A Wedge to Remember From Josh Pomer Recalls a Very Recent Massive Storm Surf Break

A Wedge to Remember keeps rollin,' rollin,' rollin.'
A Wedge to Remember keeps rollin,' rollin,' rollin.'
Josh Pomer Films

Hello, he's surf filmmaker Josh Pomer. You may know him from such previous Weekly coverage as the 2013 Newport Beach Film Festival, when his Discovering Mavericks won the Audience Award for Best Action Sports Documentary, the 2010 Newport Beach Film Festival, when his Westsiders won a Festival Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Action Sports or a special screening of his Destination Point.

While I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing A Wedge to Remember, I can safely report it is impressive how quickly Pomer turned his passion project around.

Making its world premiere at the historic Lido Theatre in Newport Beach Saturday, A Wedge to Remember is based on images shot at the famous surf break only weeks ago, on Aug. 27, a day that will go down as a real Big Wednesday.

Pomer explains how it happened:

"You really missed it!"

That's the line every surfer and photographer hates to hear. On Wednesday, August 27th it was the best day for surfing on the Southern California coast in 25 years. Many factors have to come into play in just the right way to make a special swell, which is why it so rarely happens. And with numerous surf spots going off like they hadn't in a quarter of a century, for a photographer like me, it was a nightmare. No matter where I was, I was missing something big happening somewhere else. The night before, I had promised myself I would score the best footage of that epic swell. Boy, was I wrong.

Let's go back to the night before the swell. I was at home checking the web forecast sites and watching the news, looking for clues that would point to the best place to be in the morning.

"Good evening, waves are smashing the coastline tonight," the newscaster said, his voice booming with excitement.

This caught my attention. I turned up the volume. "Lifeguards say they have not seen conditions like this in twenty-five years." Now my full attention was cast on the screen, its glow of possibility emanating.

A Newport Beach lifeguard filled the screen, his eyes round. "The surf is overwhelming with riptides and high surf. Please stay out of the water for your own safety."

The hip kids call this a wipeout.
The hip kids call this a wipeout.
Josh Pomer Films

The weather man chimed in next, describing in great detail the hurricane that was causing the massive swell headed toward Southern California. "Tropical Storm Marie is churning in the Pacific. The monster storm is generating incredible waves. Marie is currently west of the southern tip of Baja, throwing up a big south swell in our area; some of the highest wave conditions we have seen in years."

The news continued to hype the swell. Pictures of Hurricane Marie flashed across the screen, and it was gigantic. It was then that I knew the Wedge would be going off! I didn't want to miss it.

On Wednesday, August 27th I got to the Wedge at 5 a.m. It was still dark but there were already at least a hundred people on the sand, waiting. The ocean air was heavy with anticipation. Five news trucks with satellite feeds hovered behind us. This swell was such a huge news story for the public it surprised even me.

I set up my camera on the beach in the dark and waited along with the rest, knowing when the sun came up, it would shine on the biggest Wedge in 25 years! I was shooting next to veteran photographer Dan Merkel, who has filmed every swell in the area for the last forty years. If I was next to Dan, I was in the right spot.

By the end of the day I had filmed some great rides and even bigger wipeouts. I knew I had scored but I also felt like I really missed it! Everyone was talking about Newport Point, Jaime O'Brien, Klohe Andino, Jordy Smith, and Rob Machado. And everybody kept saying it was pipeline in California. I was so bummed out I missed it, when I was only a mile away the whole time. Then I heard about Sandspit in Santa Barbara. Even people at The Wedge were saying it was all time!

I realized Big Wednesday would make a great subject for a documentary. So I started rounding up the best footage and the best filmers. I interviewed each one about how they happened to score their amazing footage.

Finally, I tracked down legendary Wedge surfer Danny Kwok. The interviews and the surf footage all came together to form A Wedge to Remember.

After the jump, the trailer ...
 

A Wedge To Remember Trailer - The Wedge, Newport Point, Sandspit, Malibu and Lowers. from Joshua Pomer on Vimeo.

The world premiere of A Wedge to Remember begins rolling at 7:30 p.m., followed by a repeat show at 9 p.m., Saturday at what is now called Lido Live Theater, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach. Participants in the film will be around to answer audience questions, and Pomer also promises raffles and giveaways. Score advance tickets from joshpomerfilms.com.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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