"It was the
biggest wave we'd ever seen"
After over 1000 years of surfing, the pastime monumentally
changed in the 1950s when Greg Noll and his friends discovered the waves
of Hawaii's North Shore. Surfing then became a way of life to these young
men who lived for finding the biggest waves and taking surfing to the next
level. Big Wave surfing was born and this documentary covers its evolution
and its pioneers, Greg Noll, Jeff Clark and Laird Hamilton.
After the success of 'Dogtown and Z-Boys', writer/director
Stacy Peralta changes to another action sport, big wave surfer but can he
recapture the same magic with this subject?
'Riding Giants' is an extraordinary documentary that looks
into a subject that many people outside of surfing will not know about and
makes it completely fascinating. What makes Stacy Peralta's films different
from many other documentaries is that fact that he doesn't limit the information
to those who will have an understanding or a passion for it but sets out
to bring everyone into the subject matter. This sparks an interest in the
audience, whatever there surfing background, allowing both newcomers and
surfing fanatics to enjoy the movies and the story it has to tell.
The documentary is split into three distinct sections that
highlight the lives of three giants of surfing. The first third deals with
the true innovator of Big Wave Surfing, Greg Noll. Using archive footage
shot by Noll and his friends in the 1950s, early 60s, Peralta, co-writer
Sam George and editor Paul Crowder tell the story of how they discovered
Hawaii's North Shore and then started a new way of life. We see how they
lived and breathed surfing as Noll and his fellow pioneers transformed the
surfing completely and how they discovered Waimea, where the best and biggest
waves hit on the North Shore.
The second third introduces the next evolutionary jump for
surfing with the discovery of 'The Mavericks' by Jeff Clark. Located twenty
miles from San Francisco, this area had waves that made even Waimea look
small but it was also filled with danger. This section of the film shows
how far surfers will go for the pursuit of that ultimate wave and it highlights
how 'The Mavericks' can take the lives of even the most seasoned professionals.
The third and final section introduces up to the man hailed
as the best to ever stand on a board, Laird Hamilton. The pioneer of tow-in
surfing, he pushed surfing into the mainstream as rode the huge swells at
'Jaws' at Peahi, Maui and the ultimate wave in Teahupoo, Tahiti.
These three sections combine to offer the viewer the complete
history to date of Big Wave Surfing. Intermixed with interviews, archival
footage and photographs and graphical representations of what it is like
to be in dangerous wipe out situations, 'Riding Giants' is an extremely
skilfully made documentary that grabs you from the off and takes you on
one hell of a ride. Stacy Peralta and his team are making names for themselves
in this business, as their approach to the subject matter is both respectful
and awe-inspiring, making this documentary compulsive viewing.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
sound, the movie is presented well.
Director and Editor's Commentary
Stacy Peralta and Paul Crowder provide an interesting and informative
commentary about the making of 'Riding Giants'. The pair talks extensively
about the different elements that needed to come together to make to movie
including the archive film and photographs, the sound, the music and the
surf interviews. Peralta also talks about the how a meeting with Greg
Noll gave him the idea for the movie and how it expanded to include Jeff
Clark and Laird Hamilton. This is a good commentary from two men who believe
in the project passionately.
Writer and Surfer's Commentary
Co-writer Sam George and featured surfers Greg Noll, Jeff Clark and Laird
Hamilton come together for a chatty and fun commentary tack. The foursome
talk about how they got involved in the project and surfing in general.
The best part is how the group comment on the surfing footage shown throughout
the film, as they take the Mickey out of each other and the other contributors
to the movie. This banter makes the commentary a joy to listen to, even
for non-surfing enthusiasts.
The Making of Riding Giants (28.04 mins)
Writer/Director Stacy Peralta, producer Agi Orsi, writer Sam George, editor
Paul Crowder and featured surfers Greg Noll, Jeff Clark and Laird Hamilton
reveal how 'Riding Giants was brought to the silver screen. The director
reveals the motivation behind the piece, highlighting how he wanted to
capture the feel of big wave surfing for both surfer and those new to
the sport. Both Stacy Peralta and editor Paul Crowder talk about how the
film was put together after the director and writer Sam George completed
the script. The pair then takes us through this process, revealing the
different elements of the film and how they all came together. The surfers
also talk about their contributions to the film and how they became involved.
Fuel TV's Blue Carpet Special (20.22 mins)
Pat Parnell and professional surfer Jodie Nelson take you to the premiere
of 'Riding Giants' at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The programme
includes interviews with Writer/Director Stacy Peralta, writer Sam George
and surfers Greg Noll, Jeff Clark, Laird Hamilton, Mickey Munoz and Grant
Washburn as they all talk about their involvement with the film and the
three acts that make up the elements of the movie.
Deleted Scenes (15.41 mins)
Entitled 'Surf Talk', 'Wave complexity', 'Half Moon Bay', 'Original ending'
and 'End Credit Sequence' these deleted or alternative scenes have text
introductions by Director Stacy Peralta explaining why where removed.
Previews of 'Being Julia' and 'Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius'
An excellent documentary gets an excellent DVD treatment from Sony Classics.
With two extremely good commentary tracks and the added bonus of deleted
scenes and a making of… featurette that is very informative about the
documentary making process, this is a quality DVD package. Fans should
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