Surf Movies to Watch

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The genre of surfing movies it is a subgenre of adventure movies which focus on surf culture and the adventures and challenges surfers face at sea. These films can feature a variety of themes, such as competition, friendship, discovering new surf destinations, and exploring nature and coastal life. Sometimes the typical themes of drama movies prevail over adventure. Often these movies also include high quality surfing scenes and an engaging soundtrack.

The origins of the surf movies genre date back to the 1950s and 1960s, when surfing was becoming a popular sport and culture in California and other parts of the world. Early surf movies were usually shorts that featured surfers riding the waves and coastal California life. These movies were often produced by surfers themselves and were shown at surfing parties and events.


In the 1960s and 1970s, surf movies began to become more elaborate and include more complex plots. Some of these films featured themes such as surfer rivalry, the struggle for supremacy on the beach, and the search for perfect waves in remote locations. These films were often accompanied by a surf rock soundtrack and helped create the image of the surfer as a free and carefree adventurer.

Over time, the surf movies genre has evolved and adapted to changes in culture and technology, but the essence of surf movies has remained the same: to celebrate the beauty and freedom of life on the waves . There are many surf movies that are considered important and have marked the history of cinema. Here are some of the best known:

“The Endless Summer” (1966) di Bruce Brown

“Big Wednesday” (1978) by John Milius

“Point Break” (1991) di Kathryn Bigelow

“Riding Giants” (2004) di Stacy Peralta

“Step into Liquid” (2003) by Dana Brown

These films were directed by directors known for their works in the world of surfing and sports. They have captured the beauty and excitement of beach life and helped spread surf culture globally.


The Endless Summer (1966)

“The Endless Summer” is a documentary movie about surfing from 1966 directed by Bruce Brown. The film follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a journey around the world to find the best surfing waves. Crossing Africa, Australia, Hawaii and other exotic places, surfers encounter new cultures and face exciting challenges on their surfboards. ‘The Endless Summer’ has been hailed as one of the most influential surf movies of all time and has helped spread surf culture globally.

“The Endless Summer” follows the story of two young surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, who decide to travel around the world in search of the best surfing waves. The film shows them as they traverse different parts of the world, encountering new cultures and challenges along the way. Throughout their journey, surfers meet people who share their passion for surfing and face challenges such as language and cultural barriers as well as harsh weather conditions. However, despite these obstacles, the two surfers continue to pursue their dream and enjoy the waves they ride.

The film was acclaimed for its spectacular visuals and soundtrack, as well as its message of adventure and freedom. “The Endless Summer” has also influenced many generations of surfers and helped spread surf culture globally.


Pacific Vibrations (1970) 

“Pacific Vibrations” is a documentary about 70’s surf culture directed by Jim Freeman. The film explores the life of Hawaiian surfers and their passion for waves and nature. The soundtrack features rock and surf music, and the film offers a unique look into the life and philosophy of surfers at the time. “Pacific Vibrations” was critically acclaimed and considered a classic of surf cinema.

“Pacific Vibrations” does not have a strict plot. The film is rather a documentary that explores the surf culture and life of surfers in Hawaii in the 70s. The film follows surfers as they ride the waves, explore nature and go about their daily lives. The film also features interviews with surfers and captures their philosophies about life and their passion for surfing. The rock and surf soundtrack helps create an upbeat, light-hearted atmosphere that evokes the excitement and freedom surfers felt at the time. In summary, “Pacific Vibrations” is a journey through the surf culture of the 70s and the spirit of the surfers in that historical moment.


The Morning of the Earth (1971)

“The Morning of the Earth” is a 1971 surf movie that explores the lives of surfers living in an alternative community in Australia. The film follows these surfers as they ride the waves, camp and live in harmony with nature. The film was acclaimed for its cinematography and idyllic depiction of life in nature. It is considered a surf movie classic and has inspired many generations of surfers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The film is more of a celebration of the surfer lifestyle and their relationship with nature. The film follows a group of surfers who travel the Australian coast, ride the waves, camp and live in harmony with nature. The folk and psychedelic soundtrack of the film’s original songs combines with the beauty of the images to create an idyllic and free atmosphere. ‘The Morning of the Earth’ was highly influential in surf culture and inspired many subsequent films on the same subject.

