Must-See Surf Film Spotlights San Diego/North County Surfers

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When you take a large group of San Diego’s most passionate and skilled surfers, bust out the cameras, and hit the water, what you get is an independent film called Sunny Side Up. The film has been recognized on countless media venues including the World Surf League (WSL)’s Instagram where fans write, “I can’t stop watching.”  We wanted to see what the fuss was all about and, well… now we know.  A clip of the brave new film is included below. But we thought we’d also get in touch with the producer and get his back story.  Here it is…


Parker Schmidt was born and raised in San Diego, California – North County, to be specific (and if you’re familiar with the area, you’ll know that it’s an important distinction).  Like many kids living near the coast in this part of the world, Parker spent much of his teenage life at the beach.  Surfing was simply a way of life.  And this wasn’t a lonely pastime. Dozens of kids from his part of town would head to the beach to surf after school almost every day and spent much of the weekend there as well.  Since graduating high school a few years ago, Parker has been busy working and going to college – but that hasn’t taken his focus away from something that he really loves – the water.

A couple of years ago, Parker and his friends had the idea of making a full-length surf movie. It seemed far-fetched in the beginning but they maintained their vision and eventually made it happen.  The project began when he started filming short clips of his friends surfing. He wanted to capture not only the surfers’ skill set, but also the surf culture that is so unique to Southern California’s beaches.  When I sat down to talk to Parker, he explained that some of these young surfers  (some just 15 years old) are sponsored by big brands such as Red Bull and Hurley.  It isn’t uncommon for these high school-age surfers to homeschool rather than going to traditional school so they can spend as much time as possible in the water.  In Carlsbad, you can surf year round.

In an article published on The Inirtia, Schmidt explains how this project transitioned from short video clips to a bonafide production:

“I feel like we have a super unique group so I took that opportunity to film and document as much as I could in the last year and put together a movie. We ended up teaming up with another local company called Lipstick Surf Co. run by Austin Faure and Noah Crider who sponsor a bunch of the kids in our group. This helped us make the movie even bigger and better than we had originally planned. We ended up collaborating with 5 different editors, 16 filmers, and 28 surfers and skaters.”

Eventually, they were filming in locations across the world. Southern California, Oregon, Nicaragua, Hawaii, and Mavericks (Northern California) are all surf spots that are featured in the film.

After 18 months of blood, sweat, and tears, the film finally premiered in Encinitas at the historic La Paloma Theater to a maxed-out crowd.  Parker and his team plan to debut further projects but, like any other independent film-maker, he’ll need public support to make it happen.




Project Starter
Author of The Success Project: 10 Steps for the Mompreneur