September 25th, 2012 in Rainy Day Review
Regardless of whether or not you are a dedicated surfer, or if learning to surf is or isn’t on your bucket list, “Riding Giants” is a fascinating documentary that is well worth your viewing time! The 2004 movie, directed by Stacy Peralta, provides a comprehensive look at the sport of surfing, beginning with its earliest days on remote South Pacific islands, moving through its counter-culture years of the Sixties along the California coast, and winding up focusing on the rapidly growing worldwide popularity of the sport today. The film is informative and fast-paced, featuring breathtaking cinematography, the use of archival footage from home movies, and an outstanding soundtrack. (I can’t stop listening to “This Is The Sea” by the Waterboys) “Riding Giants” is also thought-provoking and often quite poignant, especially in interviews with some of the big wave pioneers who are now in their 60’s and 70’s and looking back at life with bittersweet nostalgia.
“Riding Giants” takes you on a journey to many of the great surf spots around the world, including the North Shore of Oahu, Mavericks off the Northern California coast, and the 100-foot swells off the coast of Tahiti. Laird Hamilton, undoubtedly the world’s foremost tow-in surfer, is profiled in a segment that will leave you shaking your head in wonder at his bold and daring (or is it foolhardy?) approach when confronting the ferocity of giant waves.
If you get decide you want to delve further into the world of surfing as a result of viewing “Riding Giants” you also might enjoy reading “The Wave” by Susan Casey. This compelling narrative takes an inside look at our rapidly expanding knowledge of giant ocean waves, and why we need to heed the increasing threat they pose to coastal locations. Her book also gets inside the culture of big-wave riders who chase the big storms across the planet in order to catch the ultimate wave. Check out the November, 2011, High Camp newsletter for a more comprehensive review.
Reviewed by Don