Greg Noll, Jeff Clark, Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Brian L. Keaulana, Buzzy Kerbox, Mickey Munoz, Darryl Virostko and Kelly Slater

Stacy Peralta

Running Time:
105 mins

"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.


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 rejoice.


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