A Board Sports Movie Triple Feature:
Dogtown and Z-Boys
Step into Liquid
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
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.
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
Meanwhile if you’re looking for a board sport couch potato evening,
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
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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