Ex-skateboard pro Steve Peralta is back with his new documentary. After he revised his own past as one of the inventors of modern skateboarding in „Dogtown & Z-Boys“, amost magnificent movie, he is now covering the history of big wave surfing.
Beginning with a bunch of so cal guys around Greg Noll ending up on hawaii's north shore, living on the beach and being the first ones in history to surf waves of six meters heigth with their specially shaped longboards, he casually tells the story of the whole surf subculture. We witness Jeff Clark and Flea of the Red Hot Chillie Peppers surfing mavericks in northern california and we see footage of Mark Foo's tragic death on that very same spot. Finally we see Laird Hamilton and his crew inventing toe-in surfing, conquering waves of unbelievable heigths on hawaii and view the craziest and most exciting surf ride ever done by a human being made by the very same Laird Hamilton in a giant wave tunnel in front of Tahiti.
Likely his previous films tons of original footage is combined with contemporary interviews of yesterday's protagonists and a really creative exposure to the medium film. Although it is a documentary this movie has a dramaturgy. Whenever you think „This wave is the maximum, they can't go any further“ the next wave of surfers comes along with new waves, new techniques and a new style pushing it all to yet another level. What impressed me the most was the extremism of these surfers towards their lifestyle. They were/are doing this full time and full heart. Only few people in the world have the luck to find something that fulfills them as much as these guys and girls are fulfilled by big wave surfing.
I think this movie is excellent. From the artistic point of view there is nothing to nag (only that Linkin Park is on the soundtrack maybe;)...) and which is even more important: the movie is a pleasure watching and it is deeply touching (at least me). It has so unbelievably beautiful pictures of the ocean and features so exquisite surf rides that you cannot turn your eyes away. This is beauty! And on the other hand it is so good to see people being so happy with what they do. When a medical doctor who works with cancer patients says that surfing mavericks gives him the power to really live his life than this is touching me just as the moment the music turns of and everyone in the audience knows Mark Foo is dead. This is no fucking fiction, this is the real world, real people, real energy. Surfing is more than just another sport and this is more than just another documentary... [jan]