Behind The Festival – In Conversation With Davina Grincevicius
In anticipation of the 6th Annual New York Women’s Surf Film Festival, we spoke to its founder Davina Grincevicius. Get to know her below and you’re sure to be as stoked about the fest and her endeavors as we are!
You moved to New York from Australia – what inspired you to come here and more importantly to stay in an environment so different and distant from your home town?
I moved from Australia almost 11 years ago, and at the time, I wanted to open my mind to new experiences, people and to get a better understanding of who I was and determine my life goals. I find adapting to the lifestyle changes of living in a different country quite fun and challenging. New York was a place I had visited with my sister on vacation, and I found the city to be exhilarating with such wonderful history and art to be experienced. With such a diverse population, it really open the doors to a whole new world. I do miss Australia and it will always be home.
Tell us a bit about your history with surfing and your professional background. How/when did you discover that you could combine the two?
As a native of Australia, I grew up in the surf culture always spending time by the beach. However growing upas a teenager in the 90’s, it was daunting to paddle out in a male dominated ocean. So I never pursued it until a trip to Puerto Rico, almost 8 years ago, when I took a lesson and connected with the ocean. When I got back to New York, I surfed almost every day before work and loved how it made me feel afterwards.
Following my pursuit of surfing, my passion projects with Lava Girl Surf and the Women’s Surf Film Festival began at a time when there was very little support for or acknowledgement of the female surfer. I feel blessed now to have established these projects and having grown them to where they are now and to receive such positive feedback from the surf community. To love what I do has always been my ultimate goal.
What was the impetus behind launching Lava Girl Surf?
Bringing women together in a sport that has long been male dominated, thereby empowering them to find creative and personal inspiration and success.
Did you feel like there was a gap in the surf space for women in NY and perhaps beyond?
Yes, I did feel like there was a gap in the surf space for women. Lava Girl Surf and the NY Women’s Surf Film Festival are about empowering women to feel better about surfing and to have more confidence in the water and to have fun with the sport. Women often get compared a lot and overlooked when it comes to our abilities in the water, but women’s surfing is really changing and growing and we’re happy to be a part of this movement to highlight that.
How did the sense of connection you were able to establish through Lava Girl lead to the inception of the NY Women’s Surf Film Festival and what was your initial involvement through today?
Lava Girl Surf started as an educational outlet for the female surf community. With out-of-water women’s surf workshops, as a way to network and educate them on all the elements of surfing from ding repair to reading forecasts to surf etiquette and choosing the right board. As a filmmaker and surfer myself, I love watching surf films because you can learn so much from them, so we started this film festival as one of our events. We curate the festival each year and aim to select films from all over the world that showcase different surf areas and surfers with different abilities. We’re also excited to have LUNA as a primary presenting sponsor again this year, showing their continued support for the female surf community.
How do you define community and why is it at the heart of everything you do around women and surfing?
The festival is built on a foundation of support for women and their contributions to surfing as well as environmentally conscious efforts to protect the waves we ride.
The festival has allowed us to make new friends and connections within the surf community from around the world. It’s empowering and rewarding to support the local non-for-profits and businesses that make such a strong impact on our daily lives as surfers. It’s our goal to have the festival continue to provide a platform for our partners to reach more communities around the world.
Is there anything unique or special planned for this year to mark the 6th year?
We have expanded the program in Montauk with a photography exhibition by Fiona Mullen called “Hemispheres” – opening Friday August 3, from 6-9pm at the Montauk Beach House. It is a showcase of women’s surfing from the coldest winter days in the North East to the tropical warmth of the Indian Ocean. Surfing has reached all corners of the globe and in 2018 women are represented more than ever in lineups everywhere, even in the most unpredictable places.
We will also be hosting a beach clean up with our partner Surfrider Foundation (Eastern Long Island Chapter), followed by a morning surf session with the founders of Changing Tides Foundation and the team from Corey’s Wave – Ditch Plains, Sunday August 5th, from 7-10 AM.
As surfers, we spend a lot of time in the water and we need to do all we can to protect the oceans, beaches, and ecosystem. Through films and beach clean ups, we are able to encourage a change and inspire our audience to participate in it.
Any highlights/teasers you can share?
Here’s this year’s trailer:
(edited by Ruth Maria Mamaril)
What makes Montauk and the Montauk Beach House in particular a great fit for this year’s festival?
Montauk is such a beautiful town, it reminds me of coastal beach towns in south east Australia, near where I grew up. I have been going out to Montauk a few years now and I really love going out in the off season and enjoying the quiet streets and picturesque beaches. I have been ready to expand the festival to new surf towns and Montauk really felt like the best town to share the event. It has a great community of locals and visitors from all over that are happy to experience a beautiful summertime night of surf films.
The Montauk Beach house has been the perfect venue for the Women’s Surf Film Festival. It was essential to find an event space that was intimate where we can watch surf films under the stars, with food and cocktails in hand, but, more importantly, to find a venue that supports the community and that has created a warm good vibe, welcoming guests to come and enjoy themselves with their friends after a long day at the beach.
Lastly, are there any other projects you’d like to “humble brag” about to our readers?
Absolutely! Lava Girl Surf is now evolving into a lifestyle brand, inspired by our love of surfing and the ocean. We have designed a beautiful and unique jewelry collection as well as a line of graphic tee’s that reflect the free-spirited and nature aesthetic of the surfer woman. You can find the collection at www.lavagirlsurf.com
You won’t want to miss this year’s festival! As always, peep our calendar for event details and to RSVP.