12 May 2003 | mikej-4
Best feature length drama dealing with surfing
There have been many feature length films out of Hollywood that have latched on to the subject of surfing. Endless Summer is the definitive classic, but it falls under the category of a documentary. The others are somewhere between comedy and drama. Some are cult classics and others are just plain silly 60's teeny movies. North Shore is a cult classic, but as a drama and a story it is basically lame, but I still like North Shore alot. Big Wednesday is truly credible. The story is great, the characters are great and it is worthy of respect as cinema. It is a kind of timeless story which happens to be told using the backdrop of Southern California surf culture. Those who live outside of this world may not fully apprieciate all of the nuances present or understand the surfer-surf-surfboard relationship. Now as to locations for filming: Most of the scenes are shot at Cojo Point, which is in Santa Barbara County, CA. Cojo is located in a remote part of this county and is not accessible by any public means other than by boat (the beach front is all private land). Other scenes were shot in El Salvador at a place called La Libertad. It isn't always easy to tell them apart. Both breaks are well above average in quality when on. The scenes with the more textured water that has a wilder appearance are probably La Libertad. The final and climactic scene on "Big Wednesday" is at Sunset Beach on Oahu's north shore. This is where Rick Kane first paddles out with Occy and Alex in North Shore. Sunset is a heavy wave breaking on an outside reef that can hold size and is no place for the inexperienced. Gerry Lopez does a reasonable job surfing Sunset with his back to the wave. Gerry was better known for his exploits at Pipeline, where he could surf facing the wave. Surfers like Billy Hamilton, Peter Townend and Ian Cairns were probably giving a stronger account of themselves at Sunset in the final scene. John Milius was never a surfer of any particular note growing up around Malibu, so I would question the autobiographical basis. He probably witnessed this type of stuff, but I don't know about actually participating.