“Life begins in the sea.” So goes the tag line for Water Man. In Water Man, we follow several prominent surfers to Indonesia in search of adventure in the ocean. But despite having so many talented surfers (Gerry Lopez, Rob Machado and the Malloys), Water Man really turns out to be the Laird Hamilton show. Not that I minded that, I can watch that dude surf all day long. It’s just that the premise of the film seems misleading. But maybe that’s why it’s Water MAN and not Water Men. Not to say that the other surfers are not featured, but it does feel Laird-centric.
Another thing that threw me a bit was the soundtrack. Many times throughout the film it really seemed at odds with what was happening in the film. For example, at one point Laird is talking about the serenity surfer’s tend to find while surfing and being in the ocean. Then they cut to a surfing sequence with Rage Against the Machine raging against the machine. It just seemed to kind of undo everything Laird had just said.
Another odd note is that this film is narrated by John Cussack. It’s always interesting when surf films get a big pull for the narrator spot, like having Edward Norton narrating Bustin’ Down the Door.
However, despite the soundtrack and the underuse of surfing star power, Water Man is well worth a watch and maybe even worth an own. The underwater photography is stunning from the beginning to the end. And I dig that the film was not all straight up surfing. They explored bodysurfing, tow-in, stand up paddle surfing and, a Laird specialty, the hydrofoil. They always seemed to be looking for newer and better ways to ride each of the waves they encountered.