There’s nothing more envy-inducing during a Boston winter night than watching a pack of surfers hit the pristine beaches of Tahiti. But beyond showing us the warmth and beauty of the island, Stephen Low’s 45-minute documentary fails to deliver anything cohesive.
The Ultimate Wave goes from highlighting Tahitian culture, surfing monster waves, and discussing the science of wave formation to lecturing on global warming. Aside from burdening the audience with too much information, the movie fails to convey the excitement and danger of surfing — especially with surfing the crushing 10-foot-tall waves at Teahupo’o.
If this kid-friendly flick was meant to be a Tahiti-based surfing documentary, Low would have done better to include more footage (past and present) of nine-time world-surfing-champion Kelly Slater and legendary surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer (or even just more local talent) strutting their skills. The landscape and ocean images were breathtaking, but even those could not save this sinking ship.