Producer’s Bonus Cut: The SON Riders Story

Early Inspiration/Behind the Scenes (‘Silver Anniversary’ Introspective by Mark Hartman)

I started the pre-production of ‘Son Riders’  developing the concept, treatment and script while working with Bob Cording and Omega Films as his Director of International Film Distribution in the mid 1980s. A series of interviews I conducted with prominent (outspoken) Christian Surfers, Joey Buran, Mike Lambresi (and others) for San Diego’s ‘Good News etc.’ Christian Newspaper formed the nexus and helped give birth to the original idea. Bob Cording, along with Jerry Humphries (Cording/Humphries Films) produced the classic surf films; ‘Tales from The Tube‘ and ‘Son Seekers’ in the 1970’s (among other notable Christian Sports Documentaries like ‘Football Fever’ & ‘Football Fever Strikes Again’ in the early 1980’s). ‘Tales from the Tube’ featured the iconic Surf Movie Poster from the late surf artist Rick Griffin and some of the first ever (pre-GoPro era) helmet cam footage “from the barrel”. If you “Google” ‘Rick Griffin, Tales from the Tube Movie Poster’, many will recognize his famous artwork for the classic surf movie poster.

Bob Cording also produced a number of films with Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and Campus Crusade for Christ, including ‘Son Worshipers’, documenting the Jesus People movement that led to the birth of Calvary Chapel (in the late 1960’s/early ’70’s), under the leadership of the late Chuck Smith. At the time I started work on ‘Son Riders’ , Bob was moving his Christian Film Ministry into the genre of dramatic motion pictures (away from Sports Documentaries) and encouraged me to pursue my vision for ‘Son Riders’ as a solo (or “Indie”) project which I did, along with help from a few “friends” and a collaboration of ministries and surf companies like G&S and Billabong (under Bob Hurley). In so doing, Bob Cording inadvertently passed the ‘Christian Surf Film’ torch to us (Jeff & I), while in the same manner, we would “inadvertently” pass the torch of inspiration to Bryan Jennings of Walking on Water, by his exposure to SON Riders some years later. It is cool to see how God works to spread the fire of inspiration and connect the dots, or “million points of light”, as some have said.

Some time shortly after having a number of conversations about this fledgling project with Omega’s Producer, Bob Cording; soon to become ‘Joint Producer/Production Partner’ Jeff Killian came into our Omega Films Office in Rancho Santa Fe, CA and enquired about “possible” future positions for Videographer/Editor. Bob was a dedicated ‘Film’ Producer (film cuts meaning celluloid on the Editor’s floor) and had not yet embraced the world of video technology. I however, saw things differently. Jeff, a brilliant cameraman, editor and savvy producer in his own right, was the perfect addition to round out the core SON Riders production team. He embraced the SON Riders vision and we planned our first shoot back in 1986 (at the ASP Stubbies Pro, Oceanside, CA). The rest, as they say, is history.

To get a DVD copy of the movie that helped light the fires of the modern Christian Surfing movement; go to:

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