Directed by William Phelps, North Shore is a coming-of-age story based in the action and drama of the Hawaii surfing world. The movie was co-written by Randal Kleiser, the man behind the hit musical film Grease.
Rick Kane (Matt Adler) is an eighteen-year-old guy from Arizona who saved up his whole life to go to Hawaii to surf. However, when he arrives, his things are stolen and he runs afoul of a local group called the Hui after they humiliate him on the waves. Dejected, he runs into a man named Turtle (John Philbin) who knows a surfboard designer and “soul surfer” Chandler (Gregory Harrison) who agrees to train him. He also meets local girl Kiani (Nia Peeples) who teaches him about local customs and how surfing is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle in Hawaii. From there, he prepares for the waves and the contest against local champions.
The movie definitely takes its setting very seriously. The filmmakers showed a lot of references to Hawaii, the culture, the locals, and the community. This was true of the surfing community as well. It featured cameos from real championship surfers including Shaun Tomson, Derek Ho, and Corky Carroll.
As for the film itself, it has a charm to it that is undeniable. It does kind of waffle between being a coming-of-age story and a sports drama. That being said, Rick is a good protagonist who has lots of growth as a fish out of water, quite literally. Matt Adler portrays him in a good way and makes him relatable as a person.
Of course, Nia Peeples was fantastic. Besides being a good singer, she was a beauty on the screen and talented. She portrayed Kiani very well and I think she delivered on every level.
Bottom line, North Shore is a charming story that not only explores surfing but also what culture is like in Hawaii. This movie is frequently mentioned in pop culture references in other films. The acting is good, the story is great, and the visuals of the Hawaiian scenery are amazing. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
FAVORITE QUOTE: I may not make it, but I got a try.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul Language and Minor Violence
Check out the trailer below:
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