Big Wednesday (1978)

It is a 1978 surf movie directed by John Milius. The plot follows three surfing friends in the 60s and 70s who share their passion for the waves and life, while dealing with changes in society and their personal lives. The film was well received for its poetic depiction of surfing as well as its soundtrack.

Big Wednesday follows the lives of three friends, Matt, Jack and Leroy, who grow up together in 1960s and 70s Southern California sharing their passion for surfing. As they deal with changes to their personal lives and society, such as the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement, and sexual freedom, the three friends remain united through their friendship and their dedication to surfing. The film shows how surfing is a lifeline for them in a rapidly changing world, and how their friendship is stronger than the changes they encounter. The storyline explores themes such as friendship, loyalty and maturity, all seen through the lens of surfing and surf culture.

North Shore (1987)

It is a 1987 surfing movie directed by William Phelps. The film is a sports drama that follows the adventures of Rick Kane, a professional surfer who moves to Hawaii to participate in a series of competitions on the north coast. The film’s plot explores his efforts to adapt to Hawaiian culture and to win the respect of locals, who view professional surfers as a threat to their traditions. The film is considered a classic surf movie of the 80s and boasts a catchy soundtrack and spectacular surf scenes.

The plot follows professional surfer Rick Kane who moves to Oahu, Hawaii to participate in a series of competitions on the north coast. At first, he meets resistance from local surfers who view professional surfers as a threat to their traditions and the balance of the ocean. However, with the help of a Hawaiian surfer who becomes his mentor, Rick begins to understand Hawaiian culture and adjust to life on the island. In the end, he takes on the ultimate challenge of the contest and demonstrates his talent and respect for Hawaiian culture, earning the respect of the local surfers.

The film explores themes such as adapting to a new culture, the rivalry between surfers, the importance of Hawaiian tradition and the relationship between man and the ocean. The film also features beautiful images of Hawaiian beaches and spectacular surf scenes.



Point Break (1991)

“Point Break” is a 1991 movie directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The film is a combination of action, adventure and crime, and follows FBI agent Johnny Utah (played by Keanu Reeves) who infiltrates a group of surfers suspected of bank robberies. During his investigations, Utah befriends the leader of the group, Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze), and begins to develop an understanding of their philosophy of life and ethics. Ultimately, Utah is forced to choose between his loyalty to the law and his friendship with Bodhi. The film is considered a classic of the genre and influenced many other action films of the 90s.

“Point Break” follows FBI agent Johnny Utah who is assigned a case of serial bank robberies committed by a group of surfers who call themselves the “Ex-Presidents”. To solve the case, Utah decides to infiltrate the world of surfing and befriends the leader of the group, Bodhi. During his investigation, Utah discovers that the robbers are actually seeking an extreme spiritual experience through their heists and surfing. Meanwhile, Utah begins to develop mixed feelings for Bodhi and his free-living philosophy. However, when he discovers that members of the group are responsible for a series of violent robberies, Utah is forced to decide whether to arrest his friends or help them escape.

The Living Sea (1995)

“The Living Sea” is a 1995 documentary movie directed by Greg MacGillivray which explores the beauty and diversity of the sea. The film shows man’s impact on the oceans and underlines the importance of protecting this vital ecosystem for our planet. The film was shot in various coastal locations around the world and features spectacular images of marine life, from coral reefs to aquatic animals. The film won numerous awards for its visual quality and its environmental message.

The September Sessions (2002)

“The September Sessions” is a 2002 surf documentary directed by Taylor Steele. The film follows a group of surfers traveling through Indonesia, Tahiti and Hawaii in search of the best waves. It also includes musical performances from artists such as Jack Johnson, Matt Costa and G. Love. The film is considered a classic of the surf genre and documents surf culture and the beauty of tropical locations.

“The September Sessions” does not have a strict plot, but rather a documentary structure that follows traveling surfers. The film includes footage of surfers riding the waves at iconic spots like Uluwatu and Teahupoo, as well as interviews and musical performances from the artists accompanying the journey. The combination of stunning surf images and live music creates a unique atmosphere and reflects surf culture and life on the street. In summary, “The September Sessions” is a journey across the ocean that combines surf, music and adventure.

