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A look at "Riding Giants," a new surf movie

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A look at "Riding Giants," a new surf movie

Postby RickI » Sun Aug 08, 2004 2:56 am

... almost.


I just checked out the movie today and wanted to pass along a recommendation to see it. "Riding Giants" may well be at a theater near you. The movie delivers an entertaining, documentary view of the evolution of Big Wave surfing.

The movie treats the initial expansion of surfing in the earlier part of the last century, followed by the growth of "surf" culture in the 50's, the post "Giget" explosion, the big wave icons such as Greg Noll first shattering the superstitution of riding huge swells at Waimea, Jeff Clark's lone riding at Mavricks for FIFTEEN YEARS until some folks actually checked it out, on to Laird Hamilton on the north shores of Oahu and Maui. Even Pete Cabrinha and Rush Randle get a quick plug along the way. The movie gives insight into the motivations and hazards of surfers along the way. I didn't see any kites in the movie but I did notice some parallel outlooks all the same.

Jeff Clark, the lone rider, paddles out into some truly huge cold waves.

I got a kick out of seeing the exploits of stripped baggy suited Greg Noll dropping down into waves from the '50's on and building a surfboard company up. Greg has a down to earth colorful way of expressing himself, no B.S. and then some! I had one of his classic longboards when I was 16, wish I still had it.

Greg hangs with Laird

You have to really appreciate the guys that take on the monsters at Northern California's Mavricks in full hooded suits, cold turbid water, abundant rocks just inshore. No wonder Jeff Clark kept the secret to himself for so long. First impressions can really steer you away. Still, he had at it.He has got to be an ultimate waterman and then some to tackle those intense conditions solo for so long and keep coming back for more.

What's the big deal? So you have to paddle a half mile offshore in real cold water, through rips, funky currents at least if something goes wrong you can beach, against the cliff?! Actually, I think you come into a different area, one with massive rocks pounded by surf instead of having to scale up a cliff with your board.

Today, he has company including Dr. Mark Renneker, an MD and Dr. Sarah Gerhardt, with a PHD in Chemistry. Core riders to be sure.

The good doctor, she makes me want to go back to finish my BA in chemistry, well almost!
More about this unusual spot at:

They also spent some time examing the pros and cons of board leash use in Big Wave surfing. Rock leash entanglements may have accounted for some serious injury and in some other cases survival as a buoy and lifeline of sorts to the surface. It is interesting that these same devices can clean your clock in kiteboarding, just in a different way.


I was impressed by the sophisticated manipulation of historical still images in a telling, entertaining way. They even figured out how to emulate 3-D, stereo pairs, apparently using single images. I want to find out how they did that. They animated stills and really carried off that part of the production very nicely.

The website has an interesting clip on autoplay at:

along with a ton of surfer information on the site.

The movie wrapped up with Laird's and other tow surfers experiences at Jaws and more recently in Tahiti. He emphasized as to how tow-in surfing is far from a solitary sport but in fact is made possible by carefully coordinated team efforts. Laird was an executive producer of the flick. The movie related how tow in surfing was conceived and even showed some early efforts.

No waverunner, just an inflatable and no foostraps for starters.

For boardheads and water fiends, it is worth a trip to catch this on the big screen before it goes to DVD. Particularly for folks like us here in Florida, in extended summer wind waiting mode. You may appreciate that Laird and his tow-in buds get grumpy when the monsters aren't rolling in for an extended period, sounds like the effects of unrequited wind lust!

Going for it.

Cast and Crew included:

Greg Noll -
Jeff Clark -
Laird Hamilton -
Dick Brewer -
Sam George -
Buzzy Kerbox -
Ricky Grigg -
Titus Kinimaka -
Peter Cole -
Peter Mel -
Pat Curren -
John Milius -
Darrick Doerner -
Lyon Hamilton -
Mickey Munoz -
Darryl Virostko -
Walter Hoffman -
Steve Pezman -
Dr. Sarah Gerhardt -
Dave Kalama -
Randy Rarick -
Bill Hamilton -
Brian Keaulana -
Gabrielle Reece -
Buffalo Keaulana -
Dr. Mark Renneker -
Evan Slater -
Kelly Slater -
Mike Stange -
Matt Warshaw -
Grant Washburn -
James Garret - Voice-over
Joe Leahy - Voice-over

Stacy Peralta

Stacy Peralta
Sam George

Stacy Peralta
Agi Orsi
Jane Kachmer

Executive Producer(s):
Laird Hamilton

Nathalie Delest
Franck Marty

Paul Crowder

Don King
Sonny Miller
Peter Pilafian
Grant Washburn

Paul Crowder

Music Composer:

Alan Baker - recordist
Dane A. Davis - design/supervision
Lori Dovi - recordist
Micahel Gatt - recordist
Eddie Kim - design/supervision
John M. Reynolds - recordist
Larry Scharflew - recordist
Maddox Wolf Seeberg - recordist

All images are the property of Sony Entertainment.

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