Taking Back the Waves' portrays two world-class surfers and friends, Cass Collier en Ian Armstrong of Capetown, South-Africa. The documentary highlights how Cass's skin color influenced his surfing at the height of apartheid. His father passed his enthusiasm for the sport on to his son and ignored the restrictions of apartheid as much as he could, but it was still difficult for Cass to get the recognition he deserved. With a lot of hard work, he ended up winning international awards and recognition. The images of surfers and high waves in the film are very impressive.
The two surfers grew up in two different societies in the same South Africa. Ian is white and always had access to the best beaches and waves. Cass, who was 'colored', was barred from those areas due to the color of his skin. After apartheid ended, those rules changed and now Cass is an inspiration for colored youth who want to develop their surfing talent. He and Ian now give surfing lessons in Cape Town.