Gatorfest 2010 and 2011 DVD’s are available! Each video featuring up to an hour of heart-thumping close calls with the living dinosaurs we call alligators! Only $25 gets the DVD shipped to your door and you can enjoy following the one-of-a-kind event and listening to amazing local rock artists! Check out the trailers below and visit www.SwaggerjackProductions.com for purchasing info!!
Swaggerjack Productions travelled cross-country to beautiful Santa Cruz, California last month to film the 26th annual Kayak Surf Festival aka Paddlefest. We have made the journey to California every spring since 2008 to cover this awesome event and look forward to many more years of excellent surf and even better people!
While covering an event, we are offered a unique perspective as the film crew; we work behind-the-scenes and gain a better understanding of what it takes to pull off such an event. Dennis Judson works harder than most at coordinating the annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest and also has a strong team of volunteers and committee members working to ensure no detail falls between the cracks. There are massive amounts of contestants, sponsors, photographers, spectators, and vendors who all need direction and supervision to ensure the Paddlefest goes off without a hitch.
It was our pleasure to assist by providing visual entertainment for the Friday and Saturday night parties and even getting our turn on the microphone to help announce the event. The role of emcee usually falls to Dennis himself, Mark Pastick, or any other kayak surf veteran who knows the sport and its players. My announcing skills didn’t even compare to the enthusiasm these men relay through the microphone as well as their extensive knowledge of the break, the sport, and the contestants. Not only did spectators learn about the tricks and the boats, but also gained personal insight for the riders.
Even though the Paddlefest has rented this surf spot annually for over a quarter of a century, there are still board surfers who didn’t get the memo. For the most part, they do a decent job staying out of the contest area, but there are stragglers who get yelled at by contest staff and regulators. Even the seagulls snub board surfers on this weekend…
Special thanks to Dennis Judson for granting us the opportunity to spend another year on the cliffs filming such a wonderful event and to Mark Pastick and Jason Kozun for being such amazing west coast family!
Of the many competitors that started Gatorfest, only 4 remained on day 2 to compete for first place. No one really knows why competitors drop out after the first day; some say that they finally come to their senses, others say they just wanted to claim that they had competed in a gator wrestling contest. One thing we do know, it’s the true champions that come back for day two in the swamp.
It was the Fox brothers, Dave and Steve, versus Derrick, a reigning champion from years ago, looking to reclaim his throne, and Jason McDonald, another former champion. The Fox father, Charlie, had won the past 3 Gatorfests, but was not competing this year due to doctor’s orders. His sons wrestled bravely and each got bit this Sunday! It was late in the day, their last catch. For Dave, he was neck deep in the swamp, feeling his way around an alligator trying to locate the head, when the gator’s head located Dave’s elbow. It was a quick snap and some mellow thrashing in the water leading to a lovely crimson shower spewing from Dave’s arm. Video of this and the aftermath will be available soon on our website, www.SwaggerjackProductions.com.
Derrick ended up being crowned champion of this Gatorfest, regaining the title after years of forfeiting it to Charlie Fox. He managed to catch the most inches of gator throughout the contest, even if the margin was less than 6 inches. One of his most daring catches involved crawling into a small concrete tube, head first with no room to turn around, in an attempt to fish out a gator that had wedged itself in there. He caught the gator and won the contest. Go Derrick!
Derrick with his champion gator, winning Gatorfest for the first time in years, he will cherish this year’s experience, trophy, and bragging rights!:
The contest started at 11 am with the competitors eagerly awaiting their chance to wrestle and wrangle an alligator. Today they were each to catch 3 gators from different areas of the farm, with a goal of catching the most inches of gator. With one new contestant and several veterans trying to win the prize, there were many close calls throughout the day- not only for the competitors but for our cameramen too! Not one went through the day without stepping on a gator while wading through the swamps to get that perfect shot.
Gatorfest is always full of new thrills and exciting challenges! Be sure to bring the family for next year’s. A huge thanks to the Young family for allowing us to film and always taking good care of the competitors, the fans, and us cameramen!