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A Board Sports Movie Triple Feature:

Riding Giants
Dogtown and Z-Boys
Step into Liquid

Riding Giants

Family Safe (with no embarrassing sex scenes that will make you squirm if you watch this with your parents or kids.)

If you surf, you know that it is one of the gnarliest sports out there. Not too many other sports carry the constant threat of dying by drowning or being crushed, and are played on a moving battlefield. Surfing makes snowboarding seem easy.

Riding Giants” a fab new surf movie, was released in a limited number of theaters in July 2004, in the US. Directed and co-written by acclaimed surfer, skater and now director Stacy Peralta, (who also made “Dogtown and Z-Boys”) this movie has that same “Stacy” touch showing the history and progression of surfing in the US since it’s inception.

The film is roughly divided into two parts; The Old Days, and Now. There are lots of incredible film clips from the 50’s on up, showing surfing, and surf antics. Surfer Greg Noll is interviewed frequently, and the old films show how he brought style to the sport. A voice over keeps the story moving along. The heartwarming story of how little-boy Laird Hamilton met his future step-father while they were body-surfing is a gem.

Laird is a second-generation surfer and considered the pioneer of big-wave (understatement!) riding. Jeff Clark, Laird Hamilton and the newer sport of big wave riding, of waves 30 to 60 feet dominate the second part of the movie. If you have tried surfing, involuntary sounds will issue forth from your mouth when you see riders diving over huge cliffs of water and being chased by fast moving curl.

Since this is a snowboard site, you may wonder, what do surfing and skating have to do with snowboarding? Plenty! First of all, these three board sports are some of the fastest evolving sports in existence. How much has basketball changed in your lifetime? Skating and surfing rocketed forward in evolution with the introduction of “space age” materials; fiberglass for the surfboards and urethane wheels for the skateboards. And the board sports all borrow moves and ideas from each other.

In “Riding Giants”, there is one tiny clip of snowboarding, but snowboarding is where Laird Hamilton and his buds say they got the idea of putting bindings on their surfboards. Riding the monstrous waves of Hawaii and Indonesia requires being towed out to the line-up by a jet ski. Called tow-in surfing, this enables surfers to ride unthinkably huge waves of 60 feet or more.

Getting towed out combines the concept of water-skiing or wake-boarding with the idea of a ski lift to get them where they need to be to drop in. Since the surfers no longer have to lie on their bellies and paddle their boards out, they can strap into the bindings and be pulled out deep. They can ride the giants and even get air just like riding a snowboard.

This movie was awe-inspiring and exciting. Even spiritual. Go out and see it on the big screen if you can find it.

Dogtown and Z-Boys, and Step Into Liquid

Meanwhile if you’re looking for a board sport couch potato evening, rent Dogtown and Z-Boys also directed by Stacy Peralta, which traces the history of skateboarding since it first evolved as a pastime for surfers and groms in the afternoon when the surf was flat. There is plenty of great surfing to be seen in “Dogtown.” You can see how a halfpipe made of snow, or a skate ramp, are just frozen snapshots of waves. This kind of history is easy to take!

 You can make it a double feature with “Step into Liquid,”, another incredible surfing movie that just came out for rental. They’re both so good that I watched them twice in a week!

You can rent Dogtown and Z-Boys and Step Into Liquid from NetFlix.

Did you know that Netflix is the no-hassle way to have movies sent to your home? You can sign up for a free trial. Sign up and rent these movies or Jack the Chimp's MVP or MVP2 (or 20,000 other movies!) on Netflix. 

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