15 Surf Movies that should be in Your Library
We have today a selection of 15 surf movies that we think are must watches. Some of them are classics and others that are more modern, and all of them are worth a watch.
It´s not the first time that we recommend a list of movies. Some time ago we gave you the 5 essential surf movies. Now we come back with a more complete list.
1. Endless Summer (1964)
We start the ranking with a classic within classics. Possibly a jewel of the crown in surf documentaries. Despite its reduced budget (50000 dollars), the movie was a real commercial success. It was able to generate 30 million dollars. Bruce Brown follows two young surfers (Robert August and Mike Hynson) all over the world looking for the perfect wave. And we end up finding a few of them.
It´s one of those movies that best encapsulates the essence of surf. In 1994, after the success of the first part, a second part was launched. We can´t say which one is better.
2. Chasing Mavericks (2012)
Based on a true story, this movie narrates the story of the young surf legend Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston). A young Californian that was hardly 15 when he discovered the wave of Mavericks and since that moment all his thoughts are dominated by that giant wave. For that, he will get help from Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler), with whom he will forge a friendship.
3. Big Wednesday (1978)
It’s the first movie that not only caught the attention of surfers but also the general public and has aged quite well.
It was shot in Sunset Beach in Hawaii. They waited for 2 months to get a big swell, which is the final apotheosis of the film. Production contracted the professional Australian surfer Bruce Raymond. The work he had to do consist in surfing every day to film the Wipeouts that we see in the movie.
By his own words, Bruce said that his work consisted in “Eating shit!!”. But for 200$ a day to surf “Waves with the centrifuge program on” isn´t too bad of a business right?
The Big Wednesday is another of those movies that has become a myth. This is one of Hollywoods best fictions that gets what it is to be a surfer and what his lifestyle is about. Directed and co-written by John Milius, it was a failure in the blockbuster but turned into a cult success with its appeal towards friendship and the spirit of surf over all the setback life can throw towards them. Poetic, epic and full of moments that are part of the history of this sport. Without a doubt, a movie that is obligatory for movie fans.
Who wouldn´t love this movie? Three youngsters in the 60s whose lives revolve around parties, girls and importantly surf.
4. Point Break (1991)
We have Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey and Lori Petty as protagonists, Point Break is another one of those movies that impacted the new surf generation.
Keanu Reeves (Johnny Utah) plays the role of newbie FBI agent sent to Los Angeles to investigate a case of bank robberies. A band of surfers is suspected to be behind these robberies. Johnny tries to be accepted in the community of surfers to infiltrate and unmasks the robbers.
There has been a recent remake of the original. But in our humble opinion, it´s very far from the original.
A while ago we told you how an unconditional fan of the movie paid a cool 60 thousand euros for the surfboard that appears with “Bodhi” (Patrick Swayze) in the movie. A collectors piece, a Spyeder shaped by Dennis Jarvis.
5. Riding Giants (2004)
Riding Giants is a must if you are a surf enthusiast. Surf from their roots in Polynesia to its renaissance in the 20th century and its development up and down the coast of California in the 40s.
It’s a documentary filmed by Stacey Peralta where surfers like Greg Noll, Laird Hamilton, Jeff Clark and Mickey Muñoz. We also want to highlight the soundtrack where David Bowie participates.
6. In Gods Hands (1999)
In Gods Hands narrates a story of three surfers that travel to exotic places around the world. A tragic accident during their travels, but that won´t stops these friends from continuing the quest. From Madagascar to Mexico, from Bali to Hawaii. Directed by Zalman King and Shane Dorian as protagonist, this movie has some of the most spectacular surf images.
7. Drift (2013)
Drift tells the story of two brothers whose passion for surf unites them, and will be overcoming problems that appear so that they can realize their dreams. Set in the 70s, we have Sam Worthington, Xavier Samuel and Myles Polardde as protagonists.
8. Surf´s Up (2007)
Surf´s Up is an animated movie where Kelly Slater and Rob Machado give voice to protagonists. The story is centered on the career of the surfer Cody Maverick, an up and coming penguin surfer. Cody leaves his family and home in Shiverpool, Antartida, to travel to Pen Gu, with the objective of participating in the surf Championship in Memorial of Big Z.
