Riding Giants is more than another blissfulsurfing movie. It''s an outstanding documentary about one era in American alternative lifestyles, when surfing was well-suited to a radical culture of social dropouts. Using an amazing array of amateur film clips, shot for the most part in Hawaii and California from the late 1950s and early ''60s, director Stacy Peralta traces the rise of surfing''s appeal to young men looking to test themselves in an unorthodox (and sexy) milieu--of "living life to the fullest," as former surfer-turned-screenwriter John Milius (Big Wednesday) puts it at one point. Lengthy chapters on the glories of Oahu''s Makaha and the "superstition and dread" that accompanied the big-wave challenge of Waimea Bay are riveting and sometimes heroic, particularly told through the memories of surf legend Greg Noll. Great material, too, about the deadly wonders of surfing Mavericks, California, where the rocks will get one if the violent tides don''t. --Tom Keogh
Stills from Riding Giants
From its early Hawaiian roots to its current status as a recreational lifestyle enjoyed worldwide, bigwave surfing is given the definitive exploration by acclaimed director Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys).
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