A review of “Step Into Liquid” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: ***

Rating: Unrated, but could be PG for intensity

Run Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes



Step into liquid, indeed.  What better time of year for a bitchin’ surfing documentary that offers a refreshing splash into the lingering days of summer?

Writer / director / editor Dana Brown has surfing in his genes.  He’s the progeny of Bruce Brown, the infamous auteur behind the legendary “Endless Summer” films.  Not one to be shown up by his old man, Brown eulogizes the “stoke” --- the passion that keeps surfers relentlessly coming back for more --- with stylish élan.

The ocean’s most powerful and dangerous waves take center stage in this compelling and drop-dead dazzling doc, making their graceful bows in the most unlikely corners of the earth. Naturally there’s Maui, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the classic beaches of SoCal, but how about Ireland, Vietnam, and even the Texas coast (supertanker curls!) for some of the hottest rides in the world? 

The zeal of these wet and wild riders is unparalleled, as demonstrated by the dude who can’t wait to get back on his board after a wipeout that has partially paralyzed him, or the gentlemen who hasn’t missed a day in the water in over 28 years. The Malloy brothers get radical with the Irish Protestant and Catholic youth, teaching tolerance via the “pipe”. Even the girls get into the action, with Brown doing his PC-best to pay homage to the rising tide of women involved in the sport.

It’s the ultimate high and a full-blown addiction.  Occasionally the whole Zen-ness of surfing’s converted overwhelms the action, but at a tight eighty-eight minutes it’s a pretty safe big-screen rush.