Trying to capture the true essence of surfing, surf culture, and surf lore on film is certainly a demanding and treacherous task. There are so many factors to consider when making a surf flick. Should you superimpose your surfers on a green screen and make them look like Slates shralping at pipe? Should you make the movie based on every stereotype you've ever heard about the cowabunga sport of surfboard wave riding? Or should you be hard as fug and document your surf gang flick with no chicks? These are some of the choices that the movie makers have to make when they write that script, put themselves in front of that camera, and lock themselves in a nerd bot cave editing the final cut for days on end. Ultimately it really doesn't matter what the filmmakers do, for it is the surfers in the public sphere who have the final say whether or not the film sucks balls or goes down as an instant classic! So without further adieu, I would like to present you with:
The Top 5 Best Surf Movies of All Time:
1. Big Wednesday
Legends never die, but they can grow old.
Big Wednesday has to be one of my favorite films of all time and by far the best surf film ever to be made! Not only does it so brilliantly capture a true essence of surf culture but it takes the viewer on quite the thrill ride along the way! Surely this film deserves the longest description and stroke sesh.
Join Matt "The Enforcer" Johnson, Jack Barlow, and Leroy "The Masochist" as they divulge into the summer shenanigans that take place when you own the beach and the surf. Whether it's throwing a kegger at the house belonging to Jack's MILF Mother (sike), surfing Malibu point while still wasted from the night before, getting into brawls with crashers, getting into brawls at Adelita's in TJ, avoiding the draft by acting gay, psycho, or crippled, and finally riding the biggest swell to hit the coast in ages, this film has got it all and then some!
My personal favorite character would definitely have to be that of Leroy "The Masochist" played by Gary Busey himself (a close second fav is party animal/froth legend Waxer). Leroy is straight up nutso and he represents the wild child of the bunch as he's the guy who's always down to party, get weird with chicks, fight some random fools, jump through windows, eat light bulbs, and drink till he drops! This quote from Leroy pretty much sums him up in a sentence:
"I like fights, I've dove through windows, I've eaten light bulbs, I like sharks, any kind of blood. If you gave me a gun, I'd shoot you in the face just to see what it looked like when the bullet hit."
Keep in mind he was saying that to a freaking shrink who was analyzing him for the army draft! All and all Big Wednesday is an epic tale about friendship, charging big waves, raging hard, and just straight up owning everywhere you go. I strive to one day live a carefree beach bum lifestyle like these guys once had (oh wait I did, fack well I want it back!). If you've never seen this film please lose my number and my website and sure as hell don't bother saying hi to me in the halls either!
2. North Shore
"You're so haole you don't even know you're haole."
Zonie kook Rick Kane shreds in the kiddy pool and earns himself 500 bucks so he gets high on ice and convinces himself that he can play with da big boys over on Da Nor Chore of Oahu, how wrong he was! Upon arriving at da mystical mecca of Da Nor Chore, Rick begins his adventurous journey destined for kookiness as he gets picked up by a classic Occy and Paige, picks up some sugar cane, and lands himself at a Pipe house belonging to non other than uber shredder Lance Burkhart (Laird Hamilton).
"Alex, come jump in with us mate."
Eventually Kane falls into a lucky strike and is taken in under the wing of surf legend and da kine shaper Chandler. Chandler along with party boy/assistant shaper Turtle teach Rick how to stop being such a fucking kook and surf real waves... waves that make your balls turn into beebees and your unit into a tic tac (speaking from personal experience). Along the way Rick finds his wahine myrt Kiani and froths her to his little hearts delight. In the end Rick is so iced out that he surfs in a Pipe constest in a final against Lance Burkhart (laird) and Derek Ho. As Rick paddles for what could have possibly been his winning wave, Lance grabs his leash, pulls in pig dog style, and takes da comp. Rick was so iced out that he didn't even give a shit that Lance pulled his leash, won the comp, and called him an idiot all in the span of 5 minutes. Eventually, Rick comes down from the ice, sobers up, says good by to his new braddas and myrt, and heads back to methville, AZ for art school. Ahh the life of a haole...
What makes this film so classic and great is its star studded cast including such shredders as: Gerry Lopez, Occy, Laird Hamilton, Derek Ho, Mark Foo, Shaun Tomson, Ken Bradshaw, Uncle Michael, and even Christian Fletcher. If that wasn't enough, add on some instant classic retro 80's rock, some firing waves on the 7 mile miracle, classic costume party keggers with smoking hot beach babes and you've got yourself a movie brah!
Cook rice, not ice!
3. The Endless Summer II
"Only a week out of California and already living their dream of an endless summer."
