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Here Are 15 Of The Best Surfing Movies Of All Time

Surfing Movies

Surfing Movies

Updated on 7/11/2024
Judith DyerBy Judith Dyer
Judith Dyer
Learn More about Judith Dyer

We count the top 10 most epic and bone-crushing surf films, from feel-good surfing movies to big-wave documentaries. This list includes fictional and nonfictional films, and you won't be able to find the words to describe these films.

There is no disputing the magnetic pull of the waves, regardless of whether you spent your childhood with your feet in the sand or if you've never had the opportunity to observe the ocean up close. It is impossible not to be entranced by the captivating beat of the water and the remarkable athleticism on the beach exhibit. If you have ever gone to a beach or even if you have just viewed some surfing videos on YouTube, it is impossible not to be mesmerized by either of these things. On the other hand, it's reasonable to assume that not everyone has dreams of becoming a surfer, and it's also easy to understand why some people don't have dreams of becoming surfers. 

Surfing Movies

Surfing Movies

The fact that those who work in the film industry have been captivated by the sport for a significant amount of time should not surprise anyone. Since surfing grew from a simple coastal pastime to a phenomenon worldwide, the sport has been portrayed on film in several different scenarios, each offering a unique perspective. You can watch big-wave documentaries or zen-criminal bank robbery thrillers in these situations. In addition, a wide variety of books and articles have been written about surfing specifically as a subject for discussion. Here are fifteen of the most effective alternatives to engaging in physical activity that you may incorporate into your day-to-day routine to achieve similar health benefits.

1. The Endless Summer (1966)

1. The Endless Summer (1966)

1. The Endless Summer (1966)

Are we the only ones in this position, or is it possible that there is another group that might compete with us for the top spot? Mike Hynson and Robert August, two teenagers from the West Coast who surf, embark on a journey around the world in pursuit of the ideal wave to be featured in the classic surf documentary by Bruce Brown. They are also successful in discovering it on a wave that had never been observed before off the coast of Cape St. Francis in South Africa, now widely considered one of the world's top surf spots. Brown's narration may not always be especially politically correct relative to today's standards. Still, it is fun-loving and funny, and his footage brilliantly shows the sport's passion, camaraderie, and simple joy. Regarding this matter, extreme caution is strongly suggested. We might not have the time or the finances to follow an unending summer worldwide, but thanks to Brown's film (and an incredibly fantastic theme song sung by the Sandals), we can drop in whenever it suits us.

2. Riding Giants (2004)

Riding Giants (2004)

Riding Giants (2004)

Stacy Peralta, who had previously published Dogtown and Z-Boys, came back with another excellent documentary on the history of big-wave surfing three years after he had previously published Dogtown and Z-Boys. The Z-Boys were the protagonists of the movie this time around. You may be provided with more information than you require, beginning with the Hawaiian roots of the sport and continuing through the decades. Still, plenty of exhilarating tubes and wipeout footage highlights the fascination with the draw of riding waves of such a large size. Peralta puts viewers on the stage that most of them will ever come to in terms of their ability to experience what they are witnessing without actually placing them in the same spot. That is the point at which most viewers will ever arrive.

3. Surfwise (2007)

Surfwise (2007)

Surfwise (2007)

This fascinating documentary tells the story of Doc Paskowitz, a man with a Stanford education who, along with his young wife, eschewed everyday life to raise his nine children in a camper while pursuing the best surf around the continent. His story is told through the lens of the documentary "Doc Paskowitz: Raising Nine Kids in a Camper While Chasing the Best Waves in North America." The journeys of this man are recounted in the movie, and they serve as the narrative device in which the story is delivered. Even though his parenting methods were controversial, his life may have been driven by self-interest due to his obsession with surfing. He still poses the question: Is it that crazy to raise a close-knit family more concerned with physical health and spiritual fulfillment than conventional measures of success?

