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It's not likely I'll every step onto a surfboard. But I do love to live vicariously. I was able to do that with this 2003 surfing documentary. Splendidly!

Written and directed by Dana Brown, the son of Bruce Brown, who created "The Endless Summer" in 1966 (and who appears in this film), the words that roll out with the opening credits are "No special effects. No stuntmen. No stereotypes". How refreshing!

The sport of surfing has come a long way since it started to become popular in the late 1950s. It was started in Hawaii, of course, hundreds of years ago. It was then, and always has been, purely recreational.

This film is about the pure joy of the sport and this comes through loud and clear in every frame. We see children having a blast. We see professional surfers. We see the fun a group of big beer-bellied guys in Sheboygan Wisconsin have when they put on wet suits and surf the small waves in the muddy waters of Lake Michigan as well as and surfers who actually surf in the waves made by oil rigs in Texas.. We see what is called the "pipeline" in Oahu and watch the experts in serious battle with nature. Here, the surfers know that injury is almost inevitable and they just hope that when it happens it is something that can be fixed. Later, we meet a young man whose neck was broken while surfing. He's paralyzed from the waist down but he still rides a surfboard on his belly.

It must be quite a thrill. And scary. Surfers say they think "I'm gonna die" often. But still they surf.

It's impossible to paddle out to the really big waves. The surfers need a buddy on a "ski tow" for this. This is a dangerous job because the guy on the ski tow has to rescue the surfer when he falls off his board.

We meet Dale Webster, a man who works in a fast food restaurant but who made a commitment to surf three waves every single day. He's been doing this for 25 years and will likely continue for many more, always supported by his family who understands his need to surf.

We meet the three Molloy brothers from California. They travel to Ireland, where their grandparents came from Here, they put on wet suits and surf the cold and dark turbulent waters. The locals are delighted, especially when they teach the children from both Catholic and Protestant schools to surf. The children are wonderful to watch and they enthusiastically speak on camera to the filmmakers.

We meet the men, now in their 60s, who were the original surfers in "The Endless Summer". One of them lives in Costa Rico now and he surfs with his grown son. We meet Australian champion surfers and learn what creativity in surfing is all about. Some of the surfers we meet are women who are wonderful athletes but tend not to go for the really tremendous waves.

Then there are the GIGANTIC waves. We follow a group of four surfers who have to take a boat 100 miles into the Pacific to catch these waves. Wow! There is a great shot of them surfing in a wave a full 66 feet high.

The cinematography is absolutely fantastic. Later, in one of the DVD's extra features, we meet the photographers and learn about the excitement and the danger of their craft. They have specially made housing for their cameras and do not have a lens to look through.. They have all been injured and recovered and came back and took more pictures. They specialize in surf photography because they, too, share the passion for the sport.

Yes, passion is what it's all about. I felt it while watching this film. And I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch all the fascinating extras. There's even a lesson on how to surf.

