Vans Off The Wall

An A-grade sneaker set from the team that brought us Dog Town and Z-Boys, and Riding Giants. This one isn’t for general release, it’s clearly meant for us – those who appreciate the bestial beauty of “the Banzai Pipeline”.

Peralta’s professional touch sets the film apart from the general over-hype, and he uses the history of the contest, held every year from 1971, to thread together some of the countless dramas that line Pipe’s gut. If the cheese of contests puts you off, don’t worry, any excess is regularly tempered by revealing, often wry observations from Pipe participants – Rory Russell, Shaun Tomson and Jeff Divine being the standouts here. Oh, and of course Gerry Lopez.

He rightly takes up a lot of this film, not just in terms of footage, but also by being universally acknowledged as the true master of the wave. Gerry emerges as Pipe’s spiritual lightning rod, showing the rest of us the way to calm within chaos, a grail every surfer chases. Shaun Tomson, Tom Carroll, Kelly Slater, the Ironses – all the mortal masters of Pipe tell of their relationship with the wave, always focused and somewhat mystical, but always intense. Always will be, no matter what other Teahupoo-type barrels rear up. Pipeline is the magic apex, the Alpha and Omega wave. Lopez is the master. Amen. ADR