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The Ultimate Tahiti 3D, Featuring Kelly Slater

The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D: IMAX Movie Review

Genre: Documentary
Directed by: Stephen Low
Starring: Kelly Slater, Raimana Van Bastolaer
Released by: K2 Communications

In Short: Nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater travels to Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia to find The Ultimate Wave in this 3D IMAX surf documentary that highlights the Polynesian culture and plenty of giant wave action.

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edefining the term “staycation,” The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D takes us to Tahiti and back, for only the price of a movie ticket. With the help of 3D technology and IMAX, acclaimed director Stephen Low brings the Pacific island to us, from up-close wave action to educational animated vignettes. Kelly Slater, nine-time world surfing champion, anchors this documentary as he takes us on a journey in search of the “perfect wave” at one of the most dangerous surf sites in the world: Teahupo’o in French Polynesia.

Upon arrival in their Suzuki Grand Vitara (the film's sponsor), Slater and a group of friends are greeted by their host, Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer. Van Bastolaer is informative and insightful as our guide on a didactic adventure through a Polynesian travelogue of culture and history. He debates surfing philosophy with Slater and assists the group with exercises to prepare them for the giant waves to come.

Raimana Van Bastolaer and Kelly Slater in The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D Kelly Slater in The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D

To ensure the best educational material, the scientific information in the film was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Through occasional, stylized, animated oceanography lessons, we learn types of waves, how they are formed, their sources of energy, their role in island creation and their effects on marine life to convey the importance of our interaction, as humans, with the ocean and its inhabitants.

Presented by Suzuki, The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D brings the breaking surf of Teahupo’o to your seat without the risk of dangerous wipeouts or even having to get wet. While the obvious appeal of the film is the 3D surfing action, and perhaps the educational features, this documentary is also about nature and camaraderie. As we follow this group of friends on their quest, their passion envelops us until we, too, want to find the perfect wave.

Reviewed by Alain Gayot

(Updated 02/23/10 CT)

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