Movie Article

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''Point Break'' surf training -- How Dennis Jarvis taught Keanu Reeves and the movie's cast how to ride the waves

To create the spectacular surfing scenes in Point Break (read the review here), actor-surfer Dennis Jarvis, 31, the self-proclaimed ''surf doctor of Hollywood,'' spent two months teaching landlubbers Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Lori Petty, among others, how to catch a wave. ''It was like a big surf party every day,'' says Jarvis. ''The cast would report to my house in Hermosa Beach at the crack of dawn to try to absorb the soulful life-style of a surfer.''

But life wasn't all wet and wild for the teacher and his pupils. ''They were basically all beginners,'' Jarvis says. ''Patrick said he'd been on a board a couple of times, Keanu definitely hadn't surfed before, and Lori had never been in the ocean in her life.'' While Reeves' awkward ''stinkbug'' style was appropriate for his character, Swayze and Petty needed to pass as experts. ''I wasn't concerned with if they could do a roundhouse cutback,'' Jarvis says. ''They had doubles for that. My focus was on giving them the mannerisms of a hot, professional surfer.'' Reeves, for one, took the lessons to heart: Jarvis has just finished building him one of his custom-made Spyder boards so now the actor can hang 10 off camera as well.

Originally posted Jul 26, 1991 Published in issue #76 Jul 26, 1991 Order article reprints