Julia Nuu's review for North Shore ran in the August 20, 1987 edition of the Buffalo News.

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What do you get when you take the lush green North Shore of Hawaii, a dozen or so tan, muscular surfers, and one of the most hackneyed stories ever conceived? You get "North Shore," a movie that’s beautiful to look at but not so great to watch.

Rick Kane (Matt Adler) wins the Arizona wavepool championships, and decides to go to the North Shore of Hawaii, notorious in the world of surfing for its huge, powerful waves, to try his stuff. Mom wants him to save the money to go to art school, but Rick decides to follow his dream.

It's a slight variation of the thousands of "boy leaves home to make it on Broadway" movies: Rick doesn't know the first thing about surfing big waves, or about the animosity between the locals and the pro surfers who arrive in hordes every winter to surf the North Shore.

So he spends most of his time getting "thrashed," either by the waves or by the locals. Things are looking pretty bleak, but then he meets up with surf guru Chandler (Gregory Harrison). Chandler is a “soul surfer” who rides the waves because he loves them, not because he wants to make money.

The things Chandler teaches Rick about the waves are fascinating, and they really illustrate just how difficult surfing is. Granted, I can’t tell the difference between Chandler’s “soul surfing” and the “hot dogging” techniques of the younger guys, but I get the main idea.

And the surf footage—especially of wipeouts—is spectacular.

It’s just too bad this movie wasn't a documentary, instead of a stale coming-of-age film. Too much time is spent on the lame romance between Rick and Kiani (Nia Peeples), an island girl whose family doesn’t approve of her dating the mainlander (does "West Side Story" spring immediately to mind?), and on Rick’s art school vs. North Shore dilemma. We don’t care—we just want to see them surf.

But this movie, like "Big Wednesday" or "Endless Summer," reflects what’s really going on in the world of surfing. It’s a lot more than just the fashionable Southern California elements—Jams, California Coolers, and Vuarnet sunglasses — and the moviemakers go to great lengths to point that out.

In fact, they may have gone too far. Once Rick has learned the ways of surfing, he enters the Pipeline Classic and makes it to the finals. But when he’s disqualified by the dastardly doings of a fellow surfer, he refuses to file a protest: "It's just a contest," he says. "I'm a soul surfer now."

You’re an idiot now, the audience is saying. Pro surfers can make more than $100,000 a year in prizes and endorsements—soul surfers make zilch. Whoever said you had to be poor to have integrity? It’s a violation of human nature, and of the logical plot of the film.

A-plus for the surfing, C-minus for the movie.