preconceived noceans blog.

A film about Great Lake surfing

Story in Post Magazine

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Post magazine based in Rochester NY did a really cool article using some of my photographs and stories from Darrel Licata and Trevor Cranmer.

Check it out!

Back and better than ever


My apologies for a way over do update. Its been a whirl-wind of a past year and there is so much to catch up on. First and foremost..heres a video with some brand new footage from this years ventures back to the lakes. Over the past 4 years I have captured so many incredible moments, I cannot wait to begin editing the final video…starting early this spring!

A few months back I had the pleasure of doing a TedX Rochester talk about the project, and lucky (cause I was probably a nervous wreck) the video had some technical issues so I will be recording another for the Ted network and will post it here when its live! It was such an honor to be featured on such a prestigious and influential platform.

Also been working on the soundtrack, in which I hope to work with many of my extremely talented friends to give the film a unique and epic musical structure.

Much more to come and thank you much for hanging with me. Its been an incredibly long journey thus far but is going to be a beautiful project when all is said and done.

Made Boards

Printing: some say it is at the end of its very long road. With digital technologies, the internet, smartphones and tablets, many feel print is dead and obsolete. My printed June issue of Surfer magazine isn’t going to refresh and share with me the latest news, or better yet let me store years worth of issues in the palm of my hand. However for some, printing is the key to the future. What if I were to tell you a company has figured of the most eco-efficient way to shape a surfboard? What if I told you there were doing this in a place very far removed from the ocean? And better yet, what if I told you they were going to print your surfboard? Well you would probably tell me I am drunk. Well, I assure you I am not and here to spread the word about a revolution. 

Last week I was sooo fortunate to get an email from Erik Johnson, co-founder at Made Boards, a company based in Chicago. They were into Preconceived Noceans and wanted to meet and talk about something they were doing. When Erik told me they were printing surfboards, I was confused, (may have been thinking he was drunk) and a little scared. But when I met up with Erik in Brooklyn and got a chance to talk to him about what they were doing, I got that rush (kinda like that feeling of catching your first wave). They are legitimately using 3-D printing technologies to print a board. If you haven’t gotten that through yet, yes printing a freaking surfboard!!!

Now you might be thinking, Cole, surfboards out of machines suck! There is no soul in the boards, they are machined out without any consideration for the rider or waves he is riding. Why on earth would you want to get a board like that when you can find a local shaper have have him make it preciously for you?

Imagine Made having the abilities of a local hand shaper to cater specifically to an individual, while having better quality control then most major surfboard factories. The goal at Made is to be able to have a surfer come to them with certain shape specifics in mind, from the bottom contours, to the rocker, to the rails, and for them to be able to produce that board perfectly with a 3-D printer. EVEN BETTER, the process of 3-D printing is an additive process, vs. the traditional process of shaving away foam from a block. The printer lays down only the materials that are needed to create the ribs or skeleton of the board. They then cover it in Bamboo (if I am not mistaken) and glass it. This means no waste of materials and no harmful foam dust floating around.

Wow…I know…and I hope it blows your mind as much as it did mine! Your next question may be when is this happening or when can I get one of these boards? Well they are up in running with their concepts and already have created a wind surfboard which they drove down to Florida and rode. Now the awesome team at Made are getting together and launching a Kickstarter account so they can buy the 3-D printer and make their dreams a reality.

I am super-stoked on this idea and what they are trying to do. I am definitely planning on getting out to Chicago soon to film this wizardry first hand and plan to incorporate it in the film or as a part of the Foam to Foam series.

For more info checkout:…And definitely give these guys a like on Facebook!

Gallery Surfboards 2.0

After way too long of a hiatus, I finally got back to some good old filming. Yesterday I met up with Rick DeJianne, Greg Sakowicz, and Mike Beck to film some of Rick’s surfboards in actions. Post-Sandy, the waves have been pretty incredible for us here in Jersey. The sandbars everywhere have such a great shape and we got a chance to exploit it. The guys were ripping on Ricks boards for a few hours until noodle arms set in. It was really cool to see em in action again, the colors and art on his boards standout from anything else in the water.

