Riding Giants | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Riding Giants

Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys) splits his documentary -- a collection of archival footage and contemporary interviews -- into three sections depicting significant moments in one aspect of surfing, riding big waves. There is the enviable insouciant SoCal crew who relocated to Hawaii in the late '50s and early '60s to master the "cursed" huge waves at Waimea Bay; the revelation in 1990 of a pounding, and deadly, stretch of surf hiding in plain sight 20 miles south of San Francisco; and the new king of giant surf, Laird Hamilton, who grew up among the surfing hotshots of the '60s and '70s and went on to ride unconquerable waves in the 1990s after developing a jet-ski tow-in system. A must for armchair surfers -- especially for the heartbreakingly gorgeous 1950s footage of the unsullied sport, and for the ribald remembrances of Greg "the Bull" Noll, the first big-wave star. 2.5 cameras