Whether you’re a surfing super fan or a total barney (that’s ‘surf slang’ for novice), surf movies always leave viewers in awe. Some people are drawn the mellow beach-lifestyle and thrill-seekers will enjoy the rush of the crashing waves. Regardless of what interests you, we’ve collaborated with surf experts Ann’s cottage, to bring six of the most iconic surf movies that are definitely worth seeing!
The Endless Summer (1966)
Perhaps a bold claim, but The Endless Summer is often noted as the best surf movie of all time. The film doesn’t rely on camera trickery, special effects, or even an overly dramatized story line – it’s simply all about the surf! The movie wholeheartedly embraces surf culture, without any cheap thrills. It is a story of passion and friendship, with the limited cinematography adding to its unique charm and appeal.
Five Summer Stories (1972)
Another contender for the title of “the finest surf movie ever made”, Five Summer Stories takes a documentary-style look in to the culture behind surf during the threat of the Vietnam War. With a distinctive 70s style, this movie is all about the detail, with its long surf scenes capturing the intricacy of every movement, without an overwhelming approach to filming.
Big Wednesday (1978)
A classic American coming-of-age film that’s split between two themes: the spiritual meaning of surfing for pleasure and the emotional impact of life changing for the worse. Big Wednesday has an emotional draw, that can be lacking in surf films, with the hard-hitting themes of lost innocence and masculinity in crisis.
Point Break (1991)
Point Break parallels chilled surf culture with a thrilling crime focused story line. Hollywood veterans Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, took to the waves, learning how to surf in real life, to nail the role. But, the more difficult stunt work was actually performed by professional surfers, who acted as gang members of the “Ex-Presidents”. It was these awe-inspiring surf scenes that resulted in such a positive critical response, despite the hard-hitting narrative.
Blue Crush (2002)
No iconic movies list would be complete without a good old rom-com! Blue Crush answers the demand for a female-centric surf movie, featuring impressive surf scenes, whilst adhering to a familiar narrative. Perhaps more appealing to younger viewers, with the ‘cutesy’ romance theme, Blue Crush still makes the list, thanks to the focus on female surf culture.
Soul Surfer (2011)
It’s hard to believe that Soul surfer is actually based on a true story! The film documents the struggles of a young surf champions return to the waves, following a traumatic shark attack. The storyline itself is an inspirational feat of courage and passion, which at times is jaded by Hollywood cheese. Nevertheless, the movie has a great message and the leading actress plays a strong-willed character – something that is admired in both contemporary film and surf culture.