WATCH ONLINE: THE GREATEST SURF FILMS OF ALL TIME 🎬

Featured Photograph: John John Florence in View From A Blue Moon

Don’t worry, you won’t find Blue Crush or Point Break in this list. Just, in our team’s humble opinion, some of the best surfing, soundtracks and stories from all-time classics and worthy features of late. There aren’t any short films in this list (sub-30mins) and you’ll have to excuse the quality of some of the trailers below (cinefilm or VHS reproductions). Where possible, I’ve added the link to the respective online platforms to purchase a copy if necessary, which is likely to be of a better quality.

There are notable mentions to some classics that just aren’t available online from a reputable dealer, Free Ride (1977) being one of them, so if you think we’ve missed any then let us know in the comments below and post a link if possible. Make sure to bookmark this page and return when you’re in need of a dose of nostalgia or anticipating the next swell.

In chronological order of release…

Surfing Hollow Days (1961) 

Presented by: Monterey Media
Produced by: Bruce Brown
Directed by: Bruce Brown
Featuring: Phil Edwards, Bruce Brown, Dennis Curren, Mickey Dora, Kemp Aaberg.
Run time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Full Movie: Surfing Hollow Days (1961) »

The fourth movie Bruce Brown made travels to Mexico, California and Florida, along with a trip to Australia and Hawaii with Phil Edwards. Features a fifteen-foot shark checking the line-up at Rincon and the first wave ever ridden at Pipeline.

The Endless Summer (1966) 

Presented by: Monterey Media / Second Sight Films
Produced by: Bruce Brown, Robert Bagley
Directed by: Bruce Brown
Featuring: Bruce Brown, Robert August, Mike Hynson, Pat O’Connell, Lord James Blears, Wayne Miyata, Miki Dora, Butch Van Artsdalen, Terence Bullen, Chip Fitzwater.
Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Full Movie: The Endless Summer (1966) » £3.49 HD

The definitive surf movie follows two American surfers searching for ‘the perfect wave’. Stunningly photographed, their unique quest takes them around the world with little more than surfboards & wax as luggage. Bruce Brown’s iconic documentary captures the passion, thrill & joy of ‘living the dream’.

Evolution (1969)

Presented by: Witzig Films
Produced by: Paul Witzig
Directed by: Paul Witzig
Featuring: Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, Ted Spencer, Peter Drouyn, Keith Paul, Butch Cooney, Midget Farrelley, Ben Aipa, David Nuuhiwa, Reno Abellira, Fred Hemmings, and Joey Cabel.
Run time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Full Movie: Evolution (1969) »

This classic surf vintage film captured the time of change when the shortboard revolution replaced the longboard craze. Epic footage of a young Wayne Lynch and also starring Nat Young, Bob McTavish, and other Australian rippers of the time. Not much has been said about this film but it was hella influential to those wave riders in the early ’70s.

Morning of The Earth (1972) 

Presented by: Chilli
Produced by: David Elfick
Directed by: Albert Falzon
Featuring: Stephen Cooney, Terry Fitzgerald Terry Fitzgerald, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Gerry Lopez, Rusty Miller, Michael Petersen, David Treloar, Nat Young.
Run time: 1 hour 19 minutes
Full Movie: Morning of the Earth (1972) £7.99 HD »

This film transcends its genre. Shot on gorgeous 16mm film, this is a one-of-a-kind meditation on the beauty of the Earth through the lens of surfing. All the too familiar corruptive layers of late fall away and you’re invited into the mesmerizing spectacle of humans balanced on the edge of powerful oceanic forces in between living simply in the woods and building their own surfboards. The soulful original soundtrack is the icing on the cake and reinforces the notion of surfing as no mere sport, but rather an art, a dance, and an attitude towards life.

