The greatest surfing documentaries can be enjoyed by people who avoid water just as much as those who can't wait to catch their next wave. That's because they're about more than surfing. The top examples are psychological portraits of surfers and the mindset that makes them become obsessed with the sport despite its inherent risks. You can get absorbed in a good surfing documentary on that level alone. Throw in some amazing cinematography and you're completely hooked on these surf documentary movies. From Australia to California, these surfing documentaries are filmed all over the world.
Some the best documentaries about surfing include Endless Summer, Riding Giants, and Momentum Generation. You also find some Jack McCoy and Bruce Brown films on this list as well. Use the list below to see if your favorites have made it near the top of the list or use it to find the next surf doc you're going to watch.
Vote up the best surfing docs below. If you have a favorite that's not included, add it to the list of surf documentaries and then check back to see how other users are ranking it, then be sure to check out the best surf movies.
- Momentum Generation is a 2018 American surfing documentary film directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist. A group of teenagers in Hawaii, including Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian and Kalani Robb, enter the ...more
- Documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown, himself a competition-level surfer, follows surfers Michael Hynson and Robert August on an around-the-world surfing adventure. With Brown's wry, sardonic narration ...more
- Step into Liquid is a documentary about surfing directed by Dana Brown, son of famed surfer and filmmaker Bruce Brown. The film includes surfing footage from the famous Pipeline, the beaches of ...more
- Part sports history, part thrill ride, skateboarder Stacy Peralta's documentary pays homage to the brave, foolish surfers who dare ride the world's biggest waves. Peralta lays out the evolution of ...more
- White Rhino is a 2019 American sports documentary film directed by Brent Storm. A professional surf photographer chases down the largest surf ever seen in hopes of capturing a once in a lifetime ...more
- One California Day is a 2007 documentary film about surfing shot in six coastal regions in California. Directed by Mark Jeremias and Jason Baffa, the film looks at the experience of California ...more
- In this sequel to the seminal surfing movie, documentarian Bruce Brown again explores choice international surf destinations, this time visiting locations such as Alaska, Indonesia, Fiji, France and ...more
- Bustin' Down The Door is a 2008 documentary film chronicling the rise of professional surfing in the early 1970s. The film follows a group of young surfers from Australia and South Africa, including ...more
- Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe makes his feature directorial debut with this surf drama that follows rough-and-tumble wave riders Sunny, Koby, and Jai Abberton as they spark an underground ...more
- Surfwise is a 2007 American documentary film about the 11-member Doc Paskowitz family, which was directed by Doug Pray. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on 11 September 2007 and had ...more
- Under an Arctic Sky is a 2017 American sports documentary film directed by Chris Burkard. Six surfers set sail along the frozen shores of Iceland as the worst storm in twenty-five years is about to ...more
- Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton is a 2017 American sports documentary film directed by Rory Kennedy. An American icon who changed the sport of big wave surfing forever, transcending the ...more
- Gaza Surf Club is a 2016 German sports documentary film directed by Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine. In a country locked between Egypt and Israel, Gaza's youth are drawn to their beaches seeking ...more
- Surf Crazy was the second surf movie by Bruce Brown. Filmed in 1959, it follows surfers to Mexico, Hawaii and California. Among the locations filmed was Velzyland in Hawaii, named for Brown's ...more
- Liquid Time is a 2002 avant-garde surf film that focuses solely on the fluid forms of tubing waves. Brothers Monty Webber and Greg Webber revived a childhood passion for perfectly formed tiny waves ...more
- Surfing In California in the early '60's.
- Out of Place is a surfing documentary directed by Scott Ditzenberger and Darrin McDonald that follows the lives of several lake surfers in Cleveland, Ohio. While Lake Erie does not offer the quality ...more
- Uncharted Waters is a 2013 biographical sport document written and directed by Craig Griffin .
- Resurface is a 2017 documentary film directed by Joshua Izenberg and Wynn Padula. After years of nightmares, depression, and seizures, Iraq war veteran Bobby Lane meets big wave surfer Van Curaza, ...more
- Bunker77 is a 2016 American biographical documentary film directed by Takuji Masuda. A chronicle of the wild and brief life of the 1970s' most controversial surf star and international playboy from ...more
- Scratching the Surface is a 2010 American surfing documentary film directed by Matt Beauchesne. The adventures of budding surf star Julian Wilson, along with friends and fellow professionals Dane ...more
- Modern Collective is a 2009 American sports documentary film directed by Kai Neville. A collective of six surfers set out on a voyage to alter one's perception of modern day surfing.
- View from a Blue Moon is a 2015 American sports documentary film directed by Blake Kueny. The world's most dynamic surfer John Florence and his closest friends travel from his home on the North Shore ...more
- Andy Irons: Kiss by God is a 2018 American sports documentary directed by Steve and Todd Jones. Bipolar disorder and addiction as seen through the life of three-time world champion surfer Andy Irons ...more
- Written by Roy Clarke, the creator of the popular seventies and eighties BBC sitcom `Open All Hours', `Still Open All Hours' is a return to the grocer's shop in Balby, Doncaster. Following the ...more