Post­card from the crest of a big wave

Ed­die Ved­der’s more re­laxed, al­most hip­pie coun­te­nance is hard to re­sist

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Icon­o­clasts 9.20pm, ABC2 Iain Shed­den

LAIRD likes Ed­die. Ed­die is awe­some. Ed­die is a man, a fa­ther and the de­fender of rock ’ n’ roll, Laird says.

Ed­die likes Laird. Laird is a big wave, says Ed­die. To­gether, the big wave and the de­fender of rock ’ n’ roll make an im­pres­sive team. They are stars in dif­fer­ent ways, but they share com­mon ground or, rather, com­mon wa­ter: the surf.

For Laird Hamil­ton the surf is life it­self. He’s one of the most ac­com­plished big wave surfers in his­tory and is the man you gen­er­ally see in pho­to­graphs or film footage looking like he’s about to be swal­lowed whole by a 10m wall of bright blue salt wa­ter.

Ed­die Ved­der is the singer in Pearl Jam, one of the most suc­cess­ful US rock bands of the past 20 years. He is also an ex­pe­ri­enced surfer and has spent quite a bit of time on this side of the world pur­su­ing his hobby, even when he hasn’t had work com­mit­ments here.

For the pur­poses of this doc­u­men­tary, how­ever, both men are in Maui, Hawaii, where Hamil­ton and his fam­ily live on a rus­tic prop­erty sur­rounded by li­likoi vines, the ocean and an as­sort­ment of dune bug­gies.

In th­ese the two bud­dies drive around looking at the ocean, talk­ing in that surf- as- re­li­gion lan­guage only surfers know.

Noth­ing wrong with that, of course. In places it’s quite charm­ing to see and hear two mates shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences and pas­sions.

They go surf­ing a lot, on big waves, lit­tle waves, big boards and lit­tle boards. They ride Jet Skis, a he­li­copter, an ex- army con­trap­tion with big wheels.

This doco, episode one in a se­ries, is a mix­ture of travel doc­u­men­tary and an ex­plo­ration of the fa­mous at play.

Surf’s their turf: Laird Hamil­ton and Ed­die Ved­der on a Maui beach Oh, and bond­ing. And am­a­teur phi­los­o­phy. Ved­der and Hamil­ton sit on beaches, in cars and on cliff- tops, mus­ing on the great god surf and its place in the world.

If it weren’t for eat­ing and sleep­ing, we could spend our whole lives out there, Hamil­ton says, and you know he’s only half jok­ing.

Once you’ve tired of the action shots of the boys on the wa­ter and the cut­aways to Ed­die and his band mak­ing their liv­ing, there’s not a lot of sub­stance left.

Clearly, Hamil­ton



driven, fo­cused and in­cred­i­bly fit in­di­vid­ual. He and his wife and daugh­ters work out to­gether in their home gym.

If rock ’ n’ roll hadn’t been so suc­cess­ful for him, you get the im­pres­sion Ved­der would be lead­ing a sim­i­lar ex­is­tence.

And Ved­der’s more re­laxed, al­most hip­pie coun­te­nance is hard to re­sist. He’s a walk­ing ad­ver­tise­ment for surf cul­ture, chilled and happy.

The film isn’t much more than a post­card, but at least a few times you’ll wish you were there.

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