After over a dozen trips to Tahiti, I finally saw the movie Ultimate Wave Tahiti last night at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego. Starring 9-Time World Champion Kelly Slater and Tahiti’s own Raimana Van Bastolaer, I watched it in the awesomeness that is the IMAX theater. Although I got a lousy front row seat that made it so I had to crane my neck backward the whole time, the movie was amazing. While it’s geared more toward a mainstream audience and Kelly and Raimana won’t be winning any awards for their acting skills, it was informative and beautifully shot.
Filmed on a one-of-a-kind million dollar 3D camera that’s as big as an oven, I was most impressed by the cinematography by Mike Prickett and crew—I couldn’t imagine swimming through the lineup at Chopes with that thing! After a few beers and three tacos, there were a few moments where I felt a little too close, but those momentary seconds of queasiness were well worth the visual butter of flying through the mountains of Tahiti Iti in a chopper and swimming with whales offshore of Tahiti. My one knock on the film would be the overdose of Suzuki logos, at one point it was literally shoved into your face, but I understand that the costs of making a movie that was filmed over the span of 60 days in Tahiti can add up, and someone’s gotta help pay the bills. All in all, I’d give Ultimate Wave Tahiti 4/5 stars.—Justin Cote