Coming soon: full remastered 4K release, visit morningoftheearth.com »

MOMENTUM (1992)

Presented by: Poor Specimen
Produced by: Taylor Steele
Directed by: Taylor Steele
Featuring: Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Ross Williams, Benji Weatherly and Kalani Robb.
Run time: 40 minutes
Full Movie: Momentum (1992) »

Game-changing, punk-rock madness.

Step Into Liquid (2003)

Presented by: Lionsgate
Produced by: John Paul Beeghly, Bruce Brown, Ray Willenberg Jr.
Directed by: Dana Brown
Featuring: Robert August, Ken Collins, Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Bruce Brown.
Run time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Full Movie: Step Into Liquid (2003) » £6.99 HD

This documentary directed by Dana Brown smashes any preconceptions that the surfing community mostly comprises buff blondes and hardbodies. Zigzagging from the waters off Ireland to Da Nang in Vietnam and Oahu’s ripping North Shore, Step Into Liquid profiles the diverse and fascinating characters who have devoted their lives to catching the perfect wave.

Riding Giants (2004)  

Presented by: Sony Pictures / Studio Canal
Produced by: Stacy Peralta
Directed by: Stacy Peralta
Featuring: Greg Noll, Laird Hamilton, Jeff Clark, Darrick Doerner, Dave Kalama, Kelly Slater, Mickey Munoz, Titus Kinimaka, Buzzy Kerbox, Brian Keaulana, Peter Mel, Gerry Lopez, Gabrielle Reece, Darryl Virostko, Grant Washburn, Anthony Tashnick, Mike Waltze.
Run time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Full Movie: Riding Giants (2004) » £3.49 HD

Stacy Peralta tells the story of big wave surfing by showing us how the sport has evolved over time and how it continues to grow and change. He tells his tale through interviews with top surfers from over the years and stunningly beautiful archival film clips of their best rides. Instead of concentrating on how the sport has become commercialized, this film celebrates the simple joy of surfing and the rush that comes with riding giant waves.

The film’s depiction of the North Shore surfing life in the 1950s is every kid’s dream: a small band of young friends living in beach shacks, catching their own food, and surfing all day without being tied down with any responsibilities. These young men eschewed the 1950s dream of finding the perfect job and settling down and instead focused on catching the next big wave.

Sprout (2004)

Presented by: Duke Video
Produced by: Thomas Campbell
Directed by: Thomas Campbell
Featuring: Joel Tudor, Dan Malloy, Kassia Meador, Skip Frye, Devon Howard, Jimmy Gamboa, Ozzy Wright, Gerry Lopez, Tom Wegner, Kelly Slater, Dane Peterson, Belinda Baggs, Alex Knost, Rob Machado, Belen, CJ Nelson, Maureen Drummy, Dave Rastovich, Dane Perlee, Monica Rose, Tracey Marshall, Mike Stewart, Mark Cunningham, and Tyler Hatzikian.
Run time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Full Movie: Sprout (2004) »

An exploration into the riding of water mountains and molehills. The Modus Operandi of the Sprout is to show the surfing culture how truly lucky we are to live in the lush life of the ocean experience and emphasize all the diverse possibilities we have in accessing this fountain of youth. Riding eggs, fishes, traditional style longboards and the modern shorty. Every wave is a new possibility.

Shot entirely on 16mm film, but don’t let that put you off watching, as it’s on-location in some of the most beautiful breaks in the world: Sri Lanka, Morocco, Costa Rica, Indonesia, California, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Mexico.

One California Day (2007)

Presented by: Build Worldwide
Produced by: Jason Baffas
Directed by: Mark Jeremias
Featuring: Lance Carson, Joe Curren, Jimmy Gamboa, Tyler Hatzikian, Devon Howard, Alex Knost, Chris, Dan and Keith Malloy, Dane Perlee, Joel Tudor, Tyler Warren.
Run time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Full Movie: One California Day (2007) » £6.99 HD

From the filmmakers who brought you Singlefin: yellow, DRIVE and Stylemasters, comes a story about surf culture and tradition. One California Day is a visual journey through six distinct coastal regions, capturing the California surfing experience through the surfers who live it. Shot in brilliant super 16mm colour film, the movie examines the variety of subtle differences that make California so unique.

