Blu-ray Review: Highwater (surfing documentary)

Highwater Blu ray cover1 Blu ray Review: Highwater (surfing documentary)

Surf’s really up in the latest documentary from current surf documentary icon Dana Brown. The Brown family has had a long history making some of the best surfing docs ever made. Dana’s father directed The Endless Summer, the famous surfing doc that helped propel surfing in the national spotlight. Dana continues this tradition with the visually stunning, propulsive doc Highwater. A thrilling and intriguing look at the current state of the sport. It appears business is good (really good) for surfing and the doc captures thrilling footage at the mecca of surfing, the North Shore of Oahu, where the top ranked surfers compete in the Van “Triple Crown” Championship. The doc contains amazing footage of the competition along with interviews and stories from surfing’s biggest stars.

Surfers aren’t exactly known for their charismatic personalities but a few really stand out here. There’s the fascinating Sunny Garcia who grew up poor and now resents the commercialization of his fabled North Shore home. Not above fighting anyone who disrespects him he also makes the comment that he wishes for a storm to “wash the rich people’s homes away”, Brown lets that comment stand without challenging him much on it. There’s also all-around good guy and current surfing king Kelly Slater, who comes off as likable and mellow, earning millions and the adoration of young fans all over the globe. There’s also some brief footage of Bethany Hamilton, the real-life “soul surfer” of the current Hollywood movie. Bethany lost an arm during a shark attack and if the footage of her catching waves doesn’t inspire you, you’re clearly without a pulse. The Blu-ray looks and sounds terrific and includes some extended interviews and the movie’s trailer.

Whether you love surfing, have a passing interest, or don’t care at all, Highwater is well worth watching. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears on blu ray. The photography is stunning and while it’s not exactly hard-hitting (Brown questions the commercialization of the sport while backing off quickly), its a fun way to kill 90 minutes. Get this and Brown’s other doc Step Into Liquid for an amazing surfing double feature and let the hypnotic, dreamlike quality take you away.

Grade: A-

pixel Blu ray Review: Highwater (surfing documentary)

More fun articles: