Hang Ten, Dude: 10 Memorable Surfing Films

8:00 AM 5/28/2018

by Deirdre Durkan

Get ready for summer by watching adrenaline-charged surf scenes, scene-stealing sharks and beach parties.

'Blue Crush'
'Blue Crush'
Photofest

As summer has become synonymous with surfing, Hollywood filmmakers have spent decades turning beach-filled daydreams into iconic films. These summer-tinged flicks home in on everything from the philosophical lessons the sport offers to real-life stories of surfing pros like Bethany Hamilton.

Find a list of Hollywood's most memorable surfing-themed films below.

  • 'Big Wednesday'

    The coming-of-age drama starring Gary Busey, William Katt and Jan-Michael Vincent centered around three young men whose passion for surfing kept them connected through war, death and other chapters of their lives. The film was based on the real-life experiences of director John Milius and writer Dennis Aaberg.

  • 'Blue Crush'

    Kate Bosworth starred in Blue Crush as Anne Marie, a hard-core surfer girl living on her own with her younger sister who braves the Banzai Pipeline of Hawaii to achieve her dream of becoming a sponsored surf star. The iconic movie that launched Bosworth’s career became an instant cult classic in the early 2000s.

  • 'Chasing Mavericks'

    The film stars Jonny Weston as a young man aiming to surf one of the biggest waves, which is just miles from his home in California. He turns to a surfing pro (Gerard Butler) to teach him how to survive the treacherous waters.

  • 'Endless Summer'

    This 1966 documentary is considered by many to be the most influential and iconic surf film of all time. Filmmaker-narrator Bruce Brown follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a surfing trip around the world. The film helped document the nationwide interest in the sport and also offered the first serious cinematic look at surfing.

  • 'North Shore'

    Featuring no shortage of surfing action and some of the most dangerous waves on Earth, North Shore is an adrenaline-powered look into the high-performance sport of big wave surfing. The film follows Rick Kane (Matt Adlerm), a teenage surf champion from Arizona who dreams of conquering the legendary waves off Oahu’s North Shore. He quickly encounters the harsh reality of life in Hawaii, but with the support of a local girl (Nia Peeples), he conquers his adversary and gains respect.

  • 'Rip Tide'

    After an embarrassing viral video damages her career, an American model (Debby Ryan) heads to Australia to live with her former pro surfer aunt, who hasn’t been back in the water since the death of her husband.

  • 'The Shallows'

    The surfer-against-shark premise might be considered a warning not to surf in the ocean alone on an isolated island. In the film, Blake Lively plays a surfer gets stranded from shore and has to survive a great white shark attack.

  • 'Soul Surfer'

    In 2003, real-life and on-the-rise surf champ Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) survived a tragic shark bite injury, resulting in the loss of her left arm. Despite losing her arm and 60 percent of her blood during the attack, she remained undeterred from the water, getting back on her board once her stitches healed.

  • 'Step Into Liquid'

    In a documentary shot in waters all over the globe, director Dana Brown takes on tall waves and surfers who live to challenge them. Interviews include devoted surfers like Rabbit Kekai, who explained that “once the surfing bug bites you, you can never leave.” Brown, the son of surfing great and documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown (of The Endless Summer fame), travels from Vietnam to Hawaii with various surfers who have different views of surfing as both a hobby and way of life.

  • 'Surf's Up'

    This family flick features the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges and Zooey Deschanel. The heart-warming documentary-style story focuses on a young penguin named Cody, who dreams becoming a surfing legend.