Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:42 PM on Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Alaska Sessions: Surfing the Last Frontier' shows at 1 p.m. Saturday



By Angelina Skowronski
For the Homer News

Kelly Slater, Mark Richards and Rob Machado don't have anything on these guys.

Homer local Mike McCune and friends embarked on an Alaska surf adventure from Sitka to Homer on the newly retrofitted M/V Milo, a decommissioned commercial seiner McCune purchased through the National Marine Fisheries Service's buy-back program, inviting filmmakers Fred Dickerson and Matt McNeil aboard to document the "epic" journey.

"We wanted to show average Alaskans and the adventures they get into, but not make it over the top," said filmmaker and producer Dickerson.

Two years in the making, "Alaska Sessions: Surfing the Last Frontier" world premiered on Nov. 1 to a sold-out crowd. If you didn't catch it the first time, the encore performance will show at the Homer Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m.

"Homer was a fun place to premier the show since many of the characters involved are from Homer," said Dickerson.

"Alaska Sessions" stars three couples: The Fish Factory owner McCune, the pioneering dreamer setting himself up for retirement with his own surfing dreamboat, and his wife, Wendy Kinnier McCune.

"The boat was just sitting in the marina in San Francisco rotting. My original idea was to turn the boat into a live-aboard, but then I started surfing after a 25-year hiatus and the idea kind of evolved from there," said McCune.

The M/V Milo floats a love story in itself. McCune and Kinnier started the trip dating, by the middle of the trip they were engaged, and after the last port call in Homer they were married.

"I asked Wendy to marry me on the boat after she joined us in Yakutat, and we were married on the boat after we got back to Homer," said McCune.

Also starring are Homer surfers Scott Dickerson and his wife, Stephanie Dickerson, and Don McNamara as "Ice Man" and McNamara's wife, Donna Rae Faulkner.

"Ninety-nine percent of surf breaks in Alaska are inaccessible. The trip was all about making those breaks accessible and discovering surfing spots in Alaska," said McCune.

Filmmakers Dickerson and McNeil had a goal to tell a story with the film.

"A lot of it is about the characters themselves," said Dickerson.

The premiere show on Nov. 1 was the first time McCune had seen the film and says he thought it was well done.

"It was entertaining and I enjoyed watching it. We didn't manufacture any of the drama," said McCune. "I think they did a particularly good job with the sound score. A lot of the music was original."

Dickerson says that much of the music was composed by his friends in Australia: Mike McCarthy, a self-described "dirt box blues with open-sea folk" musician, and Brendan Berlach, a jazz and folk tenor sax musician well-reviewed in the land down under.

Fred Dickerson, born and raised in Homer, has since relocated to Australia. His brother, Scott Dickerson, invited him on the trip for pleasure and business: the pleasure of surfing in Alaska and the business of appealing to the Alaskan surf market.

Homer has become the mecca of Alaska surfing adventures, and McCune and Scott Dickerson are expanding that mecca. With the M/V Milo as their getaway transport, the duo have started Ocean Swell Ventures.

"It was kind of my retirement, and Scott has turned it into a job," said McCune.

Since the M/V Milo's maiden voyage in 2010, McCune's 58-foot, 11-bunk surf vessel has taken nearly 20 multi-day surf trips, exposing a long list of big name surfers such as Ian Walsh, Trevor Gordon, Doc Rennecker and Kai Running to the icy breaks of the Last Frontier.

"Alaska Sessions" most likely will help Ocean Swell Ventures grow in the destination adventure tourism market.

Quickly gaining recognition, Fred Dickerson has entered the film in a number of surf film festivals internationally and is working with Bear Tooth in Anchorage to organize more Alaska showings.

Don't miss the next set, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. at the Homer Theatre. Admission is $8. For more info on the film, go to www.alaskasessions.com. For more info on Ocean Swell Ventures, go to www.oceanswellventures.com.

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