PLNU Surf Film Duo Debut “Reform” 

The band prepping the crowd for Kawaguchi and Winkelman’s newest film, “Reform.” Photo credit to Cameron Winkelman.

There are few things that bring together the Point Loma Nazarene University community like surfing. So when one of their own puts on a surf movie premiere in the campus’s Activity and Recreation Center (ARC), PLNU shows up. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 15, surf film duo, third-year business majors Noah Kawaguchi and Cameron Winkelman, premiered their second film together, “Reform.” 

The film was shown just over a year after their first project, “Bloom.” “Bloom” featured Kawaguchi surfing a code red swell on the south shore of Oahu in the summer of 2022. Winkelman shot and edited the entire film. 

Based on the turnout of last year’s film, the duo joined forces once again, gathering footage from a surf trip to Mexico earlier this summer and some from Hawaii to create “Reform.”

“I guess you could call it a sequel. A lot of people were calling it ‘Bloom 2,’” Winkelman said. 

Winkelman played a slightly smaller role in this year’s film. He explained how he only shot about half the film and Kawaguchi took over most of the editing privileges.

“I helped him out and guided him. All I did was color it and make the video pretty,” Winkelman said.  

Before the premiere, Kawaguchi was coming off a hot streak after being named the 2023 National Scholastic Surfing Association’s College Men’s Champion while surfing for PLNU. On top of that, the success of the first film put the pressure on to make something great. 

“I think the first [film] was a test run. People seemed to like it so we wanted to put on another fun event,’’ Winkelman said. 

Third-year mechanical engineering major and Campus Activities Board (CAB) member, Jacob Le, assisted Kawaguchi and Winkelman in getting the event sponsored by PLNU’s Associated Student Body (ASB). 

“I brought it up in the CAB meeting and it sort of just worked out because we needed an event for November,” Le said. 

ASB was able to assist in funding the event, which included food, sound and T-shirts, which Winkelman and Kawaguchi passed out to students on Caf Lane before the event. A big part of the event receiving the funding was the result of last year’s “Bloom” premiere. 

“ASB put more money in because of the success last year,” Le said. 

The event began at 7 p.m. with live music. Similarly to last year, the band was led by the same core of students. Former PLNU student, Dorian Tamara led the band with his bluesy guitar and charming vocals alongside PLNU students Bradley Miner on guitar, Braden Tarka on bass, Andrew Kramer on the keyboard, Dylan Maguire on drums and Camden Ritchie on the organ. 

The band opened up with a rock rendition of the “2001: A Space Odyssey” theme song. After various classic rock covers the band wrapped up their first set of the night, and Kawaguchi introduced his new film. 

“I thought the first set was great. The energy was exhilarating. I thought everyone performed well,” Tarka said. 

Kawaguchi took the time to thank various people and explained the meaning behind the name “Reform.” He said the name correlates with his Christian faith and the overall change it brought to his life. 

“Reform is a word that defines this past season of my life. The past few years have been filled with growth, change and learning,” Kawaguchi said. 

After explaining the meaning of the film, the room of students sat down shoulder to shoulder and directed their attention to the screen to watch the film. The film was about eight minutes in length and featured Kawaguchi surfing in Mexico for the first half and in his hometown of Oahu for the other half. Every now and then a surfer in the crowd would let out a “woo” or wail when Kawaguchi smacked the lip or got barreled on the screen. 

After the film premiered, the band returned to the stage for their second set. 

“Everyone seemed to loosen up during the second set so it felt like we played less pressure,” Tarka said. 

Kawaguchi and Winkelman said the event was a huge success and built off of last year’s premiere well. 

“I thought it was a really fun night. I thought this event was better organized. We had more of an idea how it would turn out after doing a premiere the year prior,” Kawaguchi said.