Somewhere between the scene of surfer Peck Euwer excitedly holding up his mauled board and describing how he's been chomped at by a great white shark, and the bit where Lance Harriman merrily recounts getting walloped by a 30-foot wave ("It blew out the blood vessels in my ear!" he says), you realize that Whipped! isn't simply about daring surfers but about surfers who are a little insane. The film documents dangerous days during the 2000-01 big-wave season at Mavericks—the famous break in Half Moon Bay, Calif.—with footage that includes the shark attack and people riding waves that are phenomenally high (one stormy day they rose above 50 feet) and moving phenomenally fast ("The fastest I've ever gone," more than one veteran says).
Whipped! is dedicated to Jay Moriarity, who died in June while free diving in the Maldives. In an eerily prophetic interview Moriarity says that he appreciates life because "we only get to do it once and not for very long." This sense of imminent danger carries the viewer along: Whipped! is a gripping documentary that will please surfers and intrigue nonsurfers in a That's Incredible! sort of way. Like a punk rock CD, it's something young surfers will hide from their mamas.