10 Best Surf Documentaries You Need to Watch

The sea never sleeps, and the desire to ride the waves is always there. But you can’t just travel to the nearest surfing site whenever you feel like it, can you? We hope these top 10 best surf documentaries will be enough to give you your adrenaline shot.

1. Momentum Generation

True to its name, Momentum Generation presents you with action and drama between childhood friends brought together by the sea. With a sport that gives as much as it takes, a group of teenagers tries to take the surfing world by storm. 

If you are looking for a dramatic story about brotherhood with a dash of friendly rivalry, then this documentary is a good watch for you.   

2. Riding Giants

Surfing would not be the sport it is known today if it weren’t for its pioneers who decided it was a good idea to grab a board as long as their body and ride the tall, blue waves. 

Riding Giants shows you how surfers display the innate desire to recklessly throw themselves into the water, hoping the sea will push them right back up. Get yourself hyped up even while you’re chilling on your couch by watching this documentary. 

3. Andy Irons: Kissed by God

This is the story of Andy Irons outside of his champion surfer persona. It’s a compelling narration of how he, despite all the fame and glamour, knew no peace brought by his mental disorder and the drugs he used to silence his mind. But despite all his struggles, he managed to stand on the championship podium thrice.

Andy Irons: Kissed by God is by no means a religious documentary. Still, it paints a picture of a surfer who experienced greatness and was plagued by the horrors of opioid addiction and bipolar disorder.

4. Unstoppable: Bethany Hamilton

Surfing is hard as it is with two hands; imagine doing it with one. Bethany Hamilton has no problem with doing just that. She is just unstoppable. 

Unstoppable: Bethany Hamilton shows you how a young surfer embraced her disability to make the most out of her life. By pushing herself to the limits, she only allows herself to get carried to greater heights. If you want an inspiring but still action-packed movie to get you going, then this documentary is just for you. 

5. The Endless Summer

This shows two young surfers traveling all around the world and looking for the perfect tide that will give them the right shot of adrenaline.  

The title The Endless Summer only seems apt to describe a life of freedom of riding the sea waves from sunrise to sunset during the ‘60s. With its gorgeous wide shots of the blue horizon paired with the brown sand beach, you get a perfect documentary to watch on a chill afternoon when you’re just craving the smell of summer.

6. Code Red

Surfers do not cower away from forecasts of mountain-high waves, and they run with their arms wide to welcome them. 

Code Red is both a documentary and a warning from the Tahitian Coast Guard about dangerously steep waves. It follows the narration of two surfers who braved the sea despite treacherous conditions. The danger, paired with super slow-motion shots of the raging water, brings you a thrilling experience. This will make you feel like you were with them, facing the gigantic waves while sitting safely in your living room.

7. Sea of Darkness

It’s not so difficult to see the connection between drugs and surfing. Both can get you addicted to a euphoric high, and both can be seriously life-threatening. 

Sea of Darkness has gained notoriety for its brave, almost incriminating, tell-all approach to the system of smuggling illegal drugs of a community of surfers on the coasts of Bali, Indonesia. These surfers desired to live life to the limit in terms of drugs and surfing, both teetering at the edge between a long life and irredeemable consequences. 

8. Gaza Surf Club

Filmed in a country now subject to unimaginable horrific violence, Gaza Surf Club reveals how surfing is more than a sport and how the sea is more than just a body of water.

Palestinians, with nowhere to go, take their worries to the waves and submerge themselves into the solace of the sea. With exposed and bent house foundations and crumpled bricks revealing the destruction the people had to and are suffering from, the constant splash of the water against the concrete and the rhythmic dance of the tides remain to be a source of joy for the residents.

9. Step into Liquid

The search for the perfect wave never ends as Step into Liquid once again shows various surfers at varying stages of their lives riding the valleys of the sea. 

The documentary follows a diverse set of surfers hailing from different countries who made it their life mission to surf. From grey and old surfers to the young guns hoping to make a break into competitive surfing, the sea has welcomed them with their unique stories. 

10. Bra Boys

Narrated by Russell Crowe, Bra Boys is a documentary about an infamous surfer gang from Sydney that became known for violent drunken fights and conflict with local authorities back in the mid-1990s. 

Known for their contribution to the Sydney beach culture and saving kids from going down dark paths in life, the gang was in hot waters after two of their members were accused of murder and tried in court.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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