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The Best Surf Movies 

All Genre Movies Lists
Originally by
Updated February 21, 2020 5.6k votes 1.3k voters 167.6k views 51 items

List Rules Films about surfers or surfing. Fiction and documentary films are both acceptable.

A list of the best surf movies, including documentaries about surfing, narrative surf films, and beach party movies. Beach Party films, popular in the 60s, are entirely fictional and geared more towards a general audience. Whether one long-boards or short-boards, there's a surf movie for everyone. The films on this list aren't for kooks (well-- most of them aren't). Enjoy!

Use this surfing movies list to remember your favorites or learn about new titles in the genre that you may have never heard of. If you are an expert in surf movies, by all means add new ones to this list too!

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All Genre Movies Lists added Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze

Released: 1991

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more

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All Genre Movies Lists added Bruce Brown, Miki Dora, Robert August

Released: 1966

Directed by: 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

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Released: 2011

Directed by: Sean McNamara

Soul Surfer is a 2011 American biopic drama film directed by Sean McNamara. It is a film adaptation of the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back ...more

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Released: 2012

Directed by: Michael Apted, Curtis Hanson

Of Men and Mavericks is a 2012 Sport Drama film written by Brandon Hooper and Kario Salem and directed by Curtis Hanson.
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All Genre Movies Lists added Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis

Released: 2002

Directed by: John Stockwell

Blue Crush is a 2002 surfer film directed by John Stockwell and based on the Outside magazine article "Life's Swell" by Susan Orlean. Starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Sanoe ...more

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Released: 2005

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Lords of Dogtown is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Stacy Peralta. The film is based on the "Z-Boys", a revolutionary group of ...more

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All Genre Movies Lists added Nia Peeples, Gregory Harrison, John Paragon

Released: 1987

Directed by: W. W. Phelps

North Shore is a 1987 film about Rick Kane, a young fictional surfer from a wave tank in Arizona, who heads to surf the season on the North Shore of Oʻahu and see if he has the skills to cut it ...more

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Released: 1978

Directed by: John Milius

Big Wednesday is a 1978 American coming of age film directed by John Milius. Co-written by Milius and Dennis Aaberg, it is loosely based on their own experiences at Malibu and a short story ...more

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Released: 2004

Directed by: 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

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Released: 2003

Directed by: 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
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Released: 1994

Directed by: 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

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Released: 2007

Directed by: Chris Buck, Ash Brannon

Surf's Up is a 2007 American computer-animated mockumentary family comedy film directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck. It features the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, ...more
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Released: 2002

Directed by: Jack Johnson

Filmed in 16 mm, The September Sessions: The Tomorrowland Story Brought To Life In Brilliant 16mm Film is a 2002 documentary surf film directed by singer/songwriter Jack Johnson. Often called ...more
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Released: 1965

Directed by: William Asher

Genre: Beach Party Movies Beach Blanket Bingo is an American International Pictures beach party film, released in 1965 and was directed by William Asher. It is the fifth film in the beach party film series. The film ...more
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All Genre Movies Lists added Yvonne Craig, Sandra Dee, Cliff Robertson

Released: 1959

Directed by: Paul Wendkos

Gidget is a 1959 Columbia Pictures CinemaScope feature film. It stars Sandra Dee, Cliff Robertson, and James Darren in a story about a teenager's initiation into the California surf culture and ...more
16
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Released: 1998

Directed by: Zalman King

In God's Hands is a film by Zalman King released through Sheen Michaels Entertainment a production company created by actor Charlie Sheen and Bret Michaels. The basic story is of three young ...more
17
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All Genre Movies Lists added Barbara Eden, Shelley Fabares, Tab Hunter

Released: 1964

Directed by: Don Taylor, William Castle

Genre: Beach Party Movies Ride the Wild Surf is a romantic drama in the beach party style. It was filmed in 1963 and distributed in 1964. Unlike most films in the genre, it is known for its exceptional big wave surf ...more
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Released: 1963

Directed by: William Asher

Genre: Beach Party Movies Beach Party was the first of several beach party films from American International Pictures aimed at a teen audience. This film is often credited with creating the beach party film genre.
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Released: 2000

Directed by: Jack Johnson, Chris Malloy, Jack Johnson

Thicker Than Water is a 2000 documentary surf film directed by singer/songwriter Jack Johnson and his film school friend Chris Malloy. It shows surfing footage from different locations like ...more
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Released: 2013

Directed by: Morgan O'Neill, Ben Nott

Drift is a 2013 Australian film about the birth of the surf industry in the 1970s. It was shot in Western Australia and co-directed by Morgan O'Neill and Ben Nott and starring Sam Worthington, ...more
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Released: 2011

Directed by: Mike Elliott

Blue Crush 2 is a 2011 direct-to-video film directed by Mike Elliott. Contrary to the title, it is not a plot continuation of the 2002 film Blue Crush. The film stars Sasha Jackson, Elizabeth ...more

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Released: 2008

Directed by: Jason Baffa, Mark Jeremias

Genre: Documentary 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
23
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Released: 1964

Directed by: Maury Dexter

Genre: Beach Party Movies Surf Party is a 1964 beach party film directed by Maury Dexter. It is notable for the musical acts showcased onscreen, as well as for being the first direct imitation of AIP’s hit Beach Party, ...more
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Released: 1972

Directed by: Greg MacGillivray

Genre: Documentary 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
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