9 Movies Where the Surf is the Star of the Show
Love them or hate them, here are Hollywood's best attempts at surf movies.
Once again MPORA has scoured through the reels so you don't have to find the highlights.
[part title="Point Break (1991)"]
No list would be complete without this stone cold classic. Looking back this is clearly the highlight of Reeve's acting career as his character, the implausibly named Johnny Utah, does battle with bank-robbing, wave hippy, Bodhi. The smouldering frisson between Reeves and Swayze is reminiscent of the latter's relationship with a lump of clay.
Best Line: 'AAAAAARRRRGGGHHHH' [Utah shoots gun into the air].
[part title="Blue Crush (2002)"]
One of the main films to try and capture the majesty of Hawaii's North Shore and not just an excuse to get Hollywood actresses in bikinis for 90 minutes. Kate Bosworth plays a former surfing prodigy on the comeback trail after nearly drowning after a wipeout.
She does all this while balancing a job as a maid in a fancy hotel and keeping her teenage sister on the right side of the tracks. When the Pipeline Contest comes around what do you think happens to our underdog? (She actually loses..)
Best Line: 'Don't worry, Penny. There's still plenty of time to get pregnant and go on welfare.'
[part title="Surf Ninjas (1993)"]
You'd think the the crossover section in the venn diagram between surfers and ninjas would be pretty small - and you'd be right, but that didn't the stop the making of this movie.
Two teen surfers from LA discover they're the princes of a far-flung East Asian kingdom and overthrow the evil dictator, Colonel Chi (played by Leslie Nielsen). It is unknown how much of a part surfing plays in this coup as I haven't watched the film. Answers on a postcard.
Best Line: 'I'll be there in a minute, I just gotta wax the old "Man to wave friction reducing vehicle'.. Surfboard!'
[part title="Big Wednesday (1978)"]
Pretty much every American film made in the 1970s was about Vietnam - even surf movies. This film tells the story of three surfers who progress from bunking off High School to surf to one dying in 'Nam.
The film was derided on its release and flopped massively but has now achieved cult status.
Best Line: 'Come on Jack, summers almost over, lets get radical!'
[part title="Soul Surfer (2011)"]
This film is the biopic of pro surfer Bethany Hamilton and tells the story of the night she lost her arm to shark attack, her recovery and her return to competitive surfing. Hamilton's story is an incredible one but is drowned out by the Hollywood cheese with pretty questionable special effects.
It also has that guy from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys playing Alana Blanchard's dad..
Best Line: 'I wouldn't change a thing, because then I wouldn't be here talking to you, I can embrace more people now then I could with two arms'
[part title="Chasing Mavericks (2012)"]
Another biopic here, Chasing Mavericks tells the story of Jay Moriarty. The story resembles a kind of surfing Karate Kid as Moriarty is mentored by Gerard Butler's surf guru, Frosty, who makes him master the 'foundation pillars of snowboarding' which include holding your breath and treading water.
Given the legendary status of Mavericks it was only a matter of time before Hollywood arrived and gave us this saccharine retelling of the life of an accomplished and respected surfer.
Best Line: 'Have you ever seen someone who can tread water like that?'
[part title="North Shore (1987)"]
Just because you're born in a desert doesn't mean you can't make it as a surfer in Hawaii as this film about Arziona boy done good, Rick Kane shows. It's based on the real life story of Barney Partyka - a surfer from Conneticut.
Kane stands out as a tourist upon arrival but slowly earns their respect as he learns the soul surfer way of life. The film climaxes with surf to the death against the film's villain, played by Laird Hamilton.
Best Line: 'Brookhart, you bastard!!'
[part title="Surfer, Dude (2008)"]
Matthew McConaughey hasn't always been a good actor in good films. This straight to DVD classic shows what Hollywood thinks surfers are actually like - stoner idiots with bleach blonde hair - or it's a clever satire on the commercialisation of surfing, I'm sceptical. Willie Nelson is better than this.
Best Line: 'There's something wrong with these fish braaaaah.'
[part title="Surf Nazis Must Die, 1987"]
We've showcased the good and the average and now we're onto the really bad. In this post-apocalyptic Californian wasteland neo-Nazis have taken control of the beaches, murdering all those who oppose them.
Surfing takes something of a backseat here, mainly being used as filler, interspersed through the threadbare exploitation plot. Esteemed movie critic, Roger Ebert, walked out after half an hour - congratulations if you get any further.
Best Line: 'Taste some of Mama's home cookin', Adolf!'