4. North Of The Sun [Nordfor Sola] (2012)

4. North of the Sun [Nordfor Sola] (2012)

4. North of the Sun [Nordfor Sola] (2012)

Inge Wegge and Jr Ranum, two friends from Norway who are passionate surfers, captured their search for great, unknown waves in 2012, even though the water temperature was relatively chilly that year. At the time, they were both in their early to mid-twenties. Neither of them had children. The two people lived alone for nine months on a barren beach north of the Arctic Circle. During their time there, they accumulated more than 30 tons of rubbish that had washed up on shore during their time there. To collect the garbage, they surfed the waves. They were kept in complete darkness for most of their stay and were not permitted any access to any natural light sources. They used the rubbish to construct a home for themselves. With its assistance, they could engage in all other activities essential to ensure their existence, except surfing. That gave them the ability to ensure that they would continue to exist. In the clip they filmed together, the relationship between the two is shown in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and frequently amusing. Something that may be rather tragic about a love of the water that runs so deep is demonstrated in the footage they filmed together. It is something that is shown in the footage that they filmed together.

5. Five Summer Stories (1972)

Five Summer Stories (1972)

Five Summer Stories (1972)

This legendary film has several of the best surfers of its day (check out the extended footage of Gerry Lopez tearing it up), and a terrific soundtrack composed by Honk complements it. The movie also contains a smattering of political undertones. They are responsible for some of the best surfing movies ever made. This was the last and most technically advanced project that Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivray worked on regarding the quality of the film's making. In addition, this project was the last and most advanced project regarding the quality of the making of the film. You will not only see a lot of waves during the exciting action sequences but also waves in other parts of the film. That is an homage shown in slow motion to some of the most famous surfers in the history of surfing and some of the most amazing waves.

6. Soul Surfer (2011)

6. Soul Surfer (2011)

6. Soul Surfer (2011)

In 2003, a real-life young fighter named Bethany Hamilton, who was on the rise as a surf champion, suffered a horrific shark bite injury but fought through it with barely a tear. When the incident occurred, Bethany was on her way to becoming a world champion. When the incident occurred, she was well to winning the world champion title. As soon as her stitches were out, she was back on her board, but this time she was surfing with one fewer arm than she had before. The narrative, which Hollywood had the potential to transform into a treacly mess, is told with frankness, humor, and respect for the strength of Hamilton's family and faith in the film. That is the kind of story that could have easily been turned into a treacly mess by Hollywood. The report can become a sentimental nightmare in the hands of Hollywood, which is why it is a good thing that AnnaSophia Robb assumes the character so deftly because it is a good thing that the story has the potential to become a sentimental nightmare.

7. Step Into Liquid (2003)

Step Into Liquid (2003)

Step Into Liquid (2003)

The first project that Dana Brown has worked on entirely on his own draws inspiration from the work of his famous surfer and filmmaker father, Bruce Brown, who is well known for his film The Endless Summer. Dana Brown has worked on this project entirely on his own. Dana Brown has not collaborated with anyone else on this project. Step Into Liquid exudes the same warm and inviting atmosphere. Still, its technical foundation is significantly more developed than Step Into Solid (decades of camera advancements may have helped there). Dana lived up to people's incredibly high expectations for the Browns by making a movie currently recognized as the fifth-greatest-earning sports documentary. As a result, people have very high hopes for the Browns. Dana rose to the challenge despite the enormous pressure of having the Brown surname.

8. Morning Of The Earth (1972)

8. Morning of the Earth (1972)

8. Morning of the Earth (1972)

Albert Falzon readily romanticized the few surfers who lived the "back-to-nature" lifestyle in his first and most well-known film. Although most of them were bearded, barefoot, and virtually homeless, Falzon was able to romanticize their way of life. Despite the vast majority of them being surfers, this was the outcome. It still makes first-time surfers and seasoned veterans wish they could uproot their lives, quit their jobs, and start a new life on a deserted beach. In other words, it is the kind of thing that makes surfers wish they could live on a deserted beach. The documentary Morning of the Earth is credited with being the first to show surf footage of Indonesia's famous, world-class waves, which had been primarily unknown until then. In addition to infecting viewers with a bad case of the travel bug, the film is credited with being the first to display surf footage of Indonesia's famous, world-class waves.

