The Best Surfing Documentaries Of All Time
Big wave, small wave, and all sizes in between.
The Endless Summer
This the classic surf film that started it all.
This classic surf documentary features two young surfers as they chase waves around the world. They explore the uncharted waters of West Africa and find their way to Australia and eventually land in Tahiti. It is a spell binding documentary that draws the attention of surfers and non-surfers alike.
It was written and directed by Bruce Brown. It stars Robert August and Michael Hynson as the principal surfers. Other characters include Lord James Blears, Terrence Bullen, Lance Carson, and Roy Crump.
It has an IMDb rating of 7.7 and a staggering 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer.
The Endless Summer 2
It’s a sequel and worth the watch, but it ain’t the original. Maybe we are just too attached to the first one. You decided.
This surf documentary was directed by Bruce Brown and it features two expert Californian surfers Patrick O'Connell (short board surfer) and Robert "Wingnut" Weaver (long board surfer).
The two travel across the beautiful waters of the world from Costa Rica to Fiji and Alaska in search of the next perfect wave. Included in this documentary is a freebie of twenty minutes of acrobatic surfing. The whole documentary lasts for 107 minutes.
It was written by Bruce and Dana Brown and directed by Bruce Brown. The limited edition was released in 1994 while the public version was released in 2003.
It has a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and a 7.5/10 rating on IMDb.
Step Into Liquid
This is a surf documentary featuring surfers from all walks of life. Some consider surfing a hobby, others take it as a job or lifestyle while some consider it a religious pursuit.
This documentary was written and directed by Dana Brown. It was released in theatres in 2003 and became available for streaming in 2004. It runs for 87 minutes.
The cast features Dana Brown, Dan Malloy, Chris Malloy, and Kelly Slater.
It has a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating of 81% and an IMDb rating of 7.5/10.
Bustin' Down The Door
This is a surf documentary that narrates the tale of ambitious young men who helped to shape surfing into a recognizable (professional) sport in the winter of 1975. It was directed by Jeremy Gosch and written by him and other film writers. It was first released in theatres in 2008 and became available for streaming in 2009. It runs for 95 minutes. Another classic worth your watch.
The cast features Edward Norton, Ian Cairns, Wayne Bartholomew, Shaun Tomson, and Michael Tomson.
It has a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating of 79% and an IMDb rating of 7.1/ 10.
This surf documentary takes a historical look at the origins of surfing and the surf culture. This begins at the beautiful beaches of Hawaii and travels across the globe.
It examines the thrill of riding giant waves and the pleasure derived from the kinetic energy. It is PG rated for use of strong language and for waves that are big enough to kill you 10 times over.
It was written by Stacy Peralta and Sam George and directed by them as well. It was released in theatres in 2004 and became available for streaming in 2005.
It runs for 105 minutes.
The cast features Greg Noll, Jeff Clark, Peter Mel, Laird “Let me show you a thing or two about surfing big waves” Hamilton, Gerry Lopez, Mickey Munoz, and Darrick Doerner.
It has a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating of 93% and an IMDb rating of 7.9/ 10.
That wraps up our review of the best surfing documentaries of all time. Get to watchin’.