August 1, 2004|The first time I met Stacy Peralta, it was little more than a month after September 11, 2001. He had come into town for the Denver International Film Festival (which I was covering for the first time for FFC), and I felt daunted by both the mood of the festival and by Peralta's status as a living legend amongst a small, rabid group of extreme-sports enthusiasts. Peralta was there to accompany his first documentary, the much-praised Dogtown & Z-Boys, the success of which led to a few still-kicking projects, including a feature film adaptation of Dogtown directed by Thirteen's Catherine Hardwicke. First appearances spoke volumes: Self-effacing and modest, he was genuinely concerned about what had happened in New York and at the Pentagon. He was able to put his work into perspective in regards to not only life and death calamity, of course, but also in regards to more experienced filmmakers--artists he admires in a medium to which he's still relatively new. The next time I meet Stacy Peralta, it's in the crowded lobby of Denver's Mayan Theater, where he and surf-legend Greg Noll are preparing to do a Q&A with an audience that's just seen Peralta's newest documentary, Riding Giants. The crowd is raucous, Noll is nervous, and Peralta? He's cool as the other side of the pillow in trademark ballcap, sporting a sincere look upon shaking my hand and remembering the conversation that we had almost three years ago now. I sat down with Mr. Peralta and Mr. Noll ("Greg, please, just 'Greg'") the following morning to chat about riding big waves and the siren's call of filmmaking for skate brats and surf hounds. Both men are the real deal, having stuck their irons in hotter coals than junkets and promotional screenings, emerging with the grace to deal with attention and inane questions. They're in the moment, as Buddhists would remark, riding the quiet part of the wave.