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Big Wave Guardians

Directed by:

Luke Stirtz

2022

91 minutes

Big Wave Guardians is the story of Hawaiian lifeguarding and how it is intricately intertwined with surfing and the contemporary culture of Hawaii. These big wave guardians risk their lives to save others in the world’s most dangerous waves while inventing innovative water safety techniques.

SCREENINGS

Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 10:00 AM

Sunday, October 29, 2023 at 1:00 PM

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In-Theatre ONLY. Not available on-demand.

Big Wave Guardians Official Trailer

This film is sponsored by:

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ABOUT THE FILM

Hawaii’s North Shore is the world’s most dangerous 7-mile stretch of beach. Massive swells, life-and-death rescues, and "the best job in the world" -- yet often the most hazardous one -- is the compelling drama of Hawaii's big wave guardians. As surfers push the limits and crowds increase, a small group of heroes have reinvented water safety on a parallel track to the rising dangers.

Big Wave Guardians is the story of Hawaiian lifeguarding and how it is intricately intertwined with surfing and the contemporary culture of Hawaii. These big wave guardians risk their lives to save others in the world’s most dangerous waves while inventing innovative water safety techniques.

Big Wave Guardians tells the dramatic stories of Hawaii's big wave guardians - the lifeguards who risk their lives in the world's most dangerous waves. It traces the history of lifeguarding in Hawaii from Duke Kahanamoku and the Waikiki Beach Boys in the 1920s to Eddie Aikau on Oahu's North Shore in the 1970s, to Brian Kealana and Terry Ahue pioneering the use of personal watercraft (jet skis) with the Hawaiian lifeguards in the 1990s, to the death of big-wave surfer Sion Milosky and the formation of the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group in the 2011.

Intertwined with the history of lifeguards is the growth of surfing, from the early days of Waikiki to the big-wave discoveries on Oahu's North Shore. Throughout the documentary, a cast of some of the world's best watermen and women, such as 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, big-wave chargers Mark Healy, Greg Long and Keala Kennelly, and Hawaii's most notable lifeguards including Clyde Aikau, Terry Ahue, Mark Cunningham, Dave Wassel, and Johnny Angel discuss the risks of surfing these life-threatening waves and the role of these lifeguards. Along the way, hear the true life-saving stories from top surfers who wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for these selfless big wave guardians.

Big Wave Guardians is the first in a series of feature-length films called This Surfing Life.

Big Wave Guardians

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ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

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Luke Stirtz

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Luke Stirtz has been working in the film industry for over a decade. He’s taken dozens of commercials, documentaries, and several feature films through production and post. He has a wide range of experience, specifically, as an editor. In 2020, he founded Blue Note Post, a film studio specializing in editing & post-production services.


He's also done a substantial amount of work in other roles such as director, cinematographer, colorist, and more. Most recently, he directed a feature-length documentary entitled, Big Wave Guardians, about the history and evolution of lifeguarding and ocean safety, as seen through the lens of surfing. 

 

This comprehensive understanding of the film process helps bring a level of insight to his work that allows him to collaborate and focus on the most important thing: the story.

CREDITS

Director

Luke Stirtz


Writer

Jim Kempton


Producer

"Wyatt Daily, Archival Producer | Co-Producer


Executive Producers

Scott Bradfield

Mark Collins

Marty Hoffman

Greg MacGillivray

Shaun Macgillivray


Composer

Dave Palmer


Editor

Luke Stirtz


Sound Mixer, Sound Recordist

Tobi Nova


Editorial Department

Devin Defluiter, Assistant Editor


Music Department

Kelsey Mitchell, Music Consultant

Cheryl Palmer, Score Production Coordinator


Additional Crew

Rachael Bischoff, Marketing Lead

Mackenzie Perna, Marketing Lead

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