Modern Collective (2009)

Presented by: Poor Specimen
Produced by: Taylor Steele
Directed by: Kai Neville
Featuring: Dane Reynolds, Dion Agius, Yadin Nicol, Mitch Coleborn, Dusty Payne and Jordy Smith.
Run time: 1 hour
Full Movie: Modern Collective (2009) »

A collective of six surfers set out on a voyage to their perception of modern day surfing. Forget pre-dawn charging. Forget golden lighting. Forget glassy waters. They ignore perfect pointbreaks in favour of chunky onshore wedges. This is about high performance, state of the art, modern as hell, onshore keepers. Follow these vogue individuals and obtain a candid look at what a session is actually like with the world’s best.

Innersection (2011)

Presented by: Poor Specimen
Produced by: Taylor Steele
Directed by: Taylor Steele
Featuring: Matt Meola, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr, Nat Young, Gabe Villaran, Dylan Graves, Ozzy Wrong, Cory Lopez, Pete Devries, Mikala Jones, Alex Gray, Marco Giorgi, Marlon Gerber, Pat Guduaskas, Brent Dorrington, Flynn Novak, John John Florence, Mike Losness, Luke Cederman, Clay Marzo, Kelly Slater.
Run time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Full Movie: Innersection (2011) »

An amalgamation of some of the most talented surfers in the world, and their respective filmmakers, 25 of them in fact, stitched together by legendary filmmaker Taylor Steele in what’s proven to be a bountiful mash of stylistic surfing from all four corners of the world: New Zealand, Hawaii, Brazil, Peru, Australia and the USA.

Splinters (2011)

Presented by: Snag Films
Produced by: Paul Morgan
Directed by: Adam Pesce
Featuring: n/a
Run time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Full Movie: Splinters (2011) »

The first feature length documentary film about the evolution of indigenous surfing in the developing nation of Papua New Guinea. In the 1980s an Australian pilot left behind a surfboard in the seaside village of Vanimo. Twenty years on, surfing is not only a pillar of village life but a means to prestige. With no access to economic or educational advancement, let alone running water and power, village life is hermetic.

A spot on the Papua New Guinea national surfing team is the way to see the wider world; the only way. Filmed in cinema verité style, the film profiles several villagers in their quest to become professional surfers. Set at the crossroads of civilization in a land where cannibalism proceeded into the 20th century, the story is a tale of budding sportsmen chasing their dreams as it is the Old World fusing with the Modern World.

The Endless Winter (2012)

Presented by: Level Films
Produced by: Matt Crocker, James Dean
Directed by: Matt Crocker, James Dean
Featuring: Mitch Corbett, Mark ‘Egor’ Harris, Alan Stokes, Gabe Davies, Russ Winters, Nate Phillips, Nigel Semmens, Steve Daniels, Carwyn Williams, Roger Mansfield, Pete ‘PJ’ Jones, Malcolm Findlay, Charles Williams.
Run time: 1 hour 33 minutes
Full Movie: The Endless Winter (2012) » £3.99 HD

The Endless Winter follows two enthusiastic young Newquay (Cornwall, UK) surfers, Mark ‘Egor’ Harris and Mitch Corbett, around the British coast, exploring the waves and their transformations from place to place and in the changing seasons. The film demonstrates surfers’ great appreciation for British waves and the colder months (and thicker wetsuits).

The surf duo begin in Cornwall, surfing Newquay, Sennon and Porthleven, with some entertaining history lessons thrown in and some chat with the locals, then make their way up to Thurso, Scotland, zig-zagging from southeast to midwest to Wales, to north east, to the tip top, whilst really getting into the spirit and digging up the past glory of Brit surfing.

