Surf met Hollywood in the 1950’s and since then more than 1000 movies have been released. While some have gone mainstream, others are known only in the surfers niche, but all the best surfing movies are made from similar ingredients: freedom, trips and endless waves.
Going straight to the point, surfers like watching people surfing and if you are one of those living to catch the next wave, we hope you will enjoy watching our ultimate surfing movies collection.
Release date: 2011
Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt
Soul Surfer is a biographical drama film directed by Sean McNamara, based on the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton about her life as a surfer after losing her left arm in a horrific shark attack and her recovery.
In God’s Hands
Release date: 1988
Starring: Matt George, Matty Liu, Shane Dorian
In God’s Hands is a film by Zalman King released through Sheen Michaels Entertainment a production company created by actor Charlie Sheen and Bret Michaels. The basic story is of three young surfers on a roller coaster action tour of the globe’s most exotic and dangerous surfing spots. They travel to Madagascar, Mexico, Bali and Hawaii seeking the ultimate wave, a 40-foot force of nature that travels at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.
Release date: 2002
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis
Blue Crush is a 2002 sports film directed by John Stockwell and based on Susan Orlean‘s 1998 Outside magazine article “Life’s Swell”. The film stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Sanoe Lake and Mika Boorem. It tells the story of three friends who have one passion: living the ultimate dream of surfing on Hawaii’s famed North Shore.
Release date: 2013
Starring: Myles Pollard, Xavier Samuel, Sam Worthington
Drift is a 2013 Australian film about the birth of the surf industry in the 1970s. It was shot in Western Australia and co-directed by Morgan O’Neill. Set in a remote town on Australia’s spectacular and rugged coastline in the early ’70s, Drift tells the story of two brothers at the genesis of the modern surf industry.
The Endless Summer
Release date: 1965
Starring: Robert August, Michael Hynson, Lord James Blears
Among the best and most known surf movies, we cannot forget to list The Endless Summer, a 1966 American surf documentary film directed, produced, edited and narrated by Bruce Brown. The film follows surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August on a surfing trip around the world, searching the perfect wave.
The narrative presentation eases from the stiff, formal documentary of the 1950s and early 1960s to a more casual, fun-loving and personal style filled with sly humor. The film’s surf rock soundtrack was provided by The Sandals, and the theme song was written by Gaston Georis and John Blakeley of the Sandals; the theme has since become one of the best known film themes in the surf movie genre
Release date: 1978
Starring: Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, Gary Busey
Big Wednesday is one of the most important surf movies of all times. Directed by John Milius it is an homage to the director’s youth in Malibu.
The movie tells the stories of three young friends whose passion in life is surfing. Their surfing lives are traced from the summer of 1962, to their attempts at dodging the Vietnam War draft in 1965 and to the end of their innocence in 1968 when one of their friends is killed in Vietnam.
Release date: 1991
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey
Point Break is made of surf and big wave. But not only: in fact it also has spie stories and an all-starred cast. FBI Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) investigates several bank robberies committed by a surf gang led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
Surf movies with Sharks: what to watch?
Shark surfing movies are a sub-genre, and here are some to be mentioned.
Release date: 2016
Starring: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo
Surfer Nancy Adams travels from the US to a secluded beach in Mexico and soon joins a couple of locals in the waves. As she rides the last wave back to the beach, a large great white shark knocks her off her surfboard and bites her leg. The girl is going to have the hardest adventure in a lifetime.
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable
Release date: 2018
Starring: Alana Blanchard, Adam Dirks e Tobias Dirks
Directed by Aaron Lieber, it is a documentary based on the real life of Bethany Hamilton. This is the untold story of the heart of a champion and her resilience against all odds to become one of the leading professional surfers of our time.