’s lives. Sure, it’s about surfing but even deeper it’s about hope and community. One of the most moving stories in the film is the way that the kids in the club learn to care for the needy in their own neighborhood and establish themselves as caretakers of their fellow man.  Check out the trailer below and see the full length documentary here.


Here +Now:  Okay, so it’s not a ‘documentary’ but if anyone can put together an award winning surf film entirely filmed in a single day, it’s Taylor Steele. The man who brought us Sipping Jetsreams and The Drifter and other epic films has done it again with Here + Now. This film is an incredible collaboration of some of the best known film makers and surfers totaling twenty five professionals working on this project. It definitely was no small feat. Here + Now covers not just the waves, but the whole process of the journey we go on to get to the waves, showcasing spots all over the world. We love how it highlights the simple pleasures that come with the surfing lifestyle and the joy that can be found across the globe in every step of the way: to, in, and away from the session.








Let us know your favorite picks! Have an inspiring weekend!


Photo credit Rava Films


Weekend Jam from Strange Talk

When the weather starts to get a little cooler, even if it isn’t exactly ‘cold’ on Oahu, it always seems to remind me of  being a kid during the school year. Specifically, rushing to get as much work done as possible, so I could squeeze out as much sunlight as I could before the shorter days of Autumn started to close in.

This Friday’s Weekend Jam is a song called ‘Castaway’ from the Australian band ‘Strange Talk’  The song is fun and upbeat and the video brings on major childhood nostalgia. Doesn’t  it remind you of being a curious kid exploring your neighborhood with your friends?


Happy Aloha Friday!

photo credit amoeba.com


Blood Brother

Tomorrow is the much anticipated release of the documentary ‘Blood Brother.’ It tells the story of 30 year old Rocky Braat and his choice to spend his life with children in an AIDS orphanage in India.

The trailer for ‘Blood Brother’ is only two minutes and nineteen seconds of your life. Yet the story it opens your eyes to has been woven over years. It has broken through from pain, tears, joy, rejection, choices, freedom, hope, family and love. I haven’t even seen the documentary yet, but the trailer itself was enough to cause me to examine my life and desire to give the most I possibly can for others. Continue Reading

Interactive Installations

I always wish I could be one of the lucky unsuspecting people that happens upon these fun interactive installations. They seem to be popping up everywhere! Have you ever been the one to that gets to try something like this out? Continue Reading

Transformation: A Story Worth Telling

I first saw Abdoul Aziz three years ago while watching the documentary ‘Gum For My Boat.’ He was speaking his native language of Bengali at a beach in Bangladesh and still very much a boy. This morning, I saw Aziz as a grown up man, sit in front of a large group of people in Hawaii and tell his story to a large audience in English.

How do things like this happen? How can a boy that used to throw his books in the bushes on the way to school and go crabbing instead, be captivating an audience in a place and a language that he could never grasp a year ago?

Transformation. It’s a big word, it evokes big dreams, yet ever the paradoxical thing, it always starts small.

STN started going to Bangladesh almost a decade ago. The dream began when Tom Bauer saw that the longest sand beach in the world was in Cox’s Bazar. A few people took off to check it out, and after meeting the first Bengali surfer, connections were made and the forming of the Bangladesh Surf Club took shape. This surf club is made up of boys and girls with stories and Aziz was one of those boys. Surfing is the thing that connected him to these strange foreigners and through his friendships with them, he began to observe that the lives of the surfers he met were different: they came to give and not to take. They acknowledged and cared for those that society had ignored. Aziz’s life slowly started to change: at first with just one board, one wave, one friend.

Through the tireless persistence of those closest to Aziz  and the generosity of many, Aziz got the chance to come to the surfing mecca of Oahu, Hawaii and do an internship with STN. It was there that he began to learn not only more about surfing, but primarily about leadership and what a big role serving plays a part in that. But the story doesn’t end in Hawaii. With the new leadership skills and the hope that has born, Aziz is going back to invest in his country, which is first of all, people.

This video of ‘Transformation’ shows only a small part of Aziz’s story and we hope that it will inspire all of you to take small yet committed steps to bring hope and change to someone’s life.

This video highlights what STN is doing globally. After you check out the video, find out how you can be a part of the vision to bring transformation to the town of Wahiawa through the GIVE 2012.


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Beyond Sight Movie

I’m going to be honest with you.

I have been putting off writing this blog about this film for days. Not because I didn’t want to write it, not because I wasn’t interested in it; on the contrary, I was so inspired and moved by this story that I couldn’t properly translate the emotions that had been inspired into words that made sense.

The film is Walking on Water’sBeyond Sight.” The story is of Derek Rabelo, a blind surfer from Brazil who has overcome his blindness to surf all over the world, and most notably, at Pipeline. I remember the first time I saw Pipeline going off. The spray from the waves seemed to linger and fly off the lips like a monster’s breath. The roar was deafening and overwhelming. People were laying on blankets, standing, sitting, all stretched across the beach, all completely silent, all eyes watching Pipe.

To this day, when I see my friends go out, or anyone for that matter, a prayer automatically slips through my lips. It’s the natural reaction when one sees Pipeline on a big day: Awe. Adrenaline. Hope. Prayer.No matter how good you are as a surfer, the statistic that Pipeline still claims life stands. To go out you have to be pretty crazy, over confident, or perhaps just desperately hungry to try, to prove, to feel the legendary force.

But this story isn’t about Pipeline, this story is about a faith that was bigger than a force of nature, a faith would conquer many challenges, the challenging surf spot just being one.

Derek Rabelo’s father first started to live by faith by asking God for his yet to be born son a pro surfer. Chances seemed more than bleak when Derek was born blind; yet what would limit most of us, didn’t limit Derek. As a teenager, Derek embarked on a challenging three year surf program. Since then, Derek has been one of the crazy, hungry, and able men to not only surf without sight but surf the legendary Pipeline. ”Beyond Sight” highlights Derek’s struggles and triumphs and features surfing greats such as Damien Hobgood, CJ Hobgood, Laird Hamilton, Rob Machado, Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson, Makua Rothman, Lakey Peterson, and Coco Ho, just to name a few.

Most of us throw around the term ‘live by faith and not by sight’. We live by faith usually when we need to and everything else concrete has let us down. But Derek Rabelo has been literally living every moment within that truth.”Beyond Sight”  is destined to be a life changing production for many who see it. Through this film we see a faith that is bigger than Pipeline itself and are challenged to choose faith against our own challenges in life.

Be sure to be on the lookout for the premiere of this film and  the chance to Pre-order DVDs.

Check out the trailer here:


photo cred: surfersvillage.com