Entertainment

Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing  

Ranker Film
84 votes 22 voters 1.1k views 27 items

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.

list ordered by
1
Momentum is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Momentum Generation Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist
Momentum is a documentary film directed by Zeinabu Irene Davis.
2
The Endless Summer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Bruce Brown
The Endless Summer is a seminal 1966 surf movie. Filmmaker/narrator Bruce Brown follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a surfing trip around the world. Despite the balmy climate ...more
3
Riding Giants is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Stacy Peralta
Riding Giants is a 2004 documentary film directed and narrated by Stacy Peralta, a famous skater/surfer. The movie traces the origins of surfing and specifically focuses on the art of big wave ...more
4
Surfwise is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Doug Pray
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 ...more
5
Bustin' Down the Door is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Bustin' Down the Door Jeremy Gosch
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, ...more
6
The Endless Summer II is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Bruce Brown
The Endless Summer II is a 1994 film directed by Bruce Brown and is a sequel to his 1966 film The Endless Summer. In The Endless Summer II, surfers Pat O'Connell and Robert "Wingnut" ...more
7
Step into Liquid is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Dana Brown
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
8
Gaza Surf Club is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Gaza Surf Club
9
Highwater is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Highwater Dana Brown
Highwater is a 2008 documentary film centered on surfing's Triple Crown competitions, the professional surfing tour's final three competitions held each year on the North Shore of Oahu. The film ...more
10
Bra Boys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Bra Boys Macario De Souza, Sunny Abberton
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
11
White Rhino is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Brent Storm added White Rhino Brent Storm
12
Morning of the Earth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
David Elfick, Alby Falzon
Morning of the Earth is a 1971 classic surf film by Alby Falzon and David Elfick. The film's soundtrack was produced by G. Wayne Thomas and included music and songs by noted Australian music ...more
13
Under An Arctic Sky is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Under An Arctic Sky
14
Duplicate is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Brent Storm added Duplicate
15
Blue Horizon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Blue Horizon Jack McCoy
Blue Horizon is a 2004 documentary film directed by Jack Mccoy.
16
Keep Surfing is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Keep Surfing Björn Richie Lob
"This kinetic and fast-paced documentary will put you right on the Eisbach in the heart of Munich, where river-surfing was invented 35 years ago. Stunningly shot with cameras literally on ...more
17
One California Day is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Jason Baffa, Mark Jeremias
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
18
The Fantastic Plastic Machine is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Eric Blum, Lowell Blum
The Fantastic Plastic Machine is a 1969 documentary film following a group of California surfers as they journey to an Australian surfing competition. The film is narrated by Jay North. It was ...more
19
Surf Crazy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Surf Crazy Bruce Brown
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
20
Five Summer Stories is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Greg MacGillivray
Five Summer Stories is a 1972 surf film by Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivray, starring David Nuuhiwa, Eddie Aikau, Gerry Lopez, and Sam Hawk. Its VHS re-release was in 1994, followed by a DVD ...more
21
Waveriders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Joel Conroy
Waveriders is a 2008 documentary film. The film was produced by Margo Harkin and directed by Joel Conroy.
22
Crystal Voyager is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Crystal Voyager David Elfick
Crystal Voyager is a 1973 Australian surf film directed by David Elfick. It was filmed, written and narrated by surfer, photographer and filmmaker George Greenough who had previously made the ...more
23
Storm Riders is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
Storm Riders is a 1982 film by David Lourie, Jack McCoy and Dick Hoole, featuring some of the world's best surfers and the world's champion windsurfers. The film was produced by ...more
24
White Wash is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing
White Wash Ted Woods
White Wash is a documentary film directed by Ted Woods, and is a film exploring the complexity of race in America through the struggle and triumph of black surfers. The story is narrated by ...more
25
Storm Surfers 3D is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Catch A Wave With The Best Documentaries About Surfing