‘Five Summer Stories’ hits theaters again, five decades later

Greg MacGillivray was nervous when “Five Summer Stories,” the landmark surf documentary he produced with the late Jim Freeman, premiered in 1972.

It had epic slow-motion shots of big-time surfers like Gerry Lopez at the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. But it also had a segment on skateboarding. And another on how surfers at the time were being exploited, at least in MacGillivray’s eyes, at professional events.

MacGillivray, a 1963 Newport Harbor High graduate and longtime resident of Laguna Beach, also wanted to make it reflect what was going on in the world. The film premiered, for example, on the heels of the first Earth Day, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We were at the point where we were trying to make all of our films conservation-based,” said MacGillivray, now 77. “Surfers live in the water. They have probably the most intimate connection with nature that you could possibly have, and we wanted to reflect that in the film.”


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