First sited in the shores of Tahiti in 1767, surfing has been a fascinating sport creating waves of enthusiasm all over the world. Whether you are in the water ripping up sets or standing on the shore wishing you could even stand up on a board, surfing touches us all in a certain way. Along with surf culture comes Hollywood, and below we have ten movies with surfing to keep you just as happy at home as you would be on the beach.
The Endless Summer
A story of two young California surfers chasing summer and the perfect wave in South Africa, Hawaii, Australia and more. This 1966 documentary by surfer-filmmaker Bruce Brown was made to really show the depth of the sport with its raw narration and breathtaking footage of every wave you could imagine. At the top of the list of many “must-see” surfing movies, this one is very much, a must-see.
Five Summer Stories
Known as the finest surfing movie ever, Five Summer Stories became a cultural icon after being released in 1972. While most movies with surfing were showing a more hardcore side of surfing, Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman created a laid back mellow vibe. This is really a time capsule of surfing and sounds of the early ’70s and not so much a collection of five stories. Featuring some of the best surfers of its time, it’s the perfect movie for enthusiastic surf lovers.
Director George Greenough created a masterpiece in this film. Being able to get the most in-depth footage through the water and into the waves was revolutionary at the time. With his kneeboard, he was able to strap a waterproof housing onto his back to weave in and out of the deepest barrels. His movie became a hit all over the world and can now be found digitally remastered. Keep an eye out for Captain Goodvibes. You won’t want to miss him.
Beyond Blazing Boards
Hailed as the surfing movie that changed lives, there is an article in the Men’s Journal that describes the first moments the film was shown in the theatre. A really captivating moment for surfers and one that can really tell you about the energy this movie brought at the time and most importantly, why you need to watch it.
Moving away from documentaries, North Shore is an action drama in which Rick Kane, a young surfer from Arizona, heads to Hawaii to see if he can surf with the pros. Although not an instant hit to the mid-American audience, it still spruced up a cult following and became an iconic film for many. This movie really captures the true essence of North Shore and the brotherhood that comes with surfing.
(Available on Prime Video)
With Actors like Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, you can’t go past a mix up of FBI agents and Surfers. In this action-packed film, a gang of surfers are believed to be robbing banks. When FBI Agent Johnny Utah goes undercover, he becomes intrigued by the surfer lifestyle and well… you need to watch the movie to find out the rest.
A great documentary to watch for those who aren’t so familiar with not only the origins of surfing but the overwhelming feeling of trying to find and ride the perfect giant wave. With incredible footage and amazing storytelling, you will be encapsulated with how and why these surfers did what they did. Known as the astronauts of their era; life or death wasn’t really a factor in their lives. Searching for the ultimate big wave that you will remember for the rest of your life was.
Finally a movie for the ladies. As Anne Marie moves herself and her surfboard to Hawaii with little support from others, she goes hard every day to prepare herself for the Rip Masters Surf Competition. Her and her three friends show the real life of keeping up with a dream surfing life by having real jobs, real responsibilities and real passion. The surf scene is up to her liking, and so is fellow surfer Matt Tollman.
(Available on Hulu)
A truly epic movie but not one for the faint of heart. As teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton loses her arm to a shark attack, she does whatever she can to get back on the board. We don’t want to give too much away, but be ready for laughter, tears and inspiration. Based on a true story, you’ll be in awe of the power people have when they work hard to accomplish not just what they want, but what they need to survive.
(Available on Hulu & Amazon Prime)
Step Into Liquid
If cinematography is up your avenue, Step Into Liquid is an engaging documentary to, well, step into. This movie includes breathtaking footage of the waves, some of the best surfers in the world riding them and some interviews with world champions of the sport. What’s truly magnificent is the settings; as footage from all angels shows you the perfect waves from Vietnam, Costa Rica and Tahiti.
(Available on Prime Video)
The beautiful water, the curl of a wave and the smell of the seas always puts every surfer into a good mood. If you’re looking to encapsulate yourself in all things surfing, these movies with surfing magic are the perfect match for you.