Bustin' Down the Door



By now, it's hard to find fresh angles when it comes to surfing documentary films, but Jeremy Gosch's "Bustin' Down the Door" from Screen Media Films manages the feat with its insightful account of the rise of a, pardon the pun, new wave of surfers that transformed the sport in the mid-1970s.

Featuring the inevitable generous quotient of spectacular surf footage, this account of the generational conflict between the traditional Hawaiian practitioners of the sport and a brash new generation of surfers mainly will appeal to devotees, but even nonfans might want to appreciate its visual splendors on the big screen. It opened Friday.

Narrated by Edward Norton, the film revolves around Australians Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Peter Townend, Mark Richards and Ian Caims and South African cousins Shaun and Michael Tomson, who arrived on the North Shore of Hawaii in winter 1975 to showcase their uniquely brash methods of conquering the waves.

Inevitably, their efforts helped jump-start a cultural revolution that helped transform the sport from a relaxed lifestyle choice into the megabucks industry that it remains to this day.

Featuring extensive interviews with the subjects themselves, the film provides ample evidence of their athletic prowess via extensive archival footage, much of which is commented on by the now-middle-aged surfers with a combination of nostalgia and ruefulness.