9. North Shore (1987)

9. North Shore (1987)

9. North Shore (1987)

Rick Kane, a wave-tank surfer from Arizona, decides to visit the North Shore of Oahu to establish himself as a professional surfer. Hawaii is the setting for this ridiculous surf movie from the 1980s. The following are typical occurrences that occur due to this: he enrages the more experienced surfers and falls in love with a local girl. Eventually, he gets new friends who show him the fun and spiritual side of surfing. The jokes are corny, but there's something lovable about them, and the caricatures of North Shore folks are spot on (the parties, the strip clubs, the shave ice). In addition, it is a lot of joy to see Laird Hamilton play the film's antagonist, pro-bro Lance Burkhart because he is such a jerk in this role. This is one of the reasons why the film is so entertaining.

10. The September Sessions (2002)

The September Sessions (2002)

The September Sessions (2002)

It is not difficult to make a spectacular surf documentary when you cast the sport's finest athletes, such as Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, and Dorian, on some of the best waves in the world, which are located off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. This location is where you can find some of the best waves in the world. Dorian, Kelly Slater, and Rob Machado are some of the surfers who appear in the movie. But it seems like Jack Johnson knew this would be his final hurrah before moving on to music full-time. His decision to shoot 16mm and compose the video makes it a tranquil and even melancholy valentine to the more beautiful side of surfing.

11. Surf's Up (2007)

11. Surf's Up (2007)

11. Surf's Up (2007)

This animated mockumentary pulls off humor, sadness, and some pretty excellent surf views, even though its primary character is a rockhopper penguin with big wave aspirations. All this is accomplished while the rockhopper penguin is shown as the primary character. It is the only film on our list that can be accurately described as appropriate for children. It features comedy that, without a doubt, every family member will find amusing. To put it another way, it's something that every member of the family can enjoy together. The fact that Kelly Slater and Rob Machado also make cameo cameos in the film as themselves, but this time in the character of penguins, is something else that catches our notice about the film.

12. Big Wednesday (1978)

Big Wednesday (1978)

Big Wednesday (1978)

People (read: baby boomers) who identified with a coming-of-age movie about friends facing life and the Vietnam War have helped Big Wednesday build a cult fandom over the years, even though Big Wednesday was initially a commercial flop exhibited in theaters. Because of this, Big Wednesday has cultivated a following among members of a subculture throughout the years. Gary Busey, who would go on to star in Point Break, which is ranked number 13 on our list, William Katt. Jan-Michael Vincent plays the role of a close-knit group of friends who gradually drift apart throughout the film as they engage in activities such as parties, getting married, and fighting in the war. The film also features Jan-Michael Vincent, who would go on to star in the movie "Point Break," which is ranked number 13 Jan-Michael Vincent. Is it possible that they will reconcile after being away for a significant amount of time because they both have a passion for surfing? Spoiler alert: Sure can.

13. Point Break (1991)

Point Break (1991)

Point Break (1991)

Do you believe that the level of success that the film achieved would have been the same if, for example, the group of bank robbers portrayed in Kathryn Bigelow's high-octane action blockbuster had been more interested in skating than surfing? It is pretty unlikely that this will take place. It is difficult to imagine Keanu Reeves falling in love with either Lori Petty or Patrick Swayze while learning to kickflip. It is even more challenging to take the zen-criminal philosophizing of Bodhi seriously. Both of these things make it challenging to imagine Keanu Reeves falling in love with someone while he was learning how to kickflip. It's hard to picture either of these things while Keanu Reeves mastered the kickflip. Both scenarios have a very low probability of happening in real life. Of course, you don't go to Point Break for anything significant; you go there for the joy of surfing gigantic waves, skydiving without a parachute, throwing Pitbulls, and having a homoerotically motivated love triangle. In addition, the story reaches a stunning conclusion that has, for a very long time, yelled for a continuation of the story in which Bodhi does paddle to New Zealand to find out what happens.