Hoping to get back down in the next few weeks to do some more filming with the guys surfing and some shaping/ painting with Rick.

An Amazing Week in the Great White North

This is the 100th blog post! While that doesn’t sound like a big milestone, it is cause I can’t really read and write good. Lots of help from some great friends to make most of the posts possible.

I spent a week back up in Rochester and it was incredible. I got amazing footage from Niagara falls to downtown Rochester, to surfing and talking with the Walls family, and scoring a session at the reef. I didn’t really shoot many stills cause I was concentrating on scoring as much footage as possible, so I just ripped a bunch of shots off the video to show some of my favorite moments. So stoked to have gotten to spend time and see the crew again. We didn’t have the best waves, but some beautiful weather (which = lots of snow) and some cool excursions to get some necessary b roll footage. Its getting harder and harder to get up there with work and a slim budget but hopefully can make 1 more trip up before winter ends.

The week was finished off by a paddle out for the Webster Firefighters, those photos will be up tomorrow.

Stay tuned!

Saturday: Paddle for the Webster Firefighters


First off, a very Happy New Year to all and I hope 2013 brings wonderful things to all my good friends.

This saturday we are ringing in the New Year with a ceremony to honor the two fallen Webster Firefighters who lost their lives right before Christmas. Tomasz Kaczowka and Lt. Mike Chiapperini were responding to a fire in Webster when the tragedy occurred. The Webster community has been so important to us surfers on Lake Ontario and around Rochester that we are coming together to honor these two heroes.

At 1:00pm on Saturday January 5th we will be meeting at the park in Sea Breeze to participate in an incredible event practiced offen throughout the whole surfing community. Surfers gather in special paddle outs where they form a large circle in the water and say a prayer to honor fallen friends. At 1pm we will be paddling out to honor two brave men who helped our community in more ways than most.

It will be an extremely special event and if you are in the Rochester area we would love you to come down to the beach and take part in honoring these men. We are hoping to have a few members of the fire department come and a few fellow surfers from Toronto and lake Erie come to the event. The more people that come, the bigger message we will send to the Webster Fire Department and the families of the two fallen men.

Join the Facebook event:

Sea Bright/ Long Branch

Last week I got a chance to swing down to Sea Bright after they re-opened the town up. It was no doubt one of the hardest hit areas here in Jersey. There was so much damage from Long Branch up to Sea Bright, and from the looks of it more houses and businesses didn’t make it then those that pulled through. Lots of home and business owners were out gutting their properties and trying to clean up the best they could. Almost all of the beach clubs and boardwalks were destroyed. I just couldn’t get over the piles of rubble, homes, boardwalks, and earth. It was so wild to see. The Red Cross and National Guard had military tents set up for residents and were giving out supplies at the local police station. Heavy, unimaginable stuff.

Hoping to get back down this week or weekend to film a little more.

Return to the Barrier Islands

I couldn’t post this yesterday in observance of Thanksgiving. I wanted it to be a happy day for all. But now that its over, I wanted to show people what to be thankful for.

As I watched my grandfather watching the huge claw machine devour and take away all of the furniture, floors, walls, and belongings from our home, my heart broke a little. It was no doubt one of the heaviest moments in my life. “Thats my shit,” said my grandfather as our china cabinet was crushed and lifted into the a dump truck. I felt just as crushed as the china cabinet.

Tuesday morning we finally got the go ahead for residents to return to their homes on the barrier islands. As we drove over the Mantoloking bridge (which was a new inlet after the storm), I couldn’t believe the devastation  Houses were still in the bay, there were maybe 50 houses on the beach and bay by the bridge that were no longer there. As we got to our house, I noticed debris covering our whole yard and a 30 foot boat that had drifted a block or two parked sideways in between our house and our neighbors. When we stepped into the house, the smell of mildew and low tide hung in the damp air. The carpets were still wet from being flooded more than three weeks ago. We spent the next two days completely gutting the bottom floor of our house. New furniture was thrown to the curb, a brand new kitchen that my grandfather worked so hard on to install just a few months ago was ripped out. Complete devastation.

