The SON Riders Premiere (Held on the eve of the 1988 Katin Pro-Am) & Following Tour
The official SON Riders Premiere night opened-up in February 1988 during the 1988 Katin ProAm Surf Contest at the Huntington Beach, CA High School Auditorium; to a packed house, with state of the art, Dual (Stereo) Video Projection Screens. Both of the “featured” SON Riders; Joey Buran and Mike Lambresi shared their live testimonies to the audience after the hour long film and many came forward to accept Christ during the post film ‘Alter Call’ at the premiere screening. Other showings were in demand after the success of the first, and the SON Riders World Tour was officially launched; including a full page ad that was run in Surfer Magazine; followed with a favorable editorial review in Surfer Magazine (and positive “press” in Surfing Magazine). A featured television review of SON Riders on ESPN’s popular Surfer Magazine Show would follow along with Guest Appearances by the Producers and featured surfers on other television programs.
Additional merchandise was produced for the SON Riders tour to accompany the VHS video sales; with custom T-Shirts contributed by Billabong USA (Bob Hurley) and Sweatshirts by G&S (Larry Gordon). Team Jesus USA stickers were also a popular item during the initial SON Riders Tour. A 17 year old Kelly Slater attended the Cocoa Beach SON Riders premiere at the Cocoa Beach Hilton, along with his brothers, Sean and Skippy. A young Rob Machado attended the North Coast Calvary Chapel Premiere in Encinitas, CA (among other future and current “surf stars” of the day). Actor Brandon Cruz ( the childhood actor known for playing the popular role of Eddie Corbett in the late 1960’s TV series, ‘The Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ (Father played by Bill Bixby) was a frequent attendee at many of the Southern California SON Riders screenings, as a guest of good friend, “SON Rider”, Jimmy Hogan.
SON Riders was awarded the Gold Angel Award for Best Sports Movie from Excellence in Media in 1989, along with the Silver Angel for Best Original Soundtrack by Mark Spitsbergen. Dr. Bill & Vonette Bright (founders of Campus Crusade for Christ/CRU) along with the famous Singing Cowboy Actor/Couple Roy Rogers & Dale Evans were seated with the SON Riders Producers for the gala Hollywood Awards Ceremony.
The “SON Riders”; where are they now?
SON Rider, Peter King (PK) would go on to become an MTV Sports Personality in the 1990’s, and member of Sony Recording Artists, ‘The Surfers’ with Rob Machado and World Champ, Kelly Slater. After a brief return to Professional Surfing by winning the 1998 ASP World Masters Competition in Puerto Escondido Mexico and taking on a few professional surf coaching gigs with Billabong and the US Surf Team, featured SON Rider Joey Buran would become a prominent Pastor for Calvary Chapel (now leading the Calvary affiliated Ministry, Worship Generation in Southern California). Buran also produced his personal life story, ‘Beyond the Dream’, released in 2008. Jimmy Hogan currently runs a popular Surf Camp in Costa Rica. After a brief publishing stint and surf industry merchandising run, Mike Lambresi has become a successful Automotive Industry Executive in Southern California.
SON Riders Producer Mark Hartman would become a Publicist and Manager for top Pro Surfer’s Mike Lambresi and later for Shea and Cory Lopez, as well as Publisher for the ASP’s Official World Tour Guide, ‘Pro Surfing’ (1992-2002). Producer Jeff Killian would continue to build his video production business portfolio by remaining at the helm of his SoCal based video production house; Ocean Motion Productions (OMP), while continuing work as a multifaceted, global, award winning commercial video producer and editor.
An accomplished musician and “Bio Chemist” by trade, SON Riders Original Soundtrack Artist, Mark Spitsbergen (Author of the Hit Title Track ‘Soldier’ & ‘He’s Reaching Out’ continues as Pastor of the Abiding Place Ministries in San Diego and has led a series of “far reaching” global Evangelistic Missions throughout Asia and the South Pacific. Starting his public ministry career as Co-Leader of the College Fellowship at Horizon Christian Fellowship, San Diego (formerly Calvary Chapel, San Diego North Park), while a student at Point Loma Nazarene University in the early 1980’s. The Abiding Place currently meets at a building owned by Horizon Christian Fellowship in the greater San Diego area. Accompanying soundtrack musician Michael Batista (Saxophone/Lead Guitar) has enjoyed a successful solo recording career with numerous overseas tours. Both Artists have published a number of recorded albums. Mark Spitsbergen’s older son Joshua is a graduate from UCSD with a PHD in Music. He continues in his father’s musical footsteps as a recording artist and Worship Leader at the Abiding Place. Oldest daughter Elizabeth is also an Emmy Award winning video Producer. Prior to producing and recording the SON Riders soundtrack, Mark Spitsbergen appeared as a “Jewish Revolutionary” plotting to “Kill King Herod” in Omega Film’s 1985 dramatic motion picture release, ‘Caught in Time’.
Producers Bonus Cut: The Baja Norte segment and “Camp Fire Scene” in SON Riders was shot at the infamous Salsipuedes surfing break; now part of the Bahia de Todos World Surfing Reserve; protecting the iconic breaks of the Baja coast from Salsipuedes to Isla de Todos Santos.