14. Blue Crush (2002)

Blue Crush (2002)

Blue Crush (2002)

Although it does not precisely overflow with snappy dialogue or performances that are award-worthy, Blue Crush is the rare surf movie that is aimed exclusively at the demographic of teenage girls. It does not, but it gets by on sheer heart. Blue Crush is a rare example of a surf movie aimed exclusively at this demographic. Blue Crush is an exceptionally fantastic surf movie. A young surfer named Anne Marie, portrayed by Kate Bosworth is going through some tricky patches in her personal and familial life while attempting to get her act together to compete in a surf contest that will take place in Hawaii. The competition will take place in the territory of Hawaii in the United States. If you mix a love affair with a sexy quarterback, you've got a somewhat predictable teen movie. However, the film is shot with such verve – including some stunning wave-riding sequences – that it's easy to fall in love.

15. Gidget (1959)

Gidget (1959)

Gidget (1959)

Gidget became a scapegoat for purist surfers who were furious that more casual surfers and spectators were taking over their sport and waves. These purists were dissatisfied that others were taking over their sport and locks. Gidget was the bane of every surfer's existence when it was first released, particularly for those whose preferred break at Malibu beach suddenly became more crowded than it had ever been before. Gidget was a product of the 1960s and was a cartoon character created by Walt Disney. Gidget, although having a cheesy faux love triangle and much cheesier back-projected "surf" visuals, made surfing movies accessible to the American mainstream and provided a pleasant and pleasurable coming-of-age story. Gidget was a classic. Gidget was a seminal motion picture in the annals of surfing's history. Despite these issues, Gidget was successful, but the show had many flaws despite its popularity.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of making a surf film?

If you try to save money and time by taking shortcuts, you will most likely end up with a low-quality movie. It's like trying to run a marathon after shooting yourself in the foot, and this is the creative equivalent of that. The production budget for JJF's Views From A Blue Moon was $2 million, whereas the average cost of filming a surf video is roughly $50,000. That is in contrast to the budget of JJF's Views From A Blue Moon, which was $2 million. In contrast, the sum spent on JJF's Views From A Blue Moon makes this look like little more than pocket change.

Does surfing require a lot of practice?

The water sport of surfing is widely acknowledged as being one of the most challenging to perfect. Achieving one's goals requires a significant investment of time, energy, commitment, and passion, not to mention perseverance. On a scale that runs from one to ten, learning to surf at an intermediate level has a difficulty level that spans from four to seven. The scenario's outcome will be determined by the level of devotion you show toward the endeavor and your ability to execute several necessary stages effectively.

What makes surfing so tiring?

This kind of activity is not only taxing on one's body but also on one's mind and spirit. The act of surfing is comparable in difficulty to other physically demanding pursuits. It activates all of your dormant muscles, which are the muscles that we rarely use in our day-to-day activities; as a result, you are more likely to experience a burning sensation during the first few sessions that you take part in when you do hot yoga.

How often do pro surfers surf?

That is going to be true for most of us, even though we do not get the same amount of time in the water as the professionals do; most of a professional surfer's training regimen will revolve around their surfing. Even though we do not get the same amount of time in the water as professionals do, this will be true for most of us. That is because, on average, professionals surf anywhere from five to seven times per week.

What is your surfing style?

To keep your balance, you need to make sure that both your feet are firmly planted on the board, that your knees are bent, that your arms are relaxed, and that your eyes are focused in the direction you are traveling. You have successfully finished your first wave of surfing! Congratulations! Keep your concentration, and allow yourself to be dragged into the shore from the middle of the river. Be careful to keep an eye out for other individuals who might be in the water while you are out there surfing. There could be a lot of people out there.

What is the cost of surfing as a hobby?

Surfing can be a low-cost hobby for you, depending on how seriously you take the sport, or it can become an expensive means to make a living. When you first start surfing, you could discover that it is a costly activity; this is especially true if you live near the water. The price of a pool may go down, and maintaining and cleaning it will be less complicated.