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Riding Giants
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Riding Giants (2004) More at IMDbPro »

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Riding Giants -- Documentary detailing the origins and history of surf culture.
Riding Giants -- Documentary detailing the origins and history of surf culture.


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7.9/10   3,962 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Stacy Peralta (written by) &
Sam George (written by)
View company contact information for Riding Giants on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 August 2004 (USA) See more »
It doesn't get any bigger than this.
Documentary detailing the origins and history of surf culture. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Catch the wave. See more (37 total) »


Jeff Clark ... Himself
Darrick Doerner ... Himself
Sarah Gerhardt ... Herself

Laird John Hamilton ... Himself
Dru Harrison ... Himself

David H. Kalama Jr. ... Himself

Dave Kalama ... Himself
Brian L. Keaulana ... Himself
Buzzy Kerbox ... Himself

Titus Kinimaka ... Himself

Gerry Lopez ... Himself

Peter Mel ... Himself
Mickey Munoz ... Himself

Greg Noll ... Himself

Gabrielle Reece ... Herself
Evan Slater ... Himself

Kelly Slater ... Himself
Anthony Tashnick ... Himself
Darryl Virostko ... Himself
Mike Waltze ... Himself

Grant Washburn ... Himself

Directed by
Stacy Peralta 
Writing credits
Stacy Peralta (written by) &
Sam George (written by)

Produced by
Paul Crowder .... associate producer
Nathalie Delest .... executive producer
Laird John Hamilton .... executive producer (as Laird Hamilton)
Jane Kachmer .... producer
Franck Marty .... executive producer
Agi Orsi .... producer
Stacy Peralta .... producer
Original Music by
Ric Markmann (original theme)
Cinematography by
Peter Pilafian 
Grant Washburn 
Film Editing by
Paul Crowder 
Production Management
Agi Orsi .... unit production manager
Cecy Rangel .... production manager
Sound Department
Richard Adrian .... sound effects designer
Alan Barker .... additional sound
Lance Brown .... re-recording mixer
Dane A. Davis .... lead sound designer
Dane A. Davis .... sound designer
Dane A. Davis .... supervising sound editor
Lori Dovi .... sound mixer
Michael Gatt .... sound recordist
Paul Hackner .... dialogue editor
Matt Hedges .... sound editorial coordinator
Larry Hopkins .... layback sound mixer
Eddie Kim .... sound designer
Eddie Kim .... supervising sound editor
James Morioka .... dialogue editor
Jacob Riehle .... assistant sound effects recordist
Anthony Roza .... assistant sound effects recordist
Donna G. Walker .... post sound operations
Bryan O. Watkins .... sound effects recordist (as Bryan O. Watkins)
Nathan Whitehead .... assistant sound editor
Wade Wilson .... sound effects designer
James Wright .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Camera and Electrical Department
Ralph Flores Jr. .... gaffer
David Homcy .... assistant camera: jaws unit
Sebastian Jungwirth .... assistant camera
Don King .... camera operator: jaws unit
John Malvino .... cinematographer: Maverick's unit
Ken Malvino .... assistant camera
Jai Mansson .... assistant camera: jaws unit
Paul Marbury .... assistant camera
Sonny Miller .... camera operator: jaws unit
Mike Prickett .... camera operator
Grant Washburn .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Andy Lichtstein .... digital colorist
Lara Mazzawi .... assistant editor
Grant Myers .... assistant editor
Cecy Rangel .... assistant editor
Royce Smith .... color timer
Pauline von Moos .... assistant editor
Music Department
Debra MacCulloch .... music supervisor
Other crew
Tina Miranda .... transcriptor (as Typing Plus)
Cecy Rangel .... researcher
Christine Triano .... researcher
Van Bedient .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
USA:105 min | Germany:101 min | UK:101 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Features Gidget (1959)See more »
Messe Solonelle: SanctusSee more »


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30 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
Catch the wave., 18 November 2004
Author: P Carr ( from Topeka, KS

I've never touched a surfboard in my life. But I did grow up swimming competitively and am a certified scuba diver, so I have a understanding of and respect for the ocean's power and allure. That's how a Kansas guy ended up seeing the surfing documentary "Riding Giants" in the middle of November. (Why exactly a Kansas theater was one of the five screens it was on this week is an entirely different question that I can't answer.)

The title "Riding Giants" has a two-pronged meaning, referring to both the act of harnessing huge waves and the larger than life people who are obsessed with doing just that. Featuring mood-setting music ranging from ukuleles to modern California rock, this 105-minute documentary serves as a history of the sport, shaming tripe like "Gidget" and even making "Endless Summer" look like something straight out of the kiddie pool.

"Riding Giants" opens with a brief, animated, two-minute look at the first 1000 years of surfing, which ends about 1950, when the first big-name surfers began to work their magic. Using remarkable half-century old footage, the doc then follows their path to Hawaii, where surfing became not just a hobby, but a culture that was far more than the onslaught of bad surfing movies in the '50s and '60s led many to believe. The big wave surfers gradually progressed to bigger and better waves around the Hawaiian coast, where most of the surfing community was concentrated until the discovery of The Mavericks, a dangerous but glorious surfing mecca in Northern California. Eventually that locale triggered surfing's stateside explosion in popularity. But one man from Hawaii, Laird Hamilton, has sent the sport as mainstream as possible in recent years. Using teams and jet skis, Hamilton's vision and drive radically changed the mindset of what was possible as surfing entered the 21st century.

That is the documentary in a nutshell, and although it may not seem all that interesting, the suitable laid-back intensity of "Riding Giants" will engross anyone who has much interest in any aspect of surfing, whether it be the water, the culture, or the sport. Writer/director/narrator Stacey Peralta ("Dogtown and Z-Boys") knows something about counterculture himself, having been among the first professional skateboarders, so he does not tell the story in the condescending tones sometimes used in describing surfing. He instead treats his subjects much like NFL Films treats the National Football League. The athlete are borderline deities, and the tone is frequently reverential. He is aided in this tone by the interviewees, who run the gamut of surfing history from the original Hawaiian crew to the Northern California ground breakers to the current crop of competitive surfers. Virtually every relevant person mentioned is interviewed, which lends credence, particularly since many viewers will have little idea who most of the people are beforehand.

Set up like a traditional documentary, Peralta's film lets the surfers themselves tell most of the stories, and he narrates when necessary to provide pertinent details. But the personalities and passion of the interviewees are what drive the picture. These guys are wired differently than most of us; there's no question about that. Their slightly irreverent but still respectful tone lets them get away with comparing the discovery of Hawaii's North Shore to Columbus stumbling upon America. An exaggeration? Of course, but the genuine emotion in their voices and faces make the words fully believable, much like a football player comparing his sport to a war.

Perfectly complementing the almost mythic personalities are the ridiculously massive and powerful waves themselves. From the surprisingly good old-school 8mm footage shot from the shore to the digital in-your-face shots from a jet ski, the photography in Riding Giants is nothing short of stunning. The waves are simply huge, and even though you may have seen quality shots in "Blue Crush", you haven't seen them on this grand and wild a scale. I guarantee your jaw will drop multiple times.

The fact that the history of the sport can be encapsulated in less than two hours gives the film a complete and satisfying feel, as opposed to something like Baseball, for which even ten hours was not enough. Those who don't have an interest in any aspect of surfing won't care for it, but even if you can't relate to the surfing directly, you will walk out of "Riding Giants" with a greater appreciation for the sport and a better understanding of what drives those who do it.

Bottom Line: "Riding Giants" effectively and absorbingly encapsulates surfing culture and history. 8 of 10.

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