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Pieces of My Life (Surf Films) | by roddh
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Pieces of My Life (Surf Films)

Surfers believe that surfing is life. [Period.]

Waves are the living face of the waters, brought into being by the sun, wind and moon.

Our credo: Any day in the water is a good day.

But when its 8 to 10 feet and pumping, then you know you are alive!


Surf Film Notes:


Five Summer Stories

This is THE great surf film of the 1970s. Made by Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman, "Five Summer Stories" pioneered in the water surf photography, and has the best soundtrack of any surfing film. Captures the spirit of 1972. [Greg MacGillivray went on to found the IMAX film company. Greg's filmography is here]


The Endless Summer


The Endless Summer (1966) brought surfing into my consciousness. The around the globe search for the perfect wave resonated deeply. At the time we were living in New Haven, Connecticut. It was winter. Two years later we moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. To put it mildly, I was "stoked". There are now a couple films in this series. All worth viewing (



Laird Hamilton's famous wave at Teahupoo (in Tahiti), photographed by surf film maker extraordinaire, Jack McCoy. If there ever was a perfect wave and a perfect day, this has to be it. Completely glassy, with a 15 thick lip. There is nothing quite like the wave at Teahupoo.


Blue Crush

Hands down best Hollywood film about surfing. Made by surfers, Blue Crush contains some of the best in-the-water footage of any surf film. By shooting from inside the tube and underwater, you get to experience the violence and terror of a 15 foot over the falls wipe at Pipeline!


When you watch Blue Crush make sure to listen to the producer's commentary about making the film: they are heavily into the Oahu North Shore surfing scene. From a surfer's perspective the making of stories are actually better than film itself.


Read some of the great Blue Crush production stories here:


A couple of tidbits about Blue Crush. Mike Stewart (body boarding God) was hired to photograph Pipeline, while riding in the tube behind the surfers being filmed. The resulting footage is some of the most innovative and highest quality inside the wave perspective ever made.


Don King (surf / film) photographer (and Punahou grad) who worked on Blue Crush is interviewed here:


At the end of the film, Anna Marie scores a perfect 10 at Pipeline. Altho the producers had hired the best female surfers, because of an injury to Rochelle Ballard, they had to put Noah Johnson in the water, wearing a bikini !



Surfing for Life (not displayed in photo)

This is a very cool film/documentary which tells the story of surfing thru interviews and historical footage of older men and women, who continue surfing into their 60s, 70s and 80s. I have a particularly strong connnect to the movie because it interviews 2 teachers from my Honolulu high school (Punahou) who humerously talk about the temptation of skipping class, whenever there was a big North Shore swell running. I really enjoyed this film. It is very unique. The producers original idea/motivation was to make a film about "successful aging".


From the press release:

"SURFING FOR LIFE, a vibrant and award-winning one-hour documentary about inspiring well-spent lives, offers a totally fresh look at successful aging. Narrated by Beau Bridges, it profiles ten legendary surfers who model healthy aging by staying active and engaged into their 7th, 8th and 9th decades. Through interviews, contemporary day-in-the-life footage, and a wealth of rare archival material, the film provides an eloquent and powerful antidote to the negative images of aging presented in America's youth-obsessed culture. It will be broadcast on public television stations throughout the country beginning April 14, 2001."


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Taken on February 8, 2007