Review: Bustin’ down the door

Shaun and Rabbit
Shaun and Rabbit

In 1975 a group of young Australian & South African surfers revolutionized their sport.

Bustin’ Down the Door brings this epic tale of power, skill, violence and triumph to life through the eyes of the surfers themselves.

Subtle humour and honesty pervade this movie which retells the story of the birth of professional surfing through the narrative of its founders and other characters of the time.

Sometimes stark and brutal, the story tracks the highs and lows of the new contingent of upstart surfers from South Africa and Australia as they began to dominate the waves of Oahu’s north shore in the mid-seventies. With good looks, skill and brash attitude they became self-proclaimed superstars but encountered fierce resistance from the Hawaiian locals who retaliated with fierce displays of aggression and threats – even of death.

Local legends such as Eddie Rothman smile wryly, proclaiming not to remember serious incidents of violence towards the new crew, whilst Rabbit Bartholomew tells in graphic detail of the beating he received at the hands of the Black Shorts (led by the aforementioned Eddie).

After peace was restored by the legendary Eddie Aikau the film plots the progress of our main protaganists, who progressed from surf-obsessed youths with a desire for fame to true athletes who created, competed in and conquered a true world surfing competition.

This is beautiful film that captures the essence of Hawaiian surfing in the seventies as well as the diverse backgrounds of the guys who effectively busted down the door and created a world surfing competition whilst inventing a new career – that of the professional surfer.