Helen Hunt waxes up her surfboard for Ride

For her latest movie, Helen Hunt was energized by a hobby she took up relatively late in life to break free from her comfort zone — surfing.

“My inspiration was hearing the phrase ‘soccer mom’ — all these mothers and fathers sitting on the sidelines while their kids play and have fun,” admitted Hunt recently from L.A.

“I thought it would be very funny to write this woman who’s so twisted up in her own intellect and (imagine) where would she feel the least comfortable.”

In the comedy Ride, which Hunt wrote and directed, she stars as the stiff-necked New Yorker who winds up in California chasing her 20-something surf-seeking son after he drops out of college. There, the bullheaded matriarch soon finds herself carving up some gnarly breakers as well.

For her latest movie, Helen Hunt was energized by a hobby she took up relatively late in life to break free from her comfort zone — surfing.

“My inspiration was hearing the phrase ‘soccer mom’ — all these mothers and fathers sitting on the sidelines while their kids play and have fun,” admitted Hunt recently from L.A.

“I thought it would be very funny to write this woman who’s so twisted up in her own intellect and (imagine) where would she feel the least comfortable.”

In the comedy Ride, which Hunt wrote and directed, she stars as the stiff-necked New Yorker who winds up in California chasing her 20-something surf-seeking son after he drops out of college. There, the bullheaded matriarch soon finds herself carving up some gnarly breakers as well.

“It’s the simplicity of the sport,” the 51-year old star explained of her real-life allure to surfing. “All you need is a plank of wood or fibreglass and then your teammate or opponent — depending how you look at it — is this giant unpredictable thing that Mother Nature made.

“It’s hard to think of anything more compelling.”

Hunt admits directing her second film (after 2007’s Then She Found Me) was not a simple task, however. Spending up to eight hours a day being crushed by coastal waves was physically, even mentally demanding.

“On the other hand,” added Hunt, “I felt like I was playing.”

Interestingly, the twice Oscar-nominated actress (winning in 1998 for As Good As It Gets) points out the most difficult part of filming in water was actually the sound.
“Where I really screwed myself is I wrote eight pages of dialogue in water and there’s a reason why people don’t do that very often — it’s really hard to shoot,” said Hunt. “I just hope people can hear what I wrote in there.”