Bustin Down the Door
Big waves, quick boards, high stakes and culture clash stoke tensions in a new feature film documenting an explosive era in Hawaiian surfing history.
Bustin Down the Door chronicles the birth of pro surfing in the 1970s, which spawned a billion-dollar surf industry and millionaire champions. It’s the second surf doc of 2008 set on Oahu’s North Shore, a timely prequel to Dana Brown’s Highwater filmed 30 years later at the 2005 Triple Crown.
Australian and South African surfers stormed the North Shore in 1974, bursting in the back door at Pipeline, ripping the hallowed waves of Waimea, busting titles, boasting, bragging, and deeply offending the locals.
As told by the men who lived it, the feud between colonizing Aussies and insulted Hawaiians erupted into violence. Australians surfers Rabbit Bartholomew and Ian Cairns cowered in a hotel room with baseball bats and shotguns after being assaulted and threatened.
Into the breach stepped Eddie Aikau, legendary Hawaiian waterman, North Shore lifeguard and champion surfer, whose courage is immortalized in three words: “Eddie would go”. He delivered the frightened surfers to hui ho’oponopono, a community tribunal and peacemaking session. Angry Hawaiians gave a history lesson; chastened Aussies listened and apologized. Respect was restored and pro surfing was born.
Director Jeremy Grosch fearlessly explores the collision of ambitious testosterone with tradition and place, weaving exquisite period film with emotional interviews from the vets, still shredding in their 50s.
North Shore locals Eddie Rothman, Fred Hemmings, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Jeff Rakman and Eddie’s brother Clyde Aikau provide local perspective on the little-known story.
Surf legend Shaun Tomson co-produces. And rips.
… reveal(s) the tense, ugly side of the sport’s cultural subcurrents to a degree never before described in a surf pic.
… an eyeful of audacious beachfront fashion. It reeks of the Ford era, but is somehow terribly … now.