Did you hear the one about the Irish surfer? It sounds like the set-up to another tired gag, but this doc assures us the connections are worth taking seriously. Who knew, for instance, that surfing was first popularised in California by a half-Irish, half-Hawaiian athlete called George Freeth? He’s given his due here, and it’s a fascinating tale if hardly a movie on its own. So the filmmakers flit back and forth between today’s professional Irish surfers tackling the Atlantic swell crashing against the coast and the significant imprint made by sundry Irish-Americans whose travels and writings have broadened the horizons of the surfing community. The pretensions of interviewees who apparently regard the ability to ride a wave as the pinnacle of human evolution get a bit wearing after a while however, and although the action footage is impressive, it becomes repetitive, exposing the rest of the movie as something of a ragbag. Surfing fans may be more enthused.
Friday April 3 2009