Maryland, Delaware surfers go digital with ‘90 Seconds’ movie contest

Date Published: 
April 25, 2014

The modern-day surfer has certainly had his fair share of hardships. First, he had to save Trestles. Then, he had to start scheduling doctor’s appointments for antibiotics prescriptions immediately following post-rainstorm surf sessions. Today, the struggle between saving beaches and saving breaks continues.

Special to the Coastal Point • Joey Dwyer: Pictured above, Colin Herlihy lines up for a barrel somewhere on Delmarva. The 90 Seconds Movie will feature user submitted sections from Herlihy and some of Delaware and Maryland's best surfers.Special to the Coastal Point • Joey Dwyer: Pictured above, Colin Herlihy lines up for a barrel somewhere on Delmarva. The 90 Seconds Movie will feature user submitted sections from Herlihy and some of Delaware and Maryland's best surfers.One thing that the modern-day surfer does not have to worry about, however, is capturing his biggest waves, best barrels and most legendary rides on film. Thanks to advances in technology and inventions like the Go Pro camera, not only are today’s surfers getting more footage more easily, but they’re sharing it more easily as well — posting their best shots to social media right after a session or splicing together a quick edit right on their computer.

It was legendary surf film maker Taylor Steele who first gave surfers a platform to film and edit their own sections in his premiere “Innersection” movie, consisting of the best entries that were then further judged using online voting — a concept that continued to gain popularity and has since seen two sequels.

So when local pro surfer Colin Herlihy approached Eugene Stiltner — Crazy 8’s Sandwiches, Soups & Salads owner and movie producer — with a similar idea geared toward Delaware and Maryland surfers, needless to say, he was on board.

“‘Innersection’ by Taylor Steele, to me, was one of the most exciting things to happen to surfing in a long time,” Stiltner said. “I loved the concept and so did Colin, and we are just trying to put our spin on it for our region and the underrated, unknown surfers around here.”

Surfers will be responsible for filming, editing and selecting the music for their own sections, which will then be edited into a movie collaboration by local director Joey Dwyer. Once the film is completed, the audience will get to pick the winning entry at the July 31 premiere party, held at K-Coast Surf Shop and Crazy 8’s in Ocean City, Md.

“This is a surf contest for the digital age,” said Dwyer. “Our goal is to bring the surf community together in a creative, competitive atmosphere.”

“I think the winner will be the guy who brings the most energy to their part,” Stiltner added. “Basically, the formula that has worked for other great video parts in the past — great music, exciting footage, interesting lifestyle clips. We think the premiere is going to be really exciting and have a great energy to it.”

With an array of talent invited to submit footage for the contest, not only will there be an overall winner, but prizes awarded for “best air” and “best barrel.” After the online portion of the contest ends on July 1, between 15 and 20 of the best submissions will be selected for the final cut — which will be displayed on a giant screen on the side of K-Coast Surf Shop for the premiere.

“If I had to pick one person whose section I’m really excited to watch, it would be Simon Hetrick,” Herlihy noted. “He is a very talented young surfer and a great person out of the water.”

“There are no limits to one’s creativity, so we are giving these guys free rein to think outside of the box and come up with what they believe will make the audiences’ jaws drop,” Dwyer described of what he expected to see from the contest participants.

For Maryland and Delaware surfers — who are often overshadowed by West Coast surfers, and even East Coast surfers from areas that get more exposure, such as New Jersey and the Outer Banks — the contest is an opportunity to showcase not only the area’s premiere talent, but the fact that Maryland and Delaware get waves, too.

“Unfortunately, on the East Coast, we are not blessed with perfect waves for every surf contest, making it harder for the surfer to perform to his full potential when the time comes,” Dwyer said, highlighting the advantage the contest format will have for locals surfers. “So, with this video contest, these guys will be able to showcase their true talent in front of an audience that will vote, rather than a five-man judging panel. The more opportunities we give these up-and-coming East Coast rippers, the better chance they will have in the surfing industry.”

“We also wanted to start having events locally, to get the surf community more involved and to look forward to surf-related events,” Herlihy continued. “Delaware [and] Maryland is one of the most overlooked spots on the East Coast, and most of it has to do with our location.

“To the north, New Jersey and New York have some of the best waves on the East Coast. Two hours to the south is Virginia Beach, which has the surf industry, and, finally, the Outer Banks is widely considered the best surf destination on the East Coast. So, with all that going on to the north and south of us, you can see why we get overshadowed.”

Both Stiltner and Dwyer are hoping that the new style of contest will not only showcase what some locals surfers have already been able to accomplish through new technology and social media, but will also encourage current groms and unknowns with talent to follow their lead.

“If you work hard and hustle as an up-and-coming surfer, you can get exposure these days that you couldn’t, say, 10 or 20 years ago,” Stiltner explained. “Guys like Colin are always filming, editing, getting photos and generating content. That is the roadmap for success in surfing.”

“When I was growing up, you would hear about someone doing something amazing in surfing, but you would have to wait to see it in the monthly magazines or when it’s released on VHS,” Herlihy added. “Nowadays, something happens in the water on the other side of the world and almost immediately you can watch it online. It’s been really exciting to watch all these breakthroughs in technology happen.”

The “90 Seconds” website is scheduled to launch on May 1 at, but the Facebook page is already up and running at After the launch, surfers will be updating their pages with teaser photos and clips until the premiere on July 31.