In the opening of Riding Giants, a documentary now in theaters
that chronicles big-wave surfing, Laird Hamilton takes the
measure of Jaws, a 60-foot swell off the coast of Peahi, Hawaii.
Watching him in that adrenaline-drenched moment, you just might
get a rush of your own. Director Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and
Z-Boys) uses awesome archival surfing footage to tell the story
of three men who find supreme pleasure in trying to tame the sea.
Greg (the Bull) Noll, now 67, is a stocky Californian who headed
to Hawaii in the 1950s and caught a swell during the 20th
century's biggest monsoon. Jeff Clark, 46, discovered Mavericks,
the frigid, black, shark-infested waters of Half Moon Bay,
Calif., in 1975, and surfed them alone for 15 years. But it's
Hamilton, 40, who revolutionized the sport in the early 1990s by
using a personal watercraft to tow-in to huge waves like those at
Jaws. Riding Giants ends with Noll choking up while describing
his 25-year relationship with Waimea Bay, proving once again that
love stories make compelling cinema.