Stacy Peralta’s “Riding Giants” accurately depicts big wave surfing without the Hollywood over tones. Able to capture decades of surfing history in only 105 minutes, while educating about the sport, the life style, and its passion.
Ancient Hawaiian surfers dating back to as far as 1000 years enjoyed the thrill of riding waves. Then in 1948, a newspaper photograph of a 30-foot wave started a migration to Hawaii's big wave paradise. The American redwood boards were far too heavy for those waves so, designer George Downey built the first big wave surfboards using fiberglass and balsa wood.
Among the living legends, a surfing expert, Greg Noll found himself immersed in the emerging sub culture. He was the kind of guy who had no fear. He once rode one of history’s biggest waves but unfortunately was never photographed. His motto was simple: “Screw the money, I’m having all the fun I can possibly have”.
Surfing was a full-time occupation, with no room for bikini-clad Gidgets. For them surfing was not something you did, but something you became. It was a feeling of individuality and freedom, and for others became their life obsession to surf everyday, all day.
Among the amazing footage is a clip of the first people riding the waves of Waimea Bay, where the break is a fear-inducing 25-foot elevator drop. "I felt like a piece of lint in a dryer," says one surfer.
Although most of the big wave footage comes from Hawaii, Northern California's Jeff Clark discovered some big waves in his own backyard. He surfed Mavericks for years by himself before anyone dared join him in the rocky, cold and hateful waters.
"The worst thing that can happen is to get caught inside the break," Clark warns, as footage is shown of surfers trying to out-paddle the break. "You have to jump off the cliff before the cliff jumps on you."
In 1994, the surf world converged on Mavericks, where Hawaiian Mark Foo was killed from a wipeout on a less than...