HBO Sports takes a deep dive into the fascinating, constantly evolving world of surfing, exploring how a group of dedicated teenagers changed the sport and its culture in the 1990s, bringing it to unprecedented heights. Momentum Generation debuts Tuesday, December 11 at 10 PM.
The film will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
From Emmy and Peabody winners Jeff and Michael Zimbalist of All Rise Films, the HBO Sports and Priority Pictures presentation is in association with Sundance Productions.
In the 1960s, surfing in America was known primarily as a California- and Hawaii-based phenomenon associated with surf instrumentals and Beach Boys songs. In films, it was a vehicle to infuse all-American romantic comedies with action or zany antics. Although equipment and skills evolved, the public’s perception of surfing as a novelty sport remained constant until the 1990s, when a group of punk rock-loving teens, many from troubled homes and backgrounds, found its way to a house on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, in the process changing their lives and the sport itself.
In Momentum Generation, the core members of that legendary crew – including Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Taylor Knox, Benji Weatherley, Kalani Robb, Ross Williams, Taylor Steele and Pat O’Connell – tell their story together for the first time. Filmmakers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist draw on unprecedented access to their inner circle, as well as to tens of thousands of hours of footage in private archives, to highlight the deep friendships that were formed and tested during the surfers’ careers as top athletes and cultural icons.
“We’re proud to be the home for Momentum Generation, a film that is obviously about a group of surfers at the zenith of the sport, but more subtly about their lifelong friendships,” said Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “The Zimbalist brothers take us on an adrenaline-fueled journey spanning three decades, and the intimacy with which they reveal the ups and downs of some of surfing’s biggest stars makes this film unlike anything else of its kind.”
After relocating to Oahu, the young surfers courageously followed each other into Mother Nature’s most dangerous waves. When some of them didn’t make it back to shore, they found a way to mourn together – and adapt. Fueled by camaraderie and a deep-seated competitiveness, the tight-knit crew became known as the “Momentum Generation” after being featured in Taylor Steele’s groundbreaking films. Its members went on to win world titles, break records and redefine the world’s perception of the surfer, youth culture and what it means to be free.
Filmed over the course of two and a half years, the Momentum Generation surfers reflect on the complexity of the brotherhood and competition that have shaped their shared emotional journey, and made these pioneers both heroic and human.
The film made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York earlier this year where it won an Audience Award. It has also won top awards at the Aspen Film Festival, Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival, Honolulu Surf Film Festival, Surfalorus and the Los Angeles Film Awards.
Momentum Generation is executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions alongside Karen Lauder and Greg Little of Priority Pictures. Justine Chiara, Lizzie Friedman, Tina Elmo and Colby Gottert produced.