The Best Surfing Movies of All Time


Surfing movies have always been a popular genre among film enthusiasts. The beach culture, the thrill of the waves, and the adventurous spirit of surfers make for captivating visual storytelling. Over the years, many surfing films have been made, but only a few can be considered the best. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top surfing movies of all time. From classics like “The Endless Summer” to modern hits like “Blue Crush,” we’ll cover them all.

The Golden Age of Surfing Films

In the 1960s and 1970s, surfing was at its peak in popular culture. At the same time, the world of surfing films was undergoing a golden age as well. Here are some classic movies that will never go out of style.

The Endless Summer (1966)

Perhaps the most iconic surfing movie of all time, “The Endless Summer” follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, as they travel around the world in search of the perfect wave. The film’s stunning cinematography, combined with the laid-back narrative style, made it an instant classic.

The soundtrack was also notable, featuring music from The Sandals, who later went on to create the theme song for “Gidget.” The film’s popularity led to a sequel, “The Endless Summer II,” which was released in 1994.

The Endless Summer is more than just a movie about surfing. It’s a film that captures the essence of the surfing lifestyle and the sense of adventure that comes with exploring new places. The movie takes viewers on a journey around the world, from the sunny beaches of California to the remote shores of Africa and Australia.

Along the way, Mike and Robert meet other surfers and experience different cultures, giving viewers a glimpse into the global community of surfers. The film’s laid-back style and beautiful imagery make it a timeless classic that continues to inspire new generations of surfers and adventurers.

Five Summer Stories (1972)

“Five Summer Stories” is a documentary-style film that follows the lives of five professional surfers during the summer of 1972. The movie features incredible footage of the surfers riding huge waves, along with an engaging, non-linear narrative style that captures the essence of the surf culture.

The film’s soundtrack, featuring music from the likes of Pink Floyd and Elton John, also became hugely popular.

Five Summer Stories is a film that celebrates the art and athleticism of surfing. The movie showcases the skills of some of the best surfers of the time, including Gerry Lopez, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest surfers of all time.

The film also explores the culture of surfing, with interviews and footage of surfers hanging out on the beach and discussing the sport. The movie captures the laid-back vibe of the surfing community and the sense of camaraderie that comes with being a part of it.

Big Wednesday (1978)

Set in Southern California during the 1960s and 1970s, “Big Wednesday” follows the lives of three surfers as they ride the waves and experience the ups and downs of life. The film is a coming-of-age story that deals with themes such as friendship, loss, and the search for meaning.

The surfing scenes are breathtaking, with huge waves and stunning cinematography. The movie’s soundtrack features classic rock tunes from bands like The Doors and The Allman Brothers Band.

Big Wednesday is a film that captures the spirit of the surfing lifestyle. The movie explores the relationships between the characters and their love for the ocean, showing how surfing can be a way of life and a source of identity.

The film also deals with the darker side of surfing, including the dangers of big waves and the toll that the sport can take on the body. Despite these challenges, the characters in Big Wednesday continue to pursue their passion for surfing, making the film a powerful testament to the human spirit.

Modern Surfing Classics

As surfing has continued to evolve, so have surfing films. Here are some modern classics that have captured the imagination of audiences.

Point Break (1991)

“Point Break” is a classic action movie that also happens to be a surfing film. The story follows FBI agent Johnny Utah as he goes undercover to investigate a group of surfers who may be behind a string of robberies. Along the way, Johnny becomes enamored with the surfing lifestyle, and the film features some incredible surfing scenes.

The movie is known for its over-the-top action and dialogue, and has become a cult classic in the years since its release. In addition to the surfing scenes, the film also features skydiving, bank robberies, and a memorable performance by Patrick Swayze as the charismatic surfer Bodhi.

Interestingly, the film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, went on to become the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director for her 2008 film “The Hurt Locker.”

Blue Crush (2002)

“Blue Crush” is a coming-of-age story about a young surfer named Anne Marie, played by Kate Bosworth, as she trains for a major surfing competition. The movie features some incredible surfing scenes, as well as a strong female protagonist.

The film was notable for being one of the few surfing movies with a female lead, and it inspired a new generation of female surfers. In addition to the surfing scenes, the film also explores themes of friendship, family, and perseverance.

Interestingly, the film’s director, John Stockwell, is a former actor who appeared in movies like “Top Gun” and “Christine.”

Lords of Dogtown (2005)

“Lords of Dogtown” is a movie about the rise of skateboarding and surfing in Southern California during the 1970s. The film follows a group of young surfers and skaters who become overnight sensations, and features incredible skateboarding and surfing scenes.

The movie is loosely based on real-life events and features an all-star cast that includes Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch. In addition to the action scenes, the film also explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the price of fame.