Pat O' and Wingnut (still don't know why they call him that) travel the world wide in search of frothy pits. All the while, Bruce Brown straight up drops knowledge on fools in this epic travel doc! This flick is classic in so many ways. Pat O' Connell and Wingnut make for a great duo as they are both hilarious in their own right and can shred whatever the swell gives them. I remember watching this as a grom and seeing mini-grom TJ Barron shredding on the silver screen at Pupukea and being like "fack that grom's better than me, that's it, no more Oregon Trail, I've got some practice to do!"
This is one of the most classic surf films that beautifully depicts an eclectic mix of surf adventure stories seen through the eyes of two mega shralpers! Endless Summer II is a must have! (The only qualm I have with this movie is the fact that my Mom took us to see it and come every summer when all I wanted to do was surf and chill she'd repeatedly say "Hendo" this is NOT the endless summer! Get yo self a job fool!)
4. Point Break
"You're trying to tell me the FBI is going to pay me to learn to surf?"
Even though Matrix nerd-bot Keanu Reeves is a kook, Swayze and Busey sure ain't! The ex- presidents, a group of surf rat bank robbers led by shralp master Bodhi have been hitting up LA's finest banks and milking that shit for every pennie's worth! It's up to special agent Johnny Utah and his partner Pappas to catch these suckers and make them pay. In order to succeed at such a task, Johnny Utah (aka ex jock nerd quarterback ass grabber meathead) must go full on Gonzo style and become one with the enemy. While learning how to surf, he scores a hot babe, bones her, then tells her the truth about his homosexuality and she freaks the fuck out!Eventually Johnny boy follows the ex-prezies and just barely misses nabbing them each time and fucks up his knee pretty bad while doing so (shoulda worn your volley ball knee pads Utah!). Sometime down the road, Johnny finally learns how to stand up on a surfboard, we see some boobs, and Utah eventually tracks down Bodhi in Aus during the hundred year storm that produces massive waves in the Pacific. In fear of being seen as the true loser that he is, by the coolest dude around, agent Johnny Utah takes off Bodhi's leopard skin handcuffs and lets him go surf his last dying wave to which Aussie cop says "We'll get him when he comes back in" Johnny replies with a tear in his eye "He's not coming back." And Keanu is hopefully not coming back... to any surf movie EVER again!
Despite the kookiness of Johnny Utah, this film is rad in the fact that the ex-prezies rip, Anthony Kiedis beats the shit outa Keanu, Archy doubles for Swayze, there are some nice boobage and ass shots, and who doesn't love robbing banks, beach raging, and sky diving in their free time?
5. Bra Boys
"Causing trouble, no matter where we go"
First time I saw this hard docu I went mental and apparently started drunkenly talking to myrts in an Australian accent at da bars. It wasn't until the next morning that they'd call me up and ask for "Shane, the cute Australian guy" that I'd realize this film definitely had a gnarls hold on me!
Bra Boys is an intriguing tale about a surf gang hailing from the inner Sydney beachside suburb of Maroubra. Starting off as Ma's Hell Team the crew was a tight nit group consisting of the brothers Abberton, and a few others. Eventually the gang picked up speed and gained strength through numbers including such big shot members as: pro surfer Mark Matthews, Richie "Vas" Vaculik, Frog, rugby player Reni Maitua, and many more. Although they are now deep in numbers far and wide, the film is more concentrated on a series of events revolving around the death of former shady Bra Boy Anthony Hines and the convicted parties involved with the case, professional surfer Koby Abberton and his brother Jai. Drama ensues as the gang and the brothers fight the hard times during this murder trial.
Even though most of the actual footage is shot on a piece of shit handy cam Hi8 footage, the story is so captivating and the characters involved are so interesting that this never really becomes too big of a problem. Follow the Bra Boys as they give you a shneek peak into the life of a surf thug filled with beers, bras, brawls, bites, and bitterness. The only thing missing in this film is boobs, yeah for some reason there ain't much footage of da Bra Boys taking off brassieres? Das not wuzzzup! But all and all this film is definitely wazzzup! Go watch it, buy it, or steal it from your mate, just make sure at some point you tell the myrt you wake up with that you're not Australian, I'd wait till the wedding if I were you!
*Honorable Mention: Fast Times At Ridgemont High
There you have it folks, The 5 Best Surf Movies of All Time! Join us later this week as I'll be discussing the 5 Absolute Worst Surf Movies of All Time (you might want to wear a diaper cause shits gonna get ugly!) Got an opinion about my opinions? Leave a comment and drop some knowledge on the Ambass fool! Do it, do it!