There is no way of telling the story of big wave riding without telling the story of surfing itself, a sport that has become one of the world's most potent symbols of youth, romance, adventure and freedom. But in sharp contrast to surfing's vital, contemporary appeal is its history -- which goes back way further than the Beach Boys and "Surfin' U.S.A." In fact, surfing is an ancient sport, tracing its origins back over 1500 years to ancient Polynesia.
This is where Riding Giants begins, taking us from surfing's early Polynesian roots to its rebirth in the early 20th Century, to the development of a fledgling surf culture along the coast of Southern California in the 1940s. This new ideal, with its romantic form of dynamic bohemianism, took root on the U.S. Mainland, where the modern surfing lifestyle was born. A hybrid archetype that blended one part Polynesian waterman, one part American frontiersman and one part Peter Pan, by the late 1940s surfers soon found themselves at the cultural vanguard, kinetic Beat poets long before Kerouac, hippies long before Woodstock, adventure athletes long before the X-Games.