North Shore (1987 film)

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North Shore
North shore poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Phelps
Produced byBill Finnegan
Tim McCanlies
Written byRandal Kleiser
Tim McCanlies
William Phelps
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
August 14, 1987
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,832,228

North Shore is a 1987 American action drama surf film about Rick Kane (Matt Adler), a young surfer from a wave tank in Arizona, who heads to surf the season on the North Shore of Oʻahu to see if he has the skills to cut it as a pro surfer. As he progresses on his journey, he learns the qualities he possesses are not going to pull him through alone.


Rick Kane is approximately 18 years old at the start of the film, having just graduated high school. He uses his winnings from a wave tank surfing contest in his native state of Arizona to fly to Hawaii for the summer before the start of college, in order to try to become a professional surfer. He takes a plane to Honolulu with plans to stay with a surfer that he met in Arizona six months previously. He finds the friend tending bar at a seedy gentlemen's club.

At the bar Rick meets up with two pro surfers, Alex (Robbie Page)[1] and Mark (Mark Occhilupo), and stays with them at the house of Lance Burkhart. In the morning, he goes out surfing with Alex and Mark and realizes that surfing in the ocean is totally different to surfing in a wave tank. He is not as good as he had initially thought. During this scene he gets in the way of Vince, played by real surfing legend Gerry Lopez, who is leader of a local group named "The Hui" (wave slider club). This causes Vince to wipe out and leads to a confrontation where Rick is chased off the beach, after he realizes his stuff was stolen from the beach by a member of "The Hui".

With nowhere to go, he fortuitously runs into Turtle (John Philbin). Kane meets and falls in love with Kiani (Nia Peeples), a beautiful local girl, coincidentally the cousin of Vince, who helps him acclimate to the local culture and customs. Turtle introduces him to Chandler (Gregory Harrison), a shaper and soul surfer, who teaches Rick about soul surfing and Rick masters the art of appreciating and riding the waves. Rick is a talented graphic artist who helps Chandler design a more contemporary logo for his surfboards.

The film's antagonist is Lance Burkhart (Laird Hamilton), a famous, top-ranked surfer whose competitive and materialistic values conflict with the spiritual teachings of Chandler ("You still have a single-fin-mentality"). The film climaxes with a surf contest on Banzai Pipeline as Rick ends up competing against Lance in a duel of skills and beliefs.

Professional surfers[edit]

North Shore features professional surfers Shaun Tomson, Gerry Lopez ("Vince"), Laird Hamilton ("Lance Burkhart"), Mark Occhilupo, Robbie Page ("Alex Rogers"), Mark Foo, Derek Ho, Hans Hedemann, Ken Bradshaw, Christian "the KID" Fletcher, Lord James Blears and several others. The character of Rick Kane was loosely based on Connecticut born surfer Benjamin "Barney" Partyka. The first-ever professional surfer, Corky Carroll, plays a competition announcer in the film.

Connections to real life[edit]

Laird Hamilton's adoptive father Bill Hamilton was a surfboard shaper and glasser on Oahu in the 1960s and 1970s and owned a small business. Bill was handmaking custom, high-performance surfboards for the Oahu North Shore big wave riders of the era, similar to the character Chandler in the film. In reality, Laird is a big wave rider and loathes competition like the Chandler character does.


External links[edit]