Before entering art school, Rick Kane sets out to surf the big wave season on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, after winning a surfing contest in an Arizona wave pool by his home. Once in Hawaii, he immediately finds out that he knows nothing about the local habits, customs, or pecking order which cause him some starting problems. After being robbed by the local surf gang, he has a chance meeting with famous surfboard shaper Chandler, and after figuring out they have an artistic connection, Chandler offers Rick a place to sleep and something to eat. Chandler teaches him how to "read" the big waves and the difference between 'soul surfers' and those who surf for fame and money. He also manages to get the attention of a beautiful young native, which further stirs the pot with the "locals" but in the end gives him the courage and determination to take what he has learned from Chandler and surf the big waves like he had dreamed he could.
Matt Adler (Rick), Gregory Harrison (Chandler), Nia Peeples (Kiani), John Philbin (Turtle), Gerry Lopez (Vince), Laird John Hamilton (Lance Burkhart (as Laird Hamilton)), Robbie Page (Alex Rogers), Mark Occhilupo (Occy), John Paragon (Professor), Rocky Kauanoe (Rocky), Lokelani Lau (Anela), Cristina Raines (Rick's Mother), Tiffany Pestana (Chandler's Daughter), Corky Carroll (Corky Carroll), Joe Teipel (Pipeline Announcer), Lord James Blears (Contest Director (as Lord 'Tally Ho' Blears)), James 'Poorman' Trenton (Chuck King (as Jim 'Poor Man' Trenton)), Tavita Tu (Pila), David Ige (Rusty), Kelly Hager (Kako), Lionel Tarape (Taxi Driver), Steven Yoshikawa (Worker), Timothy Kamaka (Pao), Randy Kauhane (Keo), Kawika Stant (Pig Farmer)...
Okay, I'm have two points of view in regards to North Shore.
As a fan I love every second of this movie. I have watched it at least twice a year since my cousin gave my dad a worn out VHS copy from the video store she worked at. It was so warn out that at time's parts of it were almost ruined. There were audio issues and video artifacts all attributed to the state of the VHS tape. But, we loved it anyway.
My dad surfed. I surfed. We'd watch it I the dead of winter when there were no waves and no surfing to be done. We'd usually watch it again just before going surfing for the first time each season. North Shore became a family tradition and we used lines from it all the time. "No body listens to Turtle" became our way of saying that no one listened to our advice and suffered because of it. We called tourist kooks. We called ourselves Soul Surfers.
When my dad passed away a few years ago I went searching for the VHS copy, popped it in my VCR and it broke. Luckily I was able to track down the DVD. I loved to commentary and cast interviews. Watching it late the night I finally received it felt like my dad was there beside me, reciting our favorite lines with me again. If I am in a bad mood, all I have to do is pop in the DVD and I start feeling better.
It's got that cheesy 80's feel to it, but it works. Some of the cinematography are mind blowing, especially considering the budget and technology of the time. Nia Peeples looks amazing as Kiani (this was her first major role, BTW). Gregory Harrison made chandler come alive. An no one except John Philbin could have played Turtle. Throw in a cast of some of the greatest Pro surfers of the time (and some that qualify as greatest of all time), and it's got exactly what in needs to become a cult classic. Which it undoubtedly is, or else it would never have made the transition to DVD.
As a former film student and (still) wannabe writer/director I know this movie has faults. Yes, the Hui are played up. But, name one stereotype that isn't in a movie? We need the Hui to help drive the love story aspect and for that to happen they have to be bad ass dues with even worse attitudes. Some of the acting, by the non-actors (aka the pro surfers turned actors), was horrible. Some of the techniques used were dated and ruined certain scenes. For example, after Kiani and Rick leave the fashion shoot and go to another beach and it suddenly goes from full dark to 'daylight'.
Some of the dialog is terrible. But, then again some of the one liners are incredibly funny and highly memorable.
The plot has been criticized by many on here, and I honestly question how much attention they paid to the movie. Rick goes from Arizona to Hawaii to surf the 'season'. He does not have any thoughts about entering a surfing competition when he first arrives. It is only after he starts learning how to 'big wave surf' from Chandler and being notice by he Professor that he starts thinking of entering the contest. Even at the end of the competition he's laughing as he's about to be eliminated because "I never thought I'd make it this far." It's hard not to judge this movie by modern standards. It's also hard not to judge this movie by it's contemporaries and the standards of that time. But, considering the budget, it's not terrible.
All in all I give this a 7/10. We former film student half wont let me give it the 10/10 my fan half wants me to give it. It's worth checking out for those who have never seen it and worth a review by those who have panned it. My best advice to enjoying North Shore is to not look at it with the eye of a critic, but instead let the 80's cheesy cult, campy warmth envelope you. Hang loose, haole...
Before John Philbin could land the role of Turtle he had to convince the producers he could pull it off. So he flew to Hawaii for a few months prior to principal photography to get in shape, learn to surf, and perfect the local accent so his pidgin would sound convincing. He got so into surfing that to this day he still surfs and helps operate a surfing school.
Los reyes de las olas (Argentina; Peru) • Surf no Hawaí (Brazil) • Surfe no Havaí (Brazil (TV title)) • Ultime épreuve (Canada (French title)) • Pohjoisrannikko (Finland) • Hullámok bajnoka (Hungary) • Surf, surf, surf (Italy) • Pólnocny brzeg (Poland (cable TV title)) • Северный берег (Soviet Union (Russian title)) • North Shore - Die Wellenreiter von Hawaii (West Germany)
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