Walking on Water (a J!-ENT Surfing DVD Review)

February 13, 2011 by  

A Christian surfing film about opportunity and faith!  Two young surfers given the opportunity to travel around the world, surf at spots they have only dreamed about and hang out with pro surfers, how cool is that?  Definitely a film worth checking out!

Images courtesy of © 2008 Walking On Water, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Walking on Water


DURATION: 76 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: English Stereo, 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai


COMPANY: Affirm Films/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released Dated: March 1, 2011

Directed by Nic McLean

Produced by Bryan Jennings

Executive Producers: Jim Riley, Doug Jennings, Prestoy Dyer, Kevin Palau, Leith Swanson, Roger Thompson, Pete Evans

Music Director: Brad Corrigan

Cinematography: Nic McLean, Roger Thompson, Pete Evans


Tyler Hallen

Luke Davis

Bryan Jennings

Tom Curren

Al Merrick

C.J. Hobgood

Damien Hobgood

Bethany Hamilton

Garrett McNamara

Noah Snyder

Matt Beacham

Jesse Hines

Cheyne Cottrell

CT Taylor

Walking on Water invites you to come along and see the world through the eyes of two kids as they embark on the trip of a lifetime. Luke and Tyler are given the opportunity that most young surfers only dream about and this is their story about finding faith along the way.

Trailer – Coming Soon

Not many children get a chance to travel the world and surf.

But when professional surfer Bryan Jennings was given a shot to do that at a young age, he felt that he needed to continue that tradition and give two young surfers that opportunity.

“Walking on Water” is a 2007 documentary about Bryan Jennings giving a young Tyler Hallen and Luke Davis a chance to travel around the world, to famous surf spots but also to learn about the culture and surfers of those other countries.

Tyler Hallen is a teen who has endured his parent’s divorcing and having a very young sister who has brain cancer but his faith has kept him strong.  Luke Davis is a promising young surfer who lives to surf and wants to become a competitive surfer.

Both Tyler and Luke Davis are given the opportunity to travel the world, to hang out and surf with legends such as Tom Curren, world reknown shaper Al Merrick, WCT competitors and twin brothers C.J. and Damien Hobgood, surfers Matt Beachem, Garrett McNamara, Jesse Hines, Cheyne Cottrell, CT Taylor and Bethany Hamilton.

The kids get to travel to Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, South America, South Africa, Hawaii to experience surf but also to experience life and see how one’s belief in God has helped them through trials and tribulations.

Although this film was released on DVD back in 2008, the DVD gets its re-release to tie-in with the upcoming film “Soul Surfer” (which comes out on April 2011) based on Bethany Hamilton’s life (Bethany was one of the top young female surfers who lost her left arm during a shark attack. Bethany continues to surf and compete and win competitions despite having one arm). Bethany, like the two young surfers in “Walking on Water” are Christian and they share their faith in God.

The DVD will be released through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Christian DVD line Affirm Films.


“Walking on Water” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen.  The cinematography is pretty awesome and if you surf, you can’t help but watch and just be in awe as these two young surfers get to surf at amazing surf spots all around the world.  Because of the outdoor shots, you get vibrant colors and for the most part, Nic McLean and the guys did a great job with the editing.  But for the most part, viewers should be happy with the film and its PQ.


“Walking on Water” is presented in Dolby Digital stereo.  Dialogue is understandable and clear.


“Walking on Water” comes with the following special features:

  • The Hamilton Family: A Soul Surfer Journey – Also Includes a Scene from the Film “Soul Surfer” – (8:50) Bethany Hamilton’s family and friends talk about Bethany’s rise as a surfer, what happened on the day she lost her arm and how she continues to surf and compete today.  Also, a clip from “Soul Surfer”.
  • Bethany Hamilton and Friends in Indonesia – (6:06) Featuring a clip from “Walking on Water” and extra clips featuring Bethany and her friends surfing Indonesia.
  • Walking on Water Trailer – (2:22) The theatrical trailer for “Walking on Water”.
  • Walking on Water Surf Camps – (1:00) A clip promoting Walking on Water Surf Camps with the Hobgood’s and Bethany Hamilton.
  • Christian Surfers International – (3:31) A clip promoting CSI and their core values.

