From OpenwaterpediaWaveRiders is a 2009 documentary film, produced by Margo Harkin and directed by Joel Conroy. The film focuses on the Irish roots of surfing.
The film covers the life of Irish-Hawaiian surfer George Freeth and his influence in popularizing surfing in California and his contributions to lifeguarding. It also follows Irish, British and American surfers Richie Fitzgerald, Gabe Davies, Kelly Slater and the Malloy Brothers. The surfers conquer enormous 60-foot waves - the biggest swell to have been ridden off the Irish Atlantic Coast. Irish surfer Easkey Britton is also featured in the film and was the first female surfer to ride the "big wave", Aill na Searrach off the Cliffs of Moher in 2007.
Director Joel Conroy began planning the film in 2005 when he read about George Freeth in a newspaper. He researched Freeth's background, tracking down his friends and relatives. The film was in development for 3 years; filming was over 2 years. It was shot on 35 mm film to give it a vintage feel.
Waveriders won the 2008 Audience Choice Award from the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, the 2009 Irish Film and Television Awards inaugural George Morrison Feature Documentary Award and the Best Documentary Award at the 2009 SURFER Poll & Video Awards. Margo Harkin (Producer) and Joel Conroy (Director) were awarded Outstanding Achievement in film making for Waveriders at the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival.
George Freeth, known as the The Man Who Can Walk On Water, was a surfer from Hawaii who introduced surfing to the United States and organized the first lifesaving corps in California on its beaches. He was an avid promoter of swimming during the first and second decades of the 20th century. He was nominated as a Pioneer for induction in the International Swimming Hall of Fame and is often credited as being the "Father of Modern Surfing".