8 Must See Surf Documentaries For Hardcore