Laird Hamilton, Actor

Our family went to the movies the other night and saw “The Descendants,” which has been getting a lot of critical acclaim.  It’s been described as “surprising, moving and frequently very funny” (New York Times review).

Laird Hamilton and Bert in the TV studio

But what a surprise it was to see to my buddy, Laird Hamilton, in a small role as the accidental accomplice in the death of one of the main characters.  Laird is a native of Hawaii, and widely recognized as the greatest big-wave surfer in the world.  And we’re talking BIG waves; 70-80 feet tall.

A few years ago, Laird and I worked on a campaign for Zest Bodywash, which celebrated my study of the Best Cities for Adventures.  During our joint television appearances, Laird spoke about how we can all bring adventure to our own lives, every day.  He said you don’t have to risk your life to feel more alive.  His suggestions included doing things that were out of our ordinary routine, such as taking a walk barefoot or playing tennis with your other hand.

But what terrifies a man who has faced death hundreds of times? During our conversations, he confided the thing that scares him the most is singing or performing music in front of strangers.  I thought this was pretty funny, given that I do this on a regular basis.

My own review of “The Descendants” is that the film didn’t quite live up to all the buzz.  I found it curiously flat; not particularly insightful, witty, touching, or thought-provoking.  In an effort to be subtle and nuanced, I feel the director went too far that direction. But Laird did a fine job of acting, and I expect that he’ll be tapped for more roles in the future.

Oh, and my choice for Best City for Adventure?  San Francisco, which is near great surfing, hiking and running trails, mountain biking, and more.

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