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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 August 2006
There is absolutely no need to have ever taken the slightest interest in surfing to enjoy this movie. I have never been interested in surfing, but when i caught this movie by accident on TV i was spellbound. Captivated from start to finish.

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.
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on 14 December 2005
What an amazing film, charting the rise of surf culture in California and Hawaii through the '50s and '60s, starting with the early long and heavy board proponents of the sport. It was the era of the beat generation, only this offshoot was dedicated to the hedonism of beach culture and surfing, living off the land, and generally dropping out. Loads of high-quality amateur footage show the progress towards bigger and bigger waves - I don't even surf, but some of these monsters are utterly awe-inspiring. It follows the surf bums as they scour Hawaii's northern reaches for bigger and bigger breaks, landing at last at Waimea where Greg Noll rose to become the finest big wave rider of all.

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.
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on 29 August 2006
Riding Giants is a documentary made at the right time for preserving the history of big wave surfing. The movie was produced recently and the possibilities and techniques of filmmaking in the 21st century were exploited.

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.
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on 17 January 2005
A must see, although slightly more historical than Billabong Oddysey. Still, the last half hour makes up for the slow beginning. Awesome.
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on 17 April 2006
this is an intelligently produced movie that strikes an excellent balance between documenting the history of surfing, the culture that surrounded the grass roots of the sport in north america and hawaii (in contrast to that portrayed so inaccurately by hollywood) and the lure of a sport that attracts men (and women) to test themselves in extreme natural environments. each of the three 'acts' tells a specific story central to the evolution of surfing since the sxities. the story of geoff campbell surfing mavericks alone for fifteen years before anybody joined him reveals more about the sport and the people who pursue it than perhaps any story previously told. it is compelling viewing and great credit to the producers. i look forward to their next work.
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on 26 December 2005
top quality history of surfing, well structured and edited
contains almost EVERYTHING on the history of surfing!
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on 22 August 2016
*Warning* prepare to have your tiny minds BLOWN: the 'giants' he is referring to aren't actually giants...but WAVES!!!
I was expecting a film about a man who climbs/rides tall people, which would have been really interesting, but was pleasantly surprised at the amazing cinematography and music about people who ride waves on 'surfboards'. 100% would have been improved by actual giants, but still very good,
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on 20 September 2007
I only watched this recenty and I really loved this film.....just captures the progression and danger of surfing at the highest level. I am not a surfer and I don't think you really have to be into it to appreciate this film at all...it's shot nicely and the documentary style with interviews makes it flow nicely.
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on 22 March 2006
This is probably the best surf film you'll ever see. For surfers and non-surfers alike, get swept up in the passion of amazing people doing amazing things in amazing surf. Completely lacking the self indulgence of most surf movies, this study of the history of surfing and the drive that makes people like Laird Hamilton risk their lives on 60ft faces will leave you aghast. Coupled with a superb sound track, wonderful cinematography and truly insightful interviews, this incredible film will leave you speechless and aching for more.
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on 16 March 2009
There is no other way to describe this film that absolutely epic! 99% of surfing films and just action-packed, adrenaline filled clips that are good to view, but once you're finished, you just think...."yeah, that was good fun", and then move on. Riding Giants on the other hand is this (don't get me wrong!), and a WHOLE load more. It has some of the most incredible shots that I have ever seen, but what really makes it is the way it comes across as so personal, with some really interesting, moving interviews with some of the worlds greatest surfers such as Greg Noll, Jeff Clark and Laird Hamilton, and their relationships with the waves.

An absolute must see! It is made in such a way that even if you have never shown the slightest interest in surfing, you can understand and enjoy it. And, if you surf every day, then you can relate to it and realise that there are many others that share the same passion as you.

Just Buy It.
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