Wine and Surfboards

A surfer competing during the longboard contest

“Wine and surfing go hand in hand,” says Josh Beckett, one of the founders of Wine, Waves and Beyond, a wine-surf-philanthropy-culture event held for the first time last year: “They are both an art form, a love affair and a way of life. Some of the best waves in the world are in the same areas as the best wines.” The winemaker for Chronic Cellars who enjoys adrenaline sports, Beckett acted on this hunch to merge surfing with wine in 2010 with the first annual Wine, Waves and Beyond, an event combining environmental awareness and positive surf energy with the pleasure of adult beverages matched well to good food. “Our goal,” says Beckett, “was to produce a weekend featuring surf and wine-inspired events which contributes significantly to the economy while promoting the lifestyle of San Luis Obispo County.” Last year’s events included included a surf film screening, a brew masters dinner, a longboard contest, a bikini fashion show and, of course, wine tasting. Over 2500 wine-surf enthusiasts attended the inaugural event.

Freemont marquee lit up the night of the screening

The kick-off event to the first Wine, Waves and Beyond, a screening of Chris Malloy’s 180° South, helped draw a new audience to the weekend’s wine and food events. This film follows several young adventurers discovering themselves and their environment by surfing, climbing, and sailing their way to the southern terminus of the Americas much as Yvon Chouinard and friends did in 1968 (as recorded in Mountain of Storms). The stated goal of Malloy’s beautiful, poignant film is to inspire young people to realize that they can follow their dreams and still be responsible for the health of the earth and its most beautiful places. The film was presented by Chris Malloy’s brother Keith who also appeared in the film, adding a mellow celebrity factor to the evening. The screening of 180° South drew 700 viewers to SLO’s Freemont Theatre for the opening event that effectively linked environmentalism, personal responsibility, and the Stoke in a way that lifted and propelled the weekend.

Shane Stoneman rocking out with his band

Barrel to Barrel wine tasting on Friday

Many people who turned out to catch the screening of 180° South decided to come back the next day for the main tasting event. They also helped get the word out to others about events throughout the weekend. This made for a more diverse crowd as guests milled among the 50 wineries, 5 breweries, several food vendors, and a range of artists during Friday’s “Barrel to Barrel” event integrating wine, beer, and food with local arts and music, including Shane Stoneman’s band. Brooke Mattingley of The Cliffs Resort helped administer the event; she observed how “The mellowness of the surf community mixed really well with Friday’s casual pouring event.” Noting that many surfers like wine but not the stereotypical wine stuffiness of traditional tasting events, Brooke notes, “There was a great mix of old and young at the event. I saw local surfers who were 40+ walking around and talking with the younger crowd. We had a great number of people from every age group. It was amazing to see how many surfers really have a passion for wine.” Friday’s “Barrel to Barrel” event had it all: good food and drink, live music, a lively auction to benefit AmpSurf, local artists, bikini fashion, and more. The crowd filled the lawn of The Cliffs Resort and enjoyed the special matrix of which they were a part.

Surfers riding out for their heat

Saturday’s Brew Masters Dinner with Firestone Walker Brewing Company allowed the food and beer relationship to shine without having to share the spotlight with wine. Pairing five of their beers with a different dish prepared by a local chef, Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson discussed the beers and the various dishes. The weekend concluded with a longboard surf contest on Sunday that brought together surfers of many ages, skill levels, and a range of abilities. Twelve of the seventy entries into the longboard contest were winemakers. Surf judges for the event included Phil Ruff, Dave Ybarra Sr., Dave Ybarra Jr., and Michael Phares. Well-known Huntington Beach longboarder Mike Downey MC’d the event.

Winemakers and brewmasters receiving their awards

Ok, so there’s wine and there’s waves, but what’s the “beyond?” Intent to knock it out of the park, the organizers of this diverse weekend decided to raise money for AmpSurf, a non-profit started right here on the Central Coast. The organizers of Wine, Waves, and Beyond decided to make fundraising a part of the weekend because, as Brooke observed, “That’s what makes a good event: no one wants to come and spend money so that it can go back to corporate America. Our events are not about raising more money for ourselves. They are about supporting the communities that surround us and getting amazing people involved.”

AmpSurf holds many of their clinics at Pismo Beach and are well known in the local surfing community. Their mission is to promote,inspire, educate, and rehabilitate people with disabilities, especially veterans, through adaptive surfing & inclusive fun and safe outdoor activities. When Wine, Waves, and Beyond organizers contacted AmpSurf executive director Dana Cummings, he was very eager to join the board and help plan the event. This enthusiasm certainly contributed to the overall good energy of the event. Wine, Waves and Beyond was pleased to donate $11,000 to AmpSurf after this fun, successful weekend.

More info: AmpSurf


If you like to infuse your pleasure with a purpose, be sure to secure your tickets for 2011 Wine, Waves and Beyond.

2011 Wine Waves and Beyond, June 2-5


VW with all the bells and whistles, one of 20 on display by the VW Club

Shane Stoneman and Barrel to Barrel crowd photos: Jimmy De

Fremont Theatre photo: Rachel Goldman

All other photos: SNL Photography

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