Danny Way is largely seen as one of the most fearless of all professional skateboarders having won five gold medals in the Summer X Games not to mention a strong of other achievements and world records as long as his arm. He came from a broken home and had a tough childhood which was to be a major factor in Danny's future career as he sought an activity that he could pour all of his pain and anger into. Skateboarding happened to come naturally to him and he went on to win the first skating competition he entered at just 11 years old. It was to be the first step into the world of extreme sports where he would go on to make one of the most spectacular jumps of his career over the Great Wall of China.
This stunning documentary showcases the biggest achievements of 38-year-old pro boarder Danny Way. Directed by Jacob Rosenberg in his first full-length documentary, it's a wonderful story of the ups and downs of his life and the major records and near misses of his career and features interviews with some of the biggest stars of the skateboarding industry Travis Pastrana, Laird Hamilton, Rodney Mullen, Mat Hoffman, ken block, Rob Dyrdek and Tony Hawk.
Starring: Travis Pastrana, Laird Hamilton, Rodney Mullen, Mat Hoffman, Ken Block, Rob Dyrdek and Tony Hawk.
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Kelly Bensimon and Laird Hamilton - Kelly Bensimon, Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece New York City, USA - 23rd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Monday 22nd September 2008
Writer-director Dana Brown clearly had a blast burning through the film's travel budget. From Hawaii to Vietnam to Easter Island, his crew captures some gorgeous footage of surfers at play (or at work, depending on how you look at it). Regardless of where he travels, surfers world-wide all share a childlike wonder at how much fun they get to have in the water. Off the coast of Galveston, Texas, Brown follows a group who find pleasure in surfing on the wakes of the massive supertankers that pass through; in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, he discovers a group of decidedly un-buff men cruising the modest tides of Lake Michigan, offering surfer-dude talk in Midwestern accents.
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It begins with a peppy history of surfing, tracing its origins from ancient Polynesia to 19th century Hawaii, where missionaries secularized the sacred sport, and into the early 1900s, when Hawaiian Olympic athlete Duke Kahanamoku introduced the sport to Californians. Riding Giants really starts, though, with its look at Hawaii's North Shore in the 1940s and 1950s, where some adventurous early surf giants rode the massive waves at now-legendary places like Waimea Bay. Captured mostly through some talking head interviews with big wave legends like the engagingly vulgar Greg Noll and herky-jerky home movie footage, Peralta means for this period to look like a golden age - and he succeeds. The surfers captured here are carefree blonde rebels who couldn't care less about actually rebelling, they just want to get on the waves; the flip, fun side of the Beats, they chucked the 1950s status quo and lived a primordial existence at the end of the world, with no jobs and no money, catching fish to eat and surfing all day every day.
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There have been surfing documentaries before -- mostly hot-dogging sports flicks comprised of "wow" footage with ace boarders facing down big, beautiful, ominous waves. But even "Endless Summer," this mini-genre's high-water mark, isn't as comprehensive or exhilarating as "Riding Giants," which revels in the sport's thrills and perils, in its history and minutia, with the same wit, insight, enthusiasm and cinematic acumen that director Stacy Peralta brought his ingenious 2002 skateboarding doc "Dogtown and Z-Boys."
Opening with a Hallelujah Chorus of monster swells crashing over on themselves (heard in 5.1 Dolby Surround and seen from all the traditional angles plus awe-inspiring aerial shots), the film gets off to an imaginative start with a rapid-fire primer tracing surfing from its Polynesian roots to its "Gidget" popularization. Peralta then coasts into the unique crux of this movie: the personal histories of (and engrossing interviews with) some of the sport's 20th century heroes.
Beginning in the 1950s with Greg Noll, who along with a dozen or so other Hawaiian beach bums forged the whole surf culture we know today, the film waxes poetic about the purity of their lifestyle (these guys literally slept on the beach and lived off the land and the sea) and pays homage to their pioneering pluck and their particular landmark accomplishments.
Continue reading: Riding Giants Review
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