Last night’s Netflix offering was Step Into Liquid, a so-so 2003 surfing documentary by Dana Brown, the son of Bruce Brown, who made the granddaddy of all surfing films, The Endless Summer, back in 1964.
Overall, Step Into Liquid is a bit of a yawner because it has no story and very little structure. It simply moves from location to location, with each stop alternating surfing footage and lightweight interviews, all strung together by Dana Brown’s bland narration.
That said, some of the surfing footage is really spectacular, and there are several worthwhile moments.
One of the highlights for us was the “Fresh-Water Fetch” scene in Sheboygan, Wisconsin featuring a very “stoked” crew of Lake Michigan surfers, including one named Lester Priday. Amy nearly screamed, because it was the very same Lester Priday that she knows from the real estate business in Kenosha. She had no idea he surfs. (Incidentally, I see that Sheboygan’s annual Dairyland Surf Classic is coming up on Labor Day weekend.)
Another great segment travels to the North Shore — of Ireland — to witness the brothers Malloy, surfers out of Ojai, California, who have brought this curious sport back to their ancestral waves off County Donegal, where Catholic and Protestant kids now learn to surf together.
Nothing here, however, measures up to the scene at Accra that was captured in The Endless Summer, a true landmark of filmmaking, and there are better recent surfing documentaries, such as Stacy Peralta‘s excellent Riding Giants, which provides a history of surfing from the ancient Hawaiians to tow-in surfing and foilboarding.
Step Into Liquid is pleasant enough, and probably worth renting if you enjoy the genre, but only if you’ve already seen the other two.