Waveriders is the untold story of Ireland’s unlikely influence in the origins of the worldwide surfing phenomenon and the development of big wave surfing along our West coast. The story unfolds through the inspirational and ultimately tragic history of the legendary Hawaiian surfer, George Freeth, considered by many to be the ‘godfather’ of modern surfing. The son of an Irish emigrant, Freeth was instrumental in bringing the sport from its humble Hawaiian origins to California at the turn of the 20th century – a move which spawned a global industry and lifestyle still thriving today. With its distinguished cast of world-renowned Irish, British and American surfers, Waveriders journeys full-circle from Hawaii to California and onward to Ireland following on Freeth’s wave of influence. The story reaches a spectacular climax when local surfers conquer the biggest swell ever seen in Ireland – a monster wave off the Clare coast which made headlines around the world. With haunting and rugged scenery and an eclectic soundtrack, Waveriders rubber-stamps Ireland’s position on the surfing map – a place surf legend Kelly Slater describes as “a cold paradise.”
Directed by Joel Conroy, Waveriders is anchored by the story of George Freeth, born in Honolulu of Hawaiian and Irish ancestry, and who as a teenager, revived the Polynesian art of wave riding that ultimately transformed into the global sport it has become today. Advertised as ‘the man who could walk on water’- a hype which was further added to through a series of newspaper articles by Jack London, Freeth draw thousands of spectators to his daily ‘spectacular feats’ of catching waves and riding his board right back to the beach while remaining upright all the way. The film won the Audience Award at last year’s Dublin Film Festival – and rightly so.