Laird of the waves 

Big wave surf film screening at Rainbow

What: Riding Giants

Where: Rainbow Theatre

When: Wednesday, Nov. 10

Tickets: $9

Rainbow theatre will be filled with giants on Wednesday evening.

Powerful, crashing giant waves on screen in all their horrific beauty, along with the elite crew of surfers that dare to ride them.

Even though any surfing done around these parts is of the powder variety, there’s nothing quite like a big wave surf film to stir the soul, inspire the mind and get the juices flowing.

And the Whistler Film Festival society has brought in a doozy.

As far as pedigree goes, Riding Giants , released this past July, is the cream of the crop. In the director’s chair is Stacey Peralta a lifelong surfer who looked to the ocean for his next project after the success of his autobiographical 2001 skateboard documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys .

Peralta’s historical sensibilities and respect for roots are employed again in Riding Giants . The film tracks the origin of big wave surfing and features Greg Noll, a living legend of Hawaii’s 1960s big wave North Shore scene.

The film also examines the area just off of Half Moon Bay known as Maverick’s, a.k.a. "the big wave capital of California," and features surfer Jeff Clark, considered the first rider to conquer the "beautiful but malevolent reef break," back in 1975 at the immortal age of 17.

And of course, no film about big wave surfing would be complete without Laird.

Hamilton, that is. The surfer’s profile is such that he hardly requires a last name any more. Hawaii-based Hamilton is the king of present day big wave riding – a scene that has progressed to the point of needing personal watercraft to tow surfers into behemoth water walls beyond the scope of paddling. Laird of the waves has even created a space-age dual layer board, allowing him to skim above the choppy surface, a tool to conquer the previously unridable.

Hamilton is also onboard behind the cameras as executive producer for the film.

With such talent in front of the camera the film backed itself with top surf cinematographers and still photographers, and has received critical accolades for its breathtaking footage.

Riding Giants is the last film of the year in the Whistler Film Festival Society’s monthly Reel Alternatives series. Tickets are $9, available in advance from Nesters Market. The film will screen at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Ticket stub holders receive VIP treatment at the screenings’ after party at Buffalo Bill’s.

The Fourth Whistler Film Festival takes place Dec. 2-5.


Surfing’s all-time top five films

If Riding Giants makes you thirsty for more surf film action check out some of the top five according to Surfer Magazine associate editor Jake Howard:

1. Endless Summer (1966)

"Hands down the surf movie by which all others have been judged. Bruce Brown, Robert August and Mike Hynson on the idealistic search for endless waves, sunshine and good times. A must see for anybody that enjoys sunsets, long walks on the beach, and of course, surfing."

2. Five Summer Stories (1972)

"A surf cult classic. Produced by Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivray, the film helped put surfing in context during the turbulent Vietnam and Nixon years when the sport was both coming of age in terms of professionalism and wrestling with its more soulful roots. One of the best and most renowned surf movies of the era."

3. Big Wednesday (1978)

"Hollywood's big attempt to break into the surf genre. And while it's a step up from Gidget or Beach Blanket Bingo, most hardcore surfers saw the film as unrealistic and a bit of a flop. But the entertainment value can not be underestimated. A classic fight scene and a climactic surf session at the end have helped keep this film in most surfers’ libraries for over 20 years."

4. Step Into Liquid (2003)

"Last year Dana Brown, son of Bruce Brown, released his own take on The Endless Summer . And while the intent of the film was not to follow two guys around in search of surf, Step Into Liquid serves as a barometer of the stoke level around the world in the new millennium. The tanker surfers from Texas and the guys from the Great Lakes can't be missed."

5. Brokedown Melody (2004)

"A grassroots, independent surf film shot on 16mm by professional surfer Chris Malloy. With high energy, impactful footage of six-time world champion Kelly Slater woven in with indigenous surfers in the South Pacific, a struggling surf community in rural Jamaica and the body surfing exploits of friends and family, Malloy delivers a film that, while small in stature, speaks volumes."


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