Riding Giants

Riding Giants


Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

More than you'll ever need to know about surfing.

For those of you who think that surfing is only what air-headed stoners do down at Summer Bay in Home And Away, then go watch Point Break (or if you're too degenerate, Blue Crush) and pay attention to Patrick Swayze. It's all about life, the human spirit and knowing your place in the world and how small you really are when standing next to nature.

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Apparently people have been surfing for over 1000 years. But it reached new heights in the Fifties when a group of renegade thrill seekers went to Hawaii in search of the ultimate adrenaline rush. This is arguably the best part of the film, with loads of old Super-8 film of these guys having the time of their lives, diving off cliffs, hunting fish in the sea for food, catching massive tubes, sitting in the sun. What an adventure! Stacy Peralta's painstaking assemblage of this ancient footage pays off.

After this, the film picks up on the evolution of surfing at a faster pace, with loads of interviews with the masters and fans, plus clips from hilariously bad Fifties surf exploitation films - check out the utterly convincing rear projection work, I say - and folks who have seen and done the maddest, craziest stuff ever on a surf board. It's entertaining and informative most of the time, but after his great documentary Dogtown And Z-Boys, Peralta seems to be reaching out to a smaller audience with bigger arms.

Put it this way, skater-boy culture is, unfortunately, everywhere. No matter what town you live in, there are always punk kids who think they are cool coz they can "bust a slammin' ollie", or whatever rubbish. The influence of REAL skater kings goes out far and wide. But who can identify with surfers? Anyone caught going down Granton Harbour with a board under their arm is either moronically optimistic, or just plain delusional. It's nice to know all this surfing stuff, but what good is it to most of us?

Peralta has a real talent for making historic and contemporary documentaries. However, Riding Giants isn't as wholesome as Dogtown And Z-Boys and it does go on, at great length, about something 99 per cent of us will never do.

Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2004
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Everything you will ever want to know about surfing.
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Director: Stacy Peralta

Writer: Stacy Peralta, Sam George

Starring: Greg Noll, Flea, Laird Hamilton, John Milius, Gerry Lopez

Year: 2004

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2004

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If you like this, try:

Dogtown And Z-Boys