Blue Crush (2002)

Blue Crush is a 2002 surf drama movie directed by John Stockwell. The film follows the story of a young surfer who dreams of competing in a surfing competition in Hawaii, but faces many personal and professional challenges to achieve her dreams. The protagonist Anne Marie is played by Kate Bosworth and the film also features Michelle Rodriguez and Sanoe Lake. Blue Crush has been acclaimed for its thrilling surf sequences and its depiction of life and extreme sports culture in Hawaii.

Anne Marie, the protagonist of Blue Crush, is a professional surfer who lives in Hawaii with her two best friends. When sports reporter Matt Tollman stumbles upon her and her passion for surfing, he begins following her preparation for a prestigious surfing contest to be held on the north shore of Oahu. Meanwhile, Anne Marie must face her troubled past and overcome her inner demons in order to compete at her best. With the help of Matt and his friends, Anne Marie faces her fears and prepares for the final competition, where she will have to prove her courage and determination to achieve her dream.


Step into Liquid (2003)

“Step into Liquid” is a 2003 surf documentary movie that explores surf culture. The film features a series of spectacular shots of surfers riding waves in different locations around the world, from California beaches to Irish cliffs. The film was well received by critics for its breathtaking cinematography and its depiction of the passion and adventurous spirit of surfers. “Step into Liquid” also offers a glimpse into the history and evolution of the sport, and the global surfing community.

Riding Giants (2004)

Riding Giants is a 2004 surfing documentary directed by Stacy Peralta which explores the history of surf culture and the surfers who changed the world of surfing. The film features interviews with legendary surfers such as Greg Noll, Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater and tells the story of surfing from its origins in Hawaii to the evolution of modern surfing. Through the breathtaking images and exciting stories of the most daring and innovative surfers, Riding Giants celebrates the passion, courage and art of surfing. The film was very well received by critics and won several awards for its outstanding direction and cinematography.

Surf’s Up (2007)

Surf’s Up is a 2007 animated surf movie directed by Ash Brannon e Chris Buck. The film follows the adventures of Cody Maverick, a young penguin who dreams of becoming a famous surfer, as he prepares for the “Big Z Memorial Surf Off” at Pen Gu Island. The film received positive reviews for its humor and depiction of the surfing world. Surf’s Up also uses a unique animation technique that mimics the style of a documentary, with live interviews and recordings of surfing competitions.

Surf’s Up follows Cody Maverick, a young penguin who is passionate about surfing, as he sets off for Pen Gu Island to participate in the all-important Big Z Memorial Surf Off surfing competition. There, he meets other surfers, including retired tournament winner Ezekiel “Big Z” Topanga and surfing star on the rise, Tank Evans. With the help of Big Z, Cody learns to overcome his fears and become a better surfer, as he fights to win the competition and fulfill his dream of becoming famous. Meanwhile, he also discovers the truth about Big Z’s mysterious disappearance and must decide whether to face danger to save his hero.

Surfwise (2007)

“Surfwise” is a 2007 surfing documentary directed by Doug Pray which follows the life of surfer and nomadic family Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz. The film explores the unique and adventurous life of the Paskowitz family, who traveled the world for decades in search of the best waves to surf, living a simple life outside the conventional standards. The plot of the film focuses on the controversial figure of Doc and his alternative lifestyle which has influenced his family and surfing. “Surfwise” was critically acclaimed for its intense storytelling and breathtaking surf visuals.

Bustin’ Down the Door (2008)

“Bustin’ Down the Door” is a 2008 surf documentary that tells the story of the evolution of surfing in the 1970s. The film focuses on a group of innovative surfers from different parts of the world who came together to create a new style of surfing and change the industry forever. These surfers, including Shaun Tomson, Wayne Bartholomew and Mark Richards, faced cultural and physical challenges to take surfing to the next level, becoming legends of contemporary surfing. “Bustin’ Down the Door” has been praised for its breathtaking cinematography and interviews with the world’s most influential surfers.


Soul Surfer (2011)

‘Soul Surfer’ is a 2011 surfing drama movie based on the true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack at the age of 13 but went on to surf and compete at a professional level. The film follows her struggle to overcome disability and her search for new purpose and meaning in life. The film was acclaimed for its emotional performance and inspiration, and is regarded as a tribute to determination and fortitude.