The film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who went on to direct the first “Twilight” movie.

Surfing Documentaries

Surfing documentaries have become increasingly popular in recent years, as filmmakers strive to capture the sport’s essence. Here are some must-see documentaries for anyone who loves surfing.

Riding Giants (2004)

“Riding Giants” is a documentary that follows the history of big wave surfing, from its origins in Hawaii to its global expansion. The movie features interviews with some of the sport’s biggest legends, as well as stunning footage of surfers riding massive waves.

The film provides a fascinating insight into the thrill-seeking mentality of big wave surfers, and the incredible risks they take to ride those waves.

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when legendary surfer Laird Hamilton rides a massive wave in Tahiti, known as “Teahupo’o,” which has been described as one of the most dangerous waves in the world. The footage of Hamilton’s ride is truly breathtaking, and it’s a testament to the skill and bravery of big wave surfers.

Step Into Liquid (2003)

“Step Into Liquid” is a documentary that explores the culture and history of surfing, from Hawaii to Ireland to Vietnam. The movie features interviews with surfers from all over the world, as well as some stunning surfing scenes.

The film covers a wide range of topics, including the impact of surfing on local communities, the spiritual side of the sport, and the competitive nature of surfing.

One of the most interesting parts of the film is when surfers in Wisconsin ride waves created by massive tankers in Lake Michigan. It’s a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of surfers, who will go to great lengths to catch a wave.

The Momentum Generation (2018)

“The Momentum Generation” is a documentary that tells the story of a group of young surfers who revolutionized the sport in the 1990s. The movie features interviews with the surfers themselves, as well as some incredible footage of them surfing some of the world’s biggest waves.

The film provides a fascinating look at the competitive nature of surfing, and the incredible bond that forms between surfers who push each other to excel.

One of the most memorable parts of the film is when the surfers travel to Indonesia to surf a wave known as “G-Land.” The footage of the surfers riding the massive, perfect waves is truly breathtaking, and it’s a testament to the skill and dedication of the surfers.

Overall, these surfing documentaries offer a fascinating look at the sport of surfing, and the incredible passion and dedication of surfers around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just a fan of the sport, these films are definitely worth watching.

Biographical Surfing Films

Surfing has produced many legendary figures over the years, and their stories have been the subject of some incredible movies. Here are some biographical films that every surfing fan should see.

Soul Surfer (2011)

“Soul Surfer” is the inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. The film follows Hamilton as she struggles to come to terms with her disability, and eventually returns to competitive surfing.

The movie is a testament to the human spirit and the power of perseverance. Hamilton’s story is truly inspiring, and the surfing scenes are nothing short of amazing.

Hamilton’s story is not only inspiring but also a testament to the importance of safety measures while surfing. Surfing is an extreme sport, and accidents can happen at any time. It is essential to follow safety protocols, such as wearing a leash and avoiding surfing in areas known for shark activity. The film also highlights the importance of family support during challenging times.

Chasing Mavericks (2012)

“Chasing Mavericks” is the true story of Jay Moriarty, a young surfer who sets his sights on riding the massive waves at Mavericks, a notorious surf spot off the coast of California. The film follows Moriarty as he trains for his goal, and ultimately achieves it.

The movie is a tribute to Moriarty’s grit and determination, and features some incredible surfing scenes. The film also explores the bond between mentor and apprentice, as Moriarty is trained by legendary surfer Frosty Hesson.

The film highlights the importance of discipline, hard work, and perseverance in achieving one’s goals. It also showcases the dangers of big wave surfing and the importance of safety measures while surfing. The bond between Moriarty and Hesson is also an excellent example of the importance of having a mentor in one’s life.

Breath (2017)

“Breath” is a coming-of-age story about two young surfers growing up in Australia in the 1970s. The film explores themes such as friendship, courage, and the pursuit of excellence.

The surfing scenes are breathtaking, and the film captures the essence of the surf culture in Australia during that time period. The movie was directed by Simon Baker, who also stars in it.

The film also highlights the importance of balancing passion with responsibility. The two young surfers in the film are passionate about surfing, but they also understand the importance of education and family. The film is a beautiful tribute to the Australian surf culture and its connection to nature.

In conclusion, these biographical surfing films are not just about surfing but also about the human spirit, perseverance, discipline, mentorship, friendship, and family. They are a must-watch for anyone who loves surfing or is looking for inspiration and motivation.


Surfing movies are a unique genre that captures the excitement and adventure of the surf culture. From classic films like “The Endless Summer” to modern hits like “Soul Surfer,” there’s no shortage of great surfing movies to watch. Whether you’re a die-hard surfing fan or just enjoy great filmmaking, these movies are sure to entertain and inspire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *