Directed by Stacy Peralta, staring Greg Noll, Jeff Clark, Laird Hamilton and Buzzy Trent.

2004 has been a great year for documentaries, with the thought-provoking 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and 'Capturing the Friedmans' both critical and commercial successes. So it seems fitting to close out the year with a more upbeat subject, as 'Dogtown and Z-Boys' director Stacy Peralta returns with this fun documentary on the history of surfing.  

'Riding Giants' opens with a brief history of surfing, two minutes of animation that describe the first surfers and the origins of their vocation - from its Polynesian roots up to the 1950s when the 'Giants' of the sport were born.

We meet legends like Greg Noll and Jeff Clark, who recall the glory days of lounging on beaches waiting for the perfect wave to come calling, their stories often funny and occasionally sad. From surfing dressed as Nazis after the war to the death of close friends, Noll and Clark's recollections, along with the amazing footage, will draw you into a sport that most of us have only seen on TV shows.

The new pioneers of surfing are led by Laird Hamilton, regarded as the supreme god of the waves. His use of a smaller board and jet skis to propel him, has meant he has taken surfing to a whole new level. With jaw-dropping camera work and the perfect soundtrack, we travel from the gentle waves of Hawaii to the dangerous death walls of The Mavericks in California, each region offering a new challenge to those who dedicated their lives to chasing the biggest waves.

Fans of surfing will revel in their sport being given such a high-class promotion. For those of us too scared to even try, we can sit back and ride the wave with them from the comfort and safety of our cinema seats.

Seán Kavanagh