HBO’s ‘Momentum Generation’ Takes a Gnarly Look at ’90s Surfers

Momentum Generation

Riding the perfect wave becomes an emotional roller-coaster for the brotherhood of dudes who compose the “Momentum Generation.”

This fabled group of young American surfers, many of them lost boys from broken families who found their bliss while hanging 10, ruled the sport in the 1990s and helped bring surf culture into the mainstream. They gained early fame when filmmaker Taylor Steele showcased them in a 1992 VHS video, Momentum, that led to a tour with the punk bands on its soundtrack.

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The critically acclaimed film documents the life of a TV icon.

Kelly Slater, an 11-time world champion, even appeared on Baywatch and dated Pamela Anderson for a time.

This beautifully filmed documentary from brothers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, executive produced by Robert Redford, features plenty of thrilling surf photography. But what you’ll likely remember is the camaraderie evidenced in revealing interviews, as the surfers happily recall sharing a group home as up-and-comers on Hawaii’s North Shore.

The fun would eventually be eclipsed by competitive zeal and personal tragedy. Time, thankfully, heals all bruised egos, and as perennial runner-up Taylor Knox explains, “Who won? To me, it’s the one having the most fun.” So gnarly.

Momentum Generation, Documentary Premiere, Tueday, December 11, 10/9c, HBO