But fortunately for my family, this was their second home. And even better, the house was standing. There are so many families who lost their one and only home and I cannot imagine that feeling of losing everything. My heart and thoughts go out to those people who spent Thanksgiving day in tents or shelters without a home.  I took a drive with my Uncle Paul down to Normandy beach, and the destruction there was incredible. Beach front homes had the oceans literally come through them and blow out the whole foundation and first floor. I had never seen such devastation to such a beautiful and happy place. A group of homes called the Osborne Camps separating our house from my uncles had burned to the ground.

Hoping to get back down soon to get some more footage. Most of these stills were taking through the window as we were driving because it is hard to stop and walk around. The National Guard is doing a wonderful job keeping people safe and I have to respect their requests to stay by your home and not venture into places you don’t belong. Hopefully in the next few weeks the tension loosens and I will have a little more access to acquire better footage and stills.

Checkout the Reel on Korduroy TV

Another big thank you to Reis Paluso for sticking up the new reel on the Korduroy Blog. 

Here is a few words about looking back at the reel and all of the places I filmed within it that are effected by Hurricane Sandy.

Most of the footage in this reel was filmed in locations that no longer look the same. As the reel went live on Sunday night, Hurricane Sandy began making its way to shore in New Jersey. The irony; Preconceived Noceans was a project started by tracking storms on the Great Lakes and filming surfers who battle through some of the most treacherous conditions on the planet to slide waves. And as I celebrated the two-year birthday of the project, one of the most powerful storms to hit the North East was fiercely spinning into our local shoreline.

Preconceived Noceans began filming surfing on the Great Lakes, but as the project matured I started noticing an incredible connection opening up the concept of my project. I was interested in the spirit, draw, and therapeutic elements of surf culture. I started filming with a bunch of different programs such as Surfer’s Healing and The Best Day Foundation which both use surfing as a tool of therapy for children with autism and special needs. A.M.P Surf is another incredible foundation that takes veterans and amputees into the water to experience the awe of surfing. When you witness someone with a prosthetic leg teaching other amputees how to surf, and then vicariously living their success, your mind is pretty blown. And that is exactly what my interest with the film is, that incredibly unique and intimate experience that surfers have collectively. From jumping off icebergs to autistic children catching their first wave and brightening a usually distant mind, there is an incredible similarity that can only be explained by stoke. Though varied in cause, the effect of stoke is perennially the same.

Now here in the Northeast we saw a side to the ocean not often demonstrated. I was born and raised in New Jersey and have spent the greater portion on my life surfing its coast. Most of my home state is now destroyed. Iconic places on the Jersey shore such as Seaside Heights, Long Beach Island, and Atlantic City lie in ruins, and in some devastating cases, drift at sea. The uncertainty of friends and families domestic welfare is haunting to say the least. I have seen so much destruction to a place I had never imagine possible.

But through this, Jersey will be rebuilt and reborn. Surfing has gotten so popular here that a Jersey proud mentality has manifested throughout the shore points. I think these rebuilding stages and watching the different generations of local surfers go through it will be fascinating…heck I think it will lead to a short film or chapter within this one. The mentality in locals I spoke with after the storm is so strong. Everyone is staying positive and looking to the future. So many companies, organizations, and people throughout the country are banding together to give support to the victims. The Great Lake surfers about whom I started this project are putting together an Indigogo account to help those affected by the storm. It’s amazing to see everyone working together to help a wounded little brother. It’s even more incredible to me to see the surf communities helping out, really tying together the spirit and compassion encompassing my film.

I hope this reel demonstrates how special and magical the ocean and surfing is to the soul. To those affected by the storm or for those who lost touch with the base importance of surfing, I hope this serves as a reminder of all the positive things surfing is capable of producing. For me it’s not about the biggest air or deepest tube, the best surfer to me is the one with the biggest smile.

Benefiting the Victims of Hurricane Sandy

I am witnessing so many incredible people pulling together to help out the victims who lost everything during Hurricane Sandy. From Bands to Surf Companies, to surfers who just want to give back to a welcoming community, so many people are helping out in amazing ways. The music video below was shot for my good friend’s band who filmed this just a few months ago. There isn’t a certainty what Normandy Beach looks like right now. But the message in the song is wonderful and perfect for this situation.

Check out some ways you can help out!