I give this film one of my highest recommendations. It's pure joy all the way.
33 comments|89 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 23, 2003
The waves are the star of this documentary about the world of surfing today. The film shows many different aspects of surfing from top competitors and extreme sports to weekend athletes having a good time. It is definitely a feel good movie with humorous sections and breathtaking footage of the largest wave ever ridden. The downsides of surfing faced by the average surfer are not dealt with (crowed conditions, aggressive surfers, the common minor injuries).
In the classic "Endless Summer" the surfers were young men; in the 1960's few women, kids or older people surfed. This update shows surfers of all ages and abilities enjoying the sport. The section with the top female surfers is particularly beautiful. Robert August, who was one of the surfers in "Endless Summer" appears in this film surfing with his son
The film will speak to surfers and people who love the ocean, but can be enjoyed by everyone. The footage is spectacular and the music is great. Enjoy. Aloha
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on September 3, 2003
This is a fabulous movie. My husband is a surfer and I'm not, but the both of us could not wipe the smile off our faces during the entire film (and for an hour after). This movie is made unique by it's survey of the surfing community. It shows that all different types can be and are impacted by surfing. If nothing else, it'll open your eyes to see that a surfer can be a factory worker in Wisconsin or a child in Vietnam. This movie ranks up with 'In God's Hands' as far as quality.
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on October 29, 2003
Being a surfer I see how competitive it gets out there, especially because I'm a girl. This movie really takes you back to the REAL reason we surf and that's the joy of the ride and being one with the wave. What an incredible thing to see big waves on the big screen too! I went to see it wioth my surf club and we had a great time. Even non-surfers would greatly enjoy this movie, it's funny and at the same time it really taught me some life lessons, not just surfing ones. I would reccomend it to anyone. And if you do surf and you want someone you know to understand why you do it, show them this movie, they'll get the picture.
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on August 30, 2003
Laird Hamilton and Dana Brown (son of Bruce Brown who produced "Endless Summer" back in 1966), produce and direct this documentary which I expect will become the new surf-film standard for our generation in the same way endless summer was in 1966. In my opinion Dana Brown's "Endless Summer Revisited" (2000) was probably a practice run for this film.
Step into Liquid introduces us a new breed of world class surfers as well as "revisiting" the original Endless Summer crew plus introducing us to a few of their peers, all now in their 60's still living their dream. Hamilton and Brown add a few unique views of surfing that really made the film enjoyable beyond the huge waves we expected to see.
The best was a view of surfing from Ireland's northern coast where young Irish-American surfers use the sport to bring young Protestant and Catholic children together for the first time. In another we saw Lake Michigan surfers at Sheboygan, Wisconsin. That was a great moment. There are a lot of others you'll enjoy.
Of course you'll go expecting to see spectacular waves and wipeouts- you won't be disappointed. Cinematography was brilliant and alone worth the price of entry. Perhaps the only weakness was a lack of really good inclusion of women surfers in the main storyline- they were just a section shot in 3rd person style- we never felt like we really got into their lives even though the title was even taken from one of their comments. "Stepping" was definitely a male-driven, male-centered film that missed an opportunity to do more, and at the same time truly set itself apart from "Endless Summer" in that sense.
I strongly recommend seeing it. Our theater here in Portland was packed, and the audience response was spontaneous applause when the final credit rolled. You might want to rent and see the 1966 "Endless Summer" and possibly Dana's "Endless Summer Revisited" as prequels before you go out to see "Step into Liquid".
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on July 25, 2011
This product is a rip off!! This hd dvd is licsense restricted and the licensing is no longer supported by the producers/distributors/or microsoft(the developers of the format). The websites do not even exist anymore for this format. I cant believe that Amazon would actually allow this to be sold on this site!!! I have spent countless hours doing research and contacting people to get this dvd to work, and the responsable parties can not be contacted in any way that i have found. Defiinatly a major let-down. in order to watch this title buy the blu-ray version.
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on July 22, 2011
I bought the two-disk version of the movie as a gift. Because of DRM stuff, the DVD does not play. You have to get a license from syncast.com in order to watch the movie, but syncast.com is no longer functioning.
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on March 8, 2009
This *was* an awesome DVD. I purchased it some time ago and got the 2 disc version with the WMV HD (high def) release. I watched it on my PC and it was truly amazing.. but now a year or so later and a new PC, it no longer works. You put the DVD in, and it tries to validate at syncast.com, which no longer exists! The DVD can not be viewed without the flippin DRM validation! WHAT A RIP OFF!!!!! I am so p*ssed off - they could at least provide some way of removing the validation requirement, but noooo, too greedy and too unethical to do that. This is why I refuse to buy any software with DRM that requires activation or limited installs. No wonder these companies are being sued.
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on August 7, 2004
I am an Endless Summer fan, and that is why I chose to watch this movie. I've never surfed a day in my life, but it is something that I would do if I had a bit more courage. Step Into Liquid has beautiful cinematography and is an interesting documentary to even those not in the surfing world.
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"In 2003, at a spot on Maui called Jaws, a surfer rode the largest wave so far - 70 feet. Meanwhile, the search is on as elite surfers around the world attempt to be the first to ride a 100-foot wave!" ~Drew Kampion, Waves

Step into Liquid captures some of the most extreme sports adventures I've ever seen on DVD. The 66 foot waves in one section alone explores the incredible power of the ocean, harnessed by a surfboard and an extremely talented surfer (please notice his very muscular build when interviewed later...needed to surf those huge waves) who may be the bravest man in the world. The sheer magnitude of the experience is almost overwhelming to the point of exhilarating and beyond and could be the most exciting moment in extreme sports.

As a child I was saved from a wave rolling me endlessly at a beach in Cape Town, SA. A surfer (or angel) in a black wetsuit pulled me from the rough waves and I never forgot the experience.

To throw yourself into such an experience where the waves could literally devour you (note the coral reef that looks most frightening) seems to require an extremely adventurous spirit.

I thought this surfing program would include more footage from places in Africa (Durban in particular where we would vacation in the summer and the sand burns your feet!), but they focus mostly on Ireland, Vietnam, Australia, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Tahiti, California and surprisingly Texas! Lake Michigan? You won't believe the places people are willing to surf. Some of the most surprising surf moments take place surfing the waves behind tankers in Texas. I assume they avoided the African coastline due to the Great White sharks and I don't blame them!

The most humorous sections were the three brothers surfing in Ireland and the most heartwarming is the section where they show the kids learning to surf in Ireland. Surfing really crosses the boundaries of culture and religion and reaches for a sense of peace and happiness. While there are negative aspects, not explored in this program, the focus is mainly on the excitement of the sport and the positive outcomes from the experience.

The most informative sections were the extras, which I must say were extravagant in content. You could not wish for more extras, interviews, details on how to make surfboards and even music montages. An extensive section on surfing etiquette is included and you can also find the perfect surfboard by using the instructions on the second DVD. There is also information on the hydrofoil boards.

Step into Liquid is a wild and exhilarating experience that will leave you longing for the beach and thinking about buying a surfboard even if you never tried surfing before. If you love the ocean, this is a must-see!

~The Rebecca Review
Born in the USA, but once "also" rolled in a wave filled with shells
by the South Coast in Africa. It seems I spent a lot of time under the water. ;)
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