It’s the first surf movie for kids. A film capable of maintaining the attention and interest of adults all the way to the end.
9. Proximity (2017)
Proximity is the name of one of the newest release. Starring big names in the surf panorama.
The movie counts with Craig Anderson, Albee Layer, Dave Rastovich, John “John” Florence, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Stephanie Gilmore protagonists and directed by Taylor Steele.
A film that explores the delicate relationship between nature and the place you’re surfing at. For that they show us different surf icons from each generation in each place all around the world. There’s nothing better than doing it with surfers like Florence, Slater or Machado.
10. Inaippu (2017)
Inaippu, an independent movie with surf as the back curtain. A movie that has the participation of Yago dora, Bruno Santos, Gabriel Medina, Jean da Silva, Peter Devries, Marco Gioirgi and Ricardo dos Santos, and more.
We leave you its trailer to open up your appetite. We were left wanting more.
11. Soul Surfer (2011)
Soul Surfer is based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton. Bethany doesn´t need an introduction, today one of the best surfers in the world. With hardly 13 years of age the Hawaiian surfer lost her left arm while surfing in her natal Hawaii after a shark attack. The movie is centered on the events surrounding the attack and the period overcoming after the attack.
12. Unstoppable (2017)
We continue with Bethany Hamilton. A while ago we talked about her new movie Unstoppable. Even though it was going to be called Surfs Like a Girl, the creator decided to adapt the name to better show what Bethany transmits. So the word that encompasses all that is Unstoppable.
Some of the film is shot through the pregnancy of her son Tobias, the movie tells her life. From infancy up till recently in this stage as a mother. It includes ups and downs in her career as a professional surfer.
13. Peninsula Mitre (2016)
PeninsulaMitre narrates an expedition without precedents. A voyage of 53 days, with 35 kgs strapped to their backs, in the most oriental point of the Tierra de Fuego province in Patagonia. Starred by the Gaucho del Mar brothers. They reach a forgotten land, a virgin place where nobody lives.
Their only objective is surfing a world class wave, never surfed by anyone else before. The hardness of the climate, the scarcity of food and swampy terrain are some of the obstacles they have to overcome.
14. Distance Between Dreams (2017)
Distance Between Dreams is a type of documentary that has one hour of good surfing and counts with the presence of the best surfers today. John “John” Florence, world champion and Ian Walsh, known as a big wave surfer.
15. View from a Blue Moon (2013)
Of course we couldn´t leave out one of our favorite surf movies. View from a Blue Moon, John “Johns” movie, filmed in complete 4K in some of the most spectacular places in the planet.
The movie follows the world champion and his friends from the North Coast of Oahu to the unexplored waters of Africa, passing through Australia, France, Brazil… A movie that we can watch a thousand times without getting bored, it has some of the best music we´ve ever heard.
16. Momentum Generation
It’s the nineties, the New School, the guys who took surfing to a level of radicalness never seen before. They are the reason why many of us turned the waves into our favorite playground. They are the pioneers of powered flight; the first to incorporate airs and reverses as functional maneuvers in their competitive repertoire. They are the punk rock of Taylor Steele’s movies and the paradigm shift at Pipeline, the electric riders who elevated surfing above the wave.
They are Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Taylor Knox, Ross Williams, Kalani Robb, Pat O’Connell, Benji Weatherley. They are the protagonists of “Momentum Generation” (2018), the film produced by Robert Redford for HBO and directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist. All of them speak openly in front of the camera and, for the first time, tell their story: the history and legend of a group of guys who changed surfing forever.
But “Momentum Generation” is much more than a surf documentary; it is a chorus of testimonies, images, and memories that, with waves and surfing as a backdrop, speaks about life and death, the price we are willing to pay to achieve our goals, and the wound that the leap into maturity leaves in the soul. An honest and sincere film that, in bursts and gusts, recalls that unforgettable ode to friendship that was always “Big Wednesday.”
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