The plot of “Soul Surfer” follows young surfer Bethany Hamilton, who grows up in a surfing family in Kauai, Hawaii. After losing her arm in a shark attack, Bethany is determined to get back in the water and continue surfing at a pro level. With the help of her family, friends, and faith, Bethany faces the physical and emotional challenges of fulfilling her dream of becoming a sports icon. Meanwhile, he also has to face the fears and prejudices of fellow surfers and the public and find new meaning in life. The film’s plot explores themes such as perseverance, hope and faith, and encourages the viewer to overcome their obstacles and follow their dreams.


North of the Sun (2012)

“North of the Sun” is a 2012 surf movie directed by Ingar Helge Gimle. The film tells the story of two Norwegian surfers who spend a winter on a remote island in Northern Norway, building a shelter out of rubbish and surfing the waves with homemade boards. The film follows their adventure into the wilderness and shows how their experience changes them. ‘North of the Sun’ was acclaimed for its visual beauty and thrilling storytelling.

“North of the Sun” follows the story of two young surfers, Inge Wegge and Jørn Ranum, who decide to spend a winter on an uninhabited island in Northern Norway. With the help of scrap materials found on the beach, the two build a shelter and live there for nine months, surfing the cold waves and trying to survive in the wilderness. During this time, the two experience the loneliness and hardship of life in nature, but at the same time discover the beauty and peace this lifestyle offers. Their adventure will change their perspective on life and nature, and show how an out-of-the-ordinary experience can have a profound impact on one’s life.

Chasing Mavericks (2012)

‘Chasing Mavericks’ is a 2012 surfing drama movie directed by Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted. The story follows young surfer Jay Moriarty as he prepares to tackle one of the most dangerous waves in the world, known as the Mavericks. With the help of local surfer Frosty Hesson, Jay faces personal and physical challenges to become a world-class surfer. The film stars Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Elisabeth Shue and Abigail Spencer.

“Chasing Mavericks” follows the life of Jay Moriarty, a young surfer who dreams of riding the waves of Mavericks, one of the most dangerous surf destinations in the world. Jay meets local surfer Frosty Hesson, who becomes his mentor and helps him prepare for the venture. Together, they face personal and physical challenges, including the disappearance of Jay’s father, performance anxiety and challenging weather conditions. The film explores the bond between mentor and mentee and the inner strength that is needed to face life’s challenges.

Drift (2013)

Drift is a 2013 Australian surfing movie directed by Ben Nott and Morgan O’Neill. The film follows the story of two brothers, Jim and Andy, who start a surf company in Margaret River, Australia in the 1970s. Their business soon becomes a success, but the brothers’ private lives are put in jeopardy due to their reckless life and drug addiction. The film explores themes such as brotherhood, loyalty and the cost of success. The film explores themes such as brotherhood, loyalty and the cost of success, showing how reckless living and addiction can have negative consequences on an individual’s personal and professional life.

Jim and Andy decide to start a surf company in Margaret River, Australia in the 1970s. Their company soon becomes a success, thanks to their skill in designing and building high quality surfboards. However, the brothers’ private life is endangered due to their reckless life and drug addiction. As their company grows, the brothers must deal with the consequences of their actions, including the loss of their reputation, the breakdown of personal relationships and the threat of a group of criminals who want control of their company. Jim and Andy are forced to work together to protect their company and their private lives, but their brotherhood is tested by various difficulties.

A Perfect Wave (2015)

“A Perfect Wave” is a 2015 movie directed by Bruce Webber and following the story of surfer Scott Eastwood as he travels the world in search of the perfect waves and his identity. The film is a sports drama that explores themes such as adventure, love, loss and self-discovery. The film received mixed reviews and was not a major commercial success.

The plot follows the journey of a professional surfer named Ian (played by Scott Eastwood), who is looking for perfect waves around the world. During his journey, he meets a young woman named Andi (played by Isabel Lucas), with whom he develops a relationship. As Ian continues his quest for perfect waves, he realizes that true happiness lies in human relationships and self-discovery. By the end of the film, Ian realizes that life is a wave and that it’s important to ride it and appreciate every moment, rather than constantly striving for something more.



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