Surfers have been moonlighting as stuntmen for more than 100 years. The great Duke Kahanamoku started the Hollywood relationship off in the 1920s and was followed by surf inventor Tom Blake in the ’30s and Miki Dora in the ’50s and ’60s. In the last 30 years big-wave riders have made a natural fit for the job, as Hollywood has looked to find athletes who are comfortable and relaxed in dangerous situations. Here are the ones who’ve left the biggest impression.
Before he was a stuntman, he was: A former professional surfer from Torquay, Australia. He retired from competition to complete a university degree before working at Quiksilver as the marketing manager.
First break: On “Baywatch” in 1998.
As seen in: As first a stuntman and then stunt coordinator, he has leapt out of a burning helicopter in Terminator: Salvation, been run over by a Corvette in 21 Jump Street and been fire-balled by Godzilla. Since leaving the surf industry and moving to Los Angeles in 2006, he has worked on more than 100 films, including The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Mad Max: Fury Road (see pic above) and Inception, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Stunt Ensemble.
Before he was a stuntman, he was: A top-10-ranked professional surfer in the late 1970s who also had a lucrative modeling contract with Ralph Lauren. In the early ’90s he was part of the crew that invented tow surfing.
First break: In a Ralph Lauren commercial, he galloped a horse across a creek. “If you’re not a rider, that was kind of a stunt,” he told Ben Marcus in his definitive surfer-stuntman article in Jack.
As seen in: After riding a bodyboard off a 50-foot waterfall for a Mountain Dew commercial, he has appeared in numerous films and commercials, including the definitive wipeout scene in In God’s Hands, plus Waterworld and Hard Hunted.
Before he was a stuntman, he was: One of the ’80s’ and ’90s’ best-paid and most high-profile big-wave surfers. He was well known for his casual style in the face of enormous waves and his natural charisma. He was seen as a mentor to Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian and Rob Machado.
First break: He scored his Screen Actors Guild card after Brian Keaulana employed him for In God’s Hands.
As seen in: Little has appeared in more than 20 films, including The Italian Job, Wind Talkers, The Island, Pearl Harbor, Live Free or Die Hard and Tropic Thunder. For his work on 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Before he was a stuntman, he was: A professional Hawaiian lifeguard and big-wave rider who also set up the private water-safety team that worked on all North Shore surfing events. He was also integral in the genesis of tow-in surfing.
First break: Doerner told Ben Marcus how he scored the stunt-double role for Patrick Swayze in the original Point Break over more experienced stuntmen. “I said, ‘Howzit, I’m Darrick.’ He said, ‘I’m Patrick Swayze and I want you to die for me.’ I said, ‘I don’t die for anyone.’ And boom, I got the job. A lot of guys were bummed.”
As seen in: Besides Point Break, he has worked on In God’s Hands, Die Another Day, Big Wednesday and North Shore.
<iframe width=”620″ height=”420″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/suZcGoRLXkU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> Age: 31
Before he was a stuntman, he was: A professional surfer who has also had 10 years or more in sales, marketing and product development in and around the surf industry, working with St, Archer Brewing Company, Dragon and Arbor Snowboards.
First break: His first work was in television, on “The O.C.,” and he has racked up 12 years moonlighting on both TV shows and films.
As seen in: Taylor has doubled for Eddie Cahill on CBS’s “CSI: New York” as well in “Arrested Development,” “Justified” and “Jane the Virgin.” He also worked on Chasing Mavericks and Insurgent (see trailer above) and is in upcoming movies Fantastic Four and Jane Got a Gun.
Brian KeaulanaAge: 54
Before he was a stuntman, he was: Chief lifeguard of the Makaha coastline, a post first held by his father, Buffalo.
First break: When Kevin Costner’s Waterworld was shot in Hawaii, they called on Keaulana to head up the safety and stunt team.
As seen in: While the film was a famous flop, it started Keaulana’s career and he has been in high demand ever since. He went to work on films In God’s Hands, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor, The Big Bounce and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, plus television series like “Hawaii 5-0,” “Beyond the Break” and “Fear Factor.”
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