A Life Outside is a story of passion and obsession. It’s the story of the relationships of six New Jersey surfers: Greg Mesanko, Chris Mesanko, Kevin, Casey Jim Purpuri, Richard Luthringer, and Bucky Walters, who each got on a surfboard for the first time close to 50 years ago and haven’t stopped their pursuit of surf to this day. Pioneering surf at the famed Casino Pier in Seaside Heights NJ, in the 50’s and 60’s, surfing freezing waters before wetsuits existed, when boards were long and heavy, skipping school when the swell was up, enduring criticism and low opinions by those who did not surf-these guys found themselves inside the grip of a passion, an obsession so deep, that only those who ride waves could understand. But surfing the Pier was a privilege earned, a territory fiercely protected. You didn’t just own a board and paddle out, you had to be invited and then show quickly that you were good enough to be allowed in. So while surfing was a connection, friendships were complicated by the fierce competition in the water.
Out of the water, surf shops were the gathering spot, the clubhouse, and Grog’s Surf Palace in Seaside Park was the mecca of the east coast. His shop created an intersection of surfers from around the world as surf culture and industry began to build. Legendary surfers Mike Doyle, Gerry Lopez, Corky Carroll, Shaun Tomson-, Mickey Munoz, David Nuuhiwa- all came and surfed in NJ because of Greg’s unique vision that put Casino Pier on the map. A Life Outside weaves their stories along side the lives of the NJ men, exposing that regardless of fame or monetary rewards - at the core is the same unrestrained passion and single focus to surf.
Today, close to 50 years later, all these guys are still surfing. Then in October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit. Towns, homes, and the Casino Pier were destroyed. The lives of the NJ crew have been forever changed.
A Life Outside is about more than surfing. These stories -sometimes quiet, sometimes not so- are about friendship over time, the journey of self-discovery, deep connections with the planet, and of connecting with the power within. These are stories about not giving up or giving in, and having the courage- in and out of the water- to live life deeply and without compromise.
Directed by Catherine Brabec
Director of Photography- Peter Trilling and Russell Brownley