I was searching through Netflix and I wanted to see if there were any surfing movies on Netflix. Typing in surfing movies in the search menu brought up 11 movies that Nexflix determined are surf movies. The following titles were displayed:
- Storm Surfers
- Bella Vita
- The Endless Summer
- Hawaiian The Legend of Eddie Aikau
- 180° South
- Stephanie in the Water
- Volcom: True to This
What is considered a surf movie? Is it a movie about surfing or is it a movie that features surfing. Does a surfing movie have to be a documentary or is a fictional story about surfing also count? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines movie as: “a recording of moving images that tells a story and that people watch on a screen or television.”
With the Merriam-Webster’s definition of movie in mind, it is my opinion that a surfing movie can be either a documentary or a fictional story. Let’s go through the surfing movies on Netflix and I’ll provide you the information as to whether it is a movie, documentary or fictional, about surfing or if just contains surfing footage.
Storm Surfers is a documentary surf movie that details two surfers, legendary big wave surfer Ross Clarke-Jones and two-time World Surfing Champion Tom Carroll, journey as they attempt to catch the biggest waves in Australia. If you are interested in watching big waves ridden and the preparation necessary to catch these giants, this will definitely be a film you’ll want to check out.
Isolated is a documentary surf movie that details five surfers, Travis Potter, Jenny Useldinger, Spencer Frame, Josh Fuller, Jimmy Rotherham and Andrew Mooney, as they attempt to find and surf new surf spots in West Papua, New Guinea. These surfers refers to themselves as feral surfers, surfers that are looking for surfing spots that have yet to be discovered.
The surfers decide to go to West Papua, New Guinea even though it is currently undergoing political unrest and they have been warned that going there could be dangerous. If you are interested in seeing unexplored surfing spots plus learning about different cultures and places, you may wish to check this film out.
Drift is a 2013 Australian film, based on actual events that occurred in Australia’s surfing history but is a fictional story about brothers Jimmy and Andy Kelly. There are some great surfing footage in this fictional movie and I found the movie interesting. This movie isn’t Oscar worthy but watching it, in my opinion, won’t be a waste of your time either.
Bella Vita is a documentary surf movie which centers arounds surfer Christopher Del Moro, as he travels to his Italian homeland. This documentary seems to contain more footage about places and things in Italy then actual surfing, which isn’t a bad thing.
If you’re looking for a movie that has a lot of footage of high performance surfing, then this is not the film for you, but if want to learn a little about Italy and also watch some surfing, then give it a go.
The Endless Summer
The Endless Summer is a surfing documentary of 1960s. This documentary has a lot of surf footage from surfing spots all around the world. Don’t expect to see any aerial maneuvers, this documentary was shot when longboards with single fins were the only available surfboards.
If you want to see some old school surfing and surfing when surfboard leashes were not the norm (you definitely needed to be a good swimmer back then), then this is the film for you.
Hawaiian The Legend of Eddie Aikau
Hawaiian The Legend of Eddie Aikau is one of those well done 30 for 30 ESPN films. It details the life and times of legendary big wave surfer and North shore lifeguard Eddie Aikau. The big wave surf contest held at Waimea Bay is named after Eddie Aikau and the phrase “Eddie would go” is based on this legend’s sacrifice.
If you wish to know what was so special about Eddie Aikau, that they named a big wave surfing contest after him and also coined a phrase in his name, then you need to see this documentary.
180° South is not a surf documentary but features surfing footage of the featured character, Jeff Johnson, as well as some other surfers. This documentary is about how Jeff Johnson was influenced by 1968 video of Doug Tompkins (Founder of the North Face) and Yvon Chouinard (Founder of Patagonia Clothing) and their trip to Patagonia.
Mr. Johnson wants to repeat, in his own way, Tompkins’ and Chouinard’s trip and this documentary details what he experiences along the way. I found this to be an interesting documentary, with a well told story.
Stephanie in the Water
Stephanie in the water is about six-time World Surfing Champion Stephanie Gilmore and is definitely a surfing documentary. At the time this movie was made, Stephanie Gilmore had 5 World Surfing Championships to her name.
It details her rise to championship form, as well as the time she was attacked and injured outside her apartment by a maniac, and needed to take time off from the tour to deal with her injuries. For any fan of Ms. Gilmore, as I am, this is a must see.
Ride is not a surfing movie but contains surfing footage, this is more a fictional movie about the relationship between a single mother and her son. The son and mother can both be irritating, and for me, it was the son who was the most annoying.
They had this ridiculous line in the move which was exclaimed by the so-called surfing expert: “The most dangerous part of surfing is entering and exiting the water.” What?! This is not a horrible movie but it is definitely not a surfing movie.
Volcom: True to This
Volcom: True to This is not strictly a surfing documentary, but contains exciting scenes of skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing and is over 30 minutes of high octane action. If you want to see exciting moves on the land, snow and water then this film is for you.
Surfwise is not really a surfing documentary but rather a documentary about Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz and his wife and 9 children. Dr. Paskowitz, a graduate of Stanford Medical School, gave up his life as a physician and raised his family in very small camper and centered their lives on surfing.
The documentary details the children’s lives growing up, how they are doing now, how they feel that lifestyle affected them, etc. I found this an interesting documentary but this movie will not be of interest to all.
The surfing movies on Netflix are not a wide selection, I can also say that the selection offered is not bad. Most of the movies are not going to show you the best surfers doing the latest and greatest moves, but it is an interesting selection nonetheless.
Check out my post: “Hawaii surf spots.”
Thanks for dropping in and should you have any questions or comments, please post it in the comments section of this page.