Riding Giants

Rated 4.0 Documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta follows up his skateboarding film Dogtown and Z Boys with this enjoyable and sometimes breathtaking film on the history and origins of surf culture. His film chronicles the sport from its first rides (over 1,000 years ago near Polynesian islands) to current phenom Laird Hamilton’s stunning riding on a monster wave that people wouldn’t have dreamed of approaching 20 years ago. It’s interesting to discover how relatively new the sport is and to see how quickly it has evolved over the last 50 years. The film spends a lot of time with the Maverick’s surfers (an insane spot near San Francisco) and interviews pioneers of the sport like Greg Noll (aka The Bull) who built his reputation by riding so-called impossible waves in the ’50s and ’60s. Nothing beats what Hamilton is able to accomplish through the emergence of tow-surfing, where a Jet Ski tow enables him to capture waves of enormous scale.