As a surfer and also a Christian, “Walking on Water” is a pretty cool film as you get to see how two young kids get to see the world and surf many spots throughout the world thanks to the opportunity given to them by pro-surf Bryan Jennings.  It’s a straightforward documentary and it’s not a film where you’re going to find anything bad.  It’s two kids traveling the world, meeting new people, hanging out with pro surfers and surfing the popular surf spots.

No need to juxtapose this film and “Rio Breaks” which is also about two young surfers given an opportunity but the main difference is that the kids of “Walking on Water” did not come from a live of poverty nor do they have to fear of death because of where they live.  This is not a deep film in the sense of “Rio Breaks” but we do see how the young surfers see how life is for other young surfers in different countries.

My favorite would be when the both Tyler and Luke visit South Africa and the kids are shocked that these White kids are treating them normal and felt like they were just the same as they were in the water. Kids just having fun and each being passionate about surfing.

Of course, the other parts of the stories will probably entice those who are more familiar with competitive surfing.  There are some parts of the film that just make you want make you feel giddy.  For me, when I was a young grom, my favorite surfer was Tom Curren and the fact that you get Tom and also Al Merrick together in one film is pretty awesome.   The fact that Taylor and Luke had a chance to hang out with Curren, Merrick but also the Hobgood’s, Beacham and many other surfers and surf with them…talk about an awesome opportunity!  Also, in “Walking on Water” you get to see short appearances (from a surf competition) of Kelly Slater and the late Andy Irons as well.

But it’s important to note, as some others have said in past reviews, this is a Christian film, it is also a surfing film.  The kids in this film (especially those from other countries), including Bethany Hamilton talk about their faith in God and how that faith has kept them strong.  I know there are some viewers who find this quite troubling as they are expecting a film along the same lines of “Endless Summer” or the “Drive-Thru” surf films where people go to different countries and have fun, party and surf.  This is not that kind of surf film.

This film is more or less documenting the experience as these two young kids as they visit different countries, learn how long one travels to get to the beach, to see how the waves are (something they have only read about in surf mags or watched online) and having the opportunity to experience those waves for themselves.  Nothing less and nothing more.  It’s a straightforward film that ties quite nicely to Christian Surf International and fellow Christians who love surfing.

Also, It’s important to also note that this film was shot when Tyler Hallen and Luke Davis were young.   Both have grown up quite a bit since their appearance in this film and Tyler now surfs with Infinity and Luke Davis surfs for O’Neill.  And I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both of these guys competing in the WCT (World Championship Tour) soon.

As mentioned, the re-release of this DVD is to tie-in with the April 2011 theatrical release of “Soul Surfer” based on the life of Bethany Hamilton.   Bethany is featured in “Walking on Water” talking about her faith, and we learn from the preview of “Soul Surfer” that her faith in God and also her friends from her Christian youth group were there to support her during the whole ordeal.  And this will be featured in the film (which is a big budget film starring actress AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany Hamilton and also stars Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Craig T. Nelson and singer Carrie Underwood) which is based on Bethany’s book “Soul Surfer”.

Overall, “Walking on Water” is an entertaining film about surfing and faith in God.  The film is not blatant as some may feel in trying to promote religion but it’s about people who are Christians who feel that God has been with them through their most difficult times and with them now and also with others all around the world.  It’s an inspirational film and director Nic Mclean does a good job at balancing the coverage of the film on the adventure of the two young surfers but also knowing that since surfers will watch this film, they want to see surfing as well.  So, Mclean does find a fine balance in showcasing both.

I was pretty stoked to see this film and if you are looking for a surfing film with a Christian-theme, I definitely recommend “Walking on Water”.  But if you are looking for a similar surf film but shows you the the opposite side of life for young surfers (who have been given an opportunity) but live in worse conditions and are looking for a storyline that is much more deeper, I highly recommend the film “Rio Breaks”.

Overall, both films are inspirational and “Walking on Water” has a more Christian element to it and is pretty safe for families to watch.

If you love surfing and are a Christian, “Walking on Water” is an enjoyable film worth watching!

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