Laird Hamilton


Immersed in water from day one—literally—as mom JoAnn gave birth to him in a reduced gravitational setting called a "babysphere" at UC Medical Center in San Francisco, Hamilton grew up on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. By age three, he was navigating waves on the front half of a surfboard and spending most of his time at the beach. JoAnn, an avid surfer herself, met and went on to marry surfing legend Bill Hamilton, who adopted young Laird and taught him the illusive art of taming big waves.

Growing up in a surfer's paradise with a dad who knew every trick in the book, Hamilton had mastered the sport as a teen. His size —six-foot-three—made him seem indestructible, while his blond good looks made him a visual magnet. He ended up leaving high school to pursue a promising modeling career, appearing in Italian Men's Vogue along with many other high profile magazines.

At twenty-two, Hamilton had opted out of the competitive surf circuit, instead trying his hand at other extreme sports such as speed-sailing. He entered a competition in Port Saint-Louis, France and defeated the heavily favored French champion, breaking the European speed record of 36 knots in the process.

In the early 90's, determined to devise an alternate plan for his surfing expertise, Hamilton made a name for himself with stunning displays of bravado, and some would argue, insanity. Ripping conventional surfing wisdom to shreds, Hamilton and his counterparts electrified crowds by taming massive waves and performing stunts with sailboards that would launch the surfers more than 30-feet into the air. Then, Hamilton started experimenting with his now infamous tow-in technique, using Wave Runners to tow surfers into waves cresting at heights of more than 70-feet.

Soon, he was fielding offers from sponsors such as Oxbow, a French beachwear manufacturer, affording him the chance to travel the world on photo shoots. As his public profile grew, so did his passion for more extreme challenges. Windsurfing, snowboarding, rock climbing, waterskiing and kite-surfing were added to his repertoire of mastered sports.

The media continued to play into his good looks and daredevil personality, giving Hamilton prime real estate in magazines ranging from National Geographic to Rolling Stone and everything in between. Film work quickly followed and Hamilton took on roles in a range of releases including RIDING GIANTS, STEP INTO LIQUID and as a stunt double and stunt coordinator in the James Bond feature, DIE ANOTHER DAY. In addition, he has been a featured host on many TV programs such as Fox's "Planet Extreme Championships" and "The Extremists".

Today, BamMan Films, Hamilton's production company, is a leading provider of performers and strategies for filmmakers shooting in the surf. His just released film, ALL ABOARD THE CRAZY TRAIN, looks at the state of big wave surfing today, while his other films like LAIRD, STRAPPED: THE EVOLUTION OF TOW-IN SURFING and THE RIDE/THE DAY demonstrate why Hamilton is considered one of the most respected board riders of our generation.