Go beyond the surf at Wavescape’s outdoor film festivals

Every December, the Wavescape Surf Film Festival brings a medley of surf films, art, music and ocean conservation education to Cape Town. Organiser Steve Pike tells all about these popular film events.

Wavescape is not just a surf film festival: our focus is on ocean sustainability and conservation. Although surfing was originally the central thread that held the festival together we’ve evolved to include events that are more about the ocean. So you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy Wavescape’s screenings.

The film festival component is mostly surf films, but surf films are eminently watchable, even from a non-surfing point of view, with very beautiful shots of line-ups of waves and coasts. Sometimes they’re documentaries that tell interesting stories, for example we featured one about a Chilean big wave surfer called Ramón Navarro who was trying to save a small fishing community from development.  Another interesting feature was a film about a group of guys who camped in a remote place in the fjords of Norway.

We chose Clifton Fourth beach as the outdoor venue for our annual film screenings because it is probably the most sheltered beach in Cape Town in terms of the wind, and it’s also a beautiful location. The beach itself is big enough to hold a crowd of a couple of thousand people.

As part of the festival we host Slide Night, which features various speakers who have in-depth knowledge of the ocean. Slide Night brings a scientific, educational and activist element to the festival. It gives scientists and people who might otherwise not have a platform the opportunity to show what they do and tell stories about their connection with the ocean.

We’ve hosted talks by a shark scientist, a sailor who has circumnavigated the globe, a big wave surfer an expert on orca whales in False Bay and an expert on climate change on the role of the Southern Ocean in regulating atmospheric pressure.

So there’s definitely a lot more to Wavescape than just surfing movies.

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