View From A Blue Moon (2015)

Presented by: Brain Farm
Produced by: Bill Ballard
Directed by: John John Florence, Blake Kueny
Featuring: Greyson Fletcher, Alex Florence, Ivan Florence, John John Florence, Nathan Florence, Bruce Irons, Kiron Jabour, Albee Layer, Matt Meola, Jamie O’Brien, Eli Olson, John C. Reilly, Jack Robinson, Koa Rothman, Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Koa Smith, Frank Solomon, Filipe Toledo.
Run time: 58 minutes
Full Movie: View From A Blue Moon (2015) » £7.99 HD

The first feature-length surf film shot in 4K, View From A Blue Moon follows the world’s most dynamic surfer John Florence and his closest friends from his home on the North Shore of Oahu to his favourite surfing destinations around the globe.

From the dreamy blue perfection of the South Pacific to the darkest uncharted waters of Africa (and everywhere in between), Florence faces a broad spectrum of emotions as he continues to seal his legacy as one of the most gifted surfers ever. And while the young Hawaiian is pulled in increasingly different directions, there is no form of pressure that will keep him from his ultimate goal – to redefine what is possible in the ocean.

Nervous Laughter (2017)

Presented by: The Orchard Entertainment
Produced by: Albee Layer
Directed by: Dan Norkunas
Featuring: Albee Layer, Kai Lenny, Billy Kemper, Dege O’Connell and Torrey Meister.
Run time: 1 hour 23 minutes
Full Movie: Nervous Laughter (2017) » £3.49 HD

An eclectic group of childhood friends that followed each other into the Jaws lineup as teenagers, and through peer pressure and rivalries, pushed each other to unprecedented performances in the ensuing years. Then came the El Niño of 2016, which promised to serve up the largest swells in big-wave history. Follow the crew for an inside look at a season rife with nerves, injury, triumph and friendship.

Under An Arctic Sky (2017)

Presented by: The Orchard Entertainment
Produced by: Elliott Perrigo
Directed by: Chris Burkard
Featuring: Chris Burkard, Sam Hammer, Heidar Logi, Elli Thor Magnusson, Ingo Olsen, Timmy Reyes, Justin Quintal, Steve Hawk, Sigurdur Jonsson, Mark “Doc” Renneker.
Run time: 40 minutes
Full Movie: Under An Arctic Sky (2017) » £4.49 HD

An instant classic by esteemed photographer turned filmmaker, Chris Burkard. His chosen crew of surfers travel to a remote corner of Iceland in the middle of the winter to find perfect waves. A few days in, the worst storm in decades comes through, turning their trip into a life-threatening situation that leads to an unexpected, spectacularly beautiful finish.

Andy Irons: Kissed by God (2018)

Presented by: Teton Gravity Research
Produced by: Todd Jones, Enich Harris
Directed by: Steve Jones, Todd Jones
Featuring: Bruce Irons, Lyndie Irons, Joel Parkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, and Kelly Slater.
Run time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Full Movie: Andy Irons: Kissed by God (2018) » £4.49 HD

Andy Irons: Kissed by God is a film about bipolar disorder and opioid addiction as seen through the life of three-time world champion surfer Andy Irons. Andy struggled with the same demons that millions of people worldwide battle with daily.

Andy was an incredible presence on the world stage as the “People’s Champion”, the pride of Hawaii and revered around the world for his rise to fame and success. However, many were unaware of his internal battles that led to his demise. As the opioid crisis rises to a national emergency in the United States, the untold story of Andy’s life serves to tear down the myths associated with these two ferocious diseases.

That wraps up the greatest surf films of all time.

Any favourites from the list? Or do you have any alternatives? Let us know in the comments.

A former mental health professional, now focusing on behavioural psychology in the workplace, Charlie believes all problems can be solved when they start with honesty. Failed his first attempt of circumnavigating Mont Blanc on a mountain bike. Next attempt, Autumn 2020!

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