TAKE EVERY WAVE: The Life of Laird Hamilton


Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton tracks the remarkable life and legendary career of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Much admired by the public, though often disdained or ignored by the surf industry itself, Laird is a unique sports icon—an athlete who has refused to compete professionally yet has dominated big wave surfing as no other figure in history has ever done. 

Laird's biographical story is told against the backdrop of a winter surf season on Kauai, where El Niño storm systems threaten to bring the biggest surf in decades. Mixing never-before-seen archival footage, with contemporary verité scenes shot in Southern California, Bermuda and Kauai, Take Every Wave weaves the past and present into an intimate and compelling portrait of a superstar athlete at the top of his game. Threaded throughout is a revealing, deeply personal interview with Laird as well conversations with the family members, friends, collaborators and detractors who know him best. 

Laird’s movie-star looks and the celebrity gloss of his current life in Malibu mask a much deeper, more compelling story of struggle, failure, and, ultimately, triumph. A troubled youth, Laird was raised in an abusive home on a racially divided island. From a very early age, he was drawn to the sea—and, more specifically, the North Shore's famously dangerous Pipeline break. An extraordinary physicality combined with an uncanny natural ability and unstoppable drive propelled him on a life journey that has kept him at the center of his sport for more than thirty years. During this time, Laird has become known as much for his innovations as his accomplishments—from breaking windsurfing speed records to innovating tow-in surfing; from prone-paddling across the English Channel to surfing the “unrideable,”—including Maui’s notorious Peahi break and Tahiti's iconic Millennium Wave. 

From the freewheeling 1960s of his childhood through the industry's growth and commercialization, Laird's adherence to a waterman way of life has consistently redefined the possibilities of big wave surfing. Now, at age fifty-two, with decades of wear and tear on his body and a deteriorating hip, Laird still charges into new frontiers. His current passion is foil boarding—a sport likened to riding a unicycle through a hurricane—which only a handful of athletes around the world have been able to master. 

Take Every Wave provides an intimate, uncompromising look at a lifetime devoted to riding giant surf—and the price an athlete pays for greatness.