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STEP INTO LIQUID

BY TOM MEEK

Dana Brown’s surf documentary (his father, Bruce, directed the Endless Summer films) hops from Rapa Nui to Wisconsin to capture its subject. It’s not just a thrills-and-spills highlight reel: middle-aged men hanging ten on the muddy ripples of Lake Michigan and Texans who wake-surf oil tankers get as much screen time as daredevil Taj Burrow and six-time surf champ Kelly Slater. On the inspirational side: three Irish brothers from Ohio hit the chilly brine of the homeland and then offer their skills to a clinic designed to unite Protestant and Catholic youths. Then there’s the war veteran who makes the cathartic journey back to Vietnam to donate a second board to the Danang Surf Club, 30 years later.

The film prefaces itself by saying "no special effects," and the younger Brown and his talented team of cinematographers go to great lengths to render each stunt with stomach-fluttering impact. At 87 minutes, Step into Liquid does feel long and over-philosophized, but that doesn’t matter when a hodgepodge of pro-circuit riders and extremers head 100 miles off the coast of San Diego to ride 60-foot curls in shark-infested waters. (87 minutes)


Issue Date: August 22 - August 28, 2003
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