…by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Under a hazy summer evening sky, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Spa welcomed over 300 guests for an advanced viewing of Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton. Presented by the Hampton International Film Festival (HIFF), these SummerDoc films are usually held once a month in other parts of the Hamptons during the summer. By the positive response for ticket purchases and Montauk known for its surfing, it was a winning location for this screening. Held on the expansive outdoor patio area, a huge screen, reminiscent of the days of drive in theaters, guests enjoyed watching the film with its star in attendance for both the reception and film viewing. On hand for a post-screening conversation were the film’s Director Rory Kennedy, Laird Hamilton, and his wife Gabby Reece, and moderator Alec Baldwin.
The film itself is a captivating look into Laird Hamilton’s childhood, how his mother left California and moved to Hawaii and his life living by and in the ocean. This biographical look into his childhood psyche and his need for solace and escape into the world of surfing monstrous waves helps the viewer understand how it all began. Visually the filming was both awesome and nerve-wracking to watch unbelievable tremendous waves and Hamilton’s ambition to ride each one of them. Along with his team of friends and fellow surfers being interviewed, the film explores his quests for conquering waves around the world. Hamilton is a living legend…an amazing daredevil athlete with skills beyond the surf. It was impressive to watch as parts of the film showed his engineering talents, construction techniques and objective to devise new ways to surf and improve his equipment. Many of the segments shared the most intimate feelings behind his life, narrated by Hamilton himself. Touching parts included his wife, Gabrielle, talking on screen about their marriage, through rocky parts, to understanding why he has this need for the extreme. From his teen life as a model to an early role in the film North Shore, playing “Lance Burkhart”, Hamilton described with humor how years later, movie goers thought of him as that character. The part he played was of an obnoxious surfer, which some thought he was one in the same. As we all know actors often can get type cast in a strong role they star in when the performance is convincing. Laird is the polar opposite of that character.
Then into the 1990’s Hamilton added windsurfing, waterskiing and kite surfing to his many skills on the water. Hawaii being the perfect climate and wind for these sports, his life was spent on the waters between the islands of Oahu and beautiful Kauai. He has also worked to perfect an invention called the foilboard, based on the same technology of the hydrofoil, where the surf board actually rides above the water! The film sequences for these sailings were most impressive adding to the exquisite cinematography of this film! One does not have to be a surfer to enjoy this film. It is ideal for audiences of all ages to enjoy getting to know Laird Hamilton, his life, the surfing sport he loves, the scenery and seeing the drive behind constant perseverance and its rewards. During the pre screening press photo opportunity Laird Hamilton was genuinely warm, welcoming and friendly to all that approached him during this session. Several young children came forward to meet him and asked for a photo together and he was more than gracious to pose, ask their name and chat. It was the same for adults that came over to say hello. His wife, Gabrielle Reece, and the film’s director, Rory Kennedy, were both outgoing and pleasant to everyone, too. It was evident they were appreciative for the turnout that night and very proud of the documentary film about to be shown. For more information about this film and where it can be seen visit: http://hamptonsfilmfest.org/summerdocs