"The Atlantic Ocean is the coldest ocean in the world."

The words, set against a black screen, are quickly replaced by a montage of surfing footage. Clips of surfers in wetsuits ducking under frigid waves are interspersed with sound bites about the hazards and hardships of winter surfing.

"Dark Fall," a film about an unpopular group of surfers from an unpopular place, according to the trailer, follows the lives of competitive New Jersey surfers over the course of one year.

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Alex DePhillipo, the film's creator and director, grew up surfing in Margate and even surfed competitively for Florida Atlantic University. Instead of going pro, DePhillipo got off the board and went behind the camera to shoot surfing videos in Hawaii with professional such as Jamie O'Brien and Kalani Chapman.

In August 2008, DePhillipo decided to do his own film about surfing in New Jersey.

"The film is about being a surfer from here and takes you through the seasons and the constant struggle of making it professionally," DePhillipo said.

In the film's trailer, Dean Randazzo, Andrew Gesler and other New Jersey pros ruminate about cold weather surfing in wetsuits that add an extra 10 to 15 pounds to their bodies. Images of surfers hitting the water as snowflakes fall on the beach are enough to send icy chills up any viewer's spine.

It's not all bad, though. The surfers also talk about the change of seasons that keeps them surfing in New Jersey and the excitement in the fall when storm swells churn up waves.

DePhillipo also traveled with some of the surfers during the winter when they sought waves overseas in Tahiti, Hawaii and the Dominican Republic.

It started out as a small film to be released this summer. But now DePhillipo is aiming to have the film released into local theaters and surf shops by December. There is even talk of having Bruce Springsteen narrate.

It's been a long process, but the toughest part for DePhillipo has been sitting in the water watching as his friends ride wave after wave.

"When you see your friends make a barrel or get on one of the waves, you sometimes freak out," DePhillipo said. "I still get that crazy urge where it's like, 'All right, I'm taking an hour break.' And they'll let me get any wave I want."

E-mail Courtney McCann:

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