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Riding Giants [DVD] 
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From acclaimed director Stacy Peralta comes Riding Giants, the story of big wave surfing. Breakingthe mold of traditional documentary filmmaking, Riding Giants uses its dynamic, cross-generational approach to profile the lives and times of the intrepid surfers who over the decades have dedicated themselves to finding and successfully challenging the biggest waves on earth. We meet Greg Noll, the pioneer, whose relentless push into Hawaii's big surf in the late 1950s earned him the nickname "The Bull." There's Jeff Clark, Northern California's lone frontiersman, who, after discovering the massive waves of Maverick's near San Francisco, rode there alone for over a decade. And finally Hawaii's Laird Hamilton, the prototypical "extreme" surfer, a rare breed of athlete/innovator considered as the best big wave rider who ever waxed a board. Through a fast-paced combination of mediums that include classic archival photography, spectacular movie footage - both current and vintage - and co
Riding Giants is more than another blissful surfing movie. It's an outstanding documentary about one era in American alternative lifestyles, when surfing was well-suited to a radical culture of social dropouts. Using an amazing array of amateur film clips, shot for the most part in Hawaii and California from the late 1950s and early '60s, director Stacy Peralta traces the rise of surfing's appeal to young men looking to test themselves in an unorthodox (and sexy) milieu--of "living life to the fullest," as former surfer-turned-screenwriter John Milius (Big Wednesday) puts it at one point. Lengthy chapters on the glories of Oahu's Makaha and the "superstition and dread" that accompanied the big-wave challenge of Waimea Bay are riveting and sometimes heroic, particularly told through the memories of surf legend Greg Noll. Great material, too, about the deadly wonders of surfing Mavericks, California, where the rocks will get one if the violent tides don't. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
I've watched quite a few surfing movies since, nothing comes close to this. Buy it, Keep it, Enjoy it many times and show it to all your friends.
For me, the film really took off when it moved to California and the insane Maverick break - a mile or two off-shore (close to San Francisco) in rip tides and freezing water, 30ft waves - a break ridden by one single hero for FIFTEEN years, before it came to wider attention! Then onto Jaws in Hawaii (60 - 80 ft waves!!), where tow and surf was born, and then onto the three-mile offshore breaks with even bigger waves. I'll leave the finale for you to discover!
I found this a truly mesmerising film. If documentaries about extreme sports and the lifestyles that go with them is your thing, this is unmissable.
The various characters themselves take the viewer through the story most of the time. As the characters do not all relate to each other face to face, this narrative technique prevents the film from taking on its own personality, in contrast to Bruce Brown's Endless Summer movies which have taken on their own personalities so well.
At first viewing the special effects usually used in action movies seem confusing. These effects range from waves breaking fast forward to a flash appearing when a narrator snips his fingers after making a point. I am not sure whether the special effects are irritating or contribute to showing what surfers experience.
The film gives some time to exploring the psychology of surfers and what made them do what they do. This the film does very well without this aspect of the film becoming overwhelming. Pitty only that the movie focuses almost exclusively on America and Americans - big wave surfing has gone worldwide by now!
Riding Giants was well made, but is not a classic.
contains almost EVERYTHING on the history of surfing!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great documentary. Well shot with a good history etc. Will definitely get a few views out of this DVD.Published 1 month ago by MR C J GRUBB
Very well made documentary advised to all it is not only about surfing it is about confront, courage and mastering the raw power of nature.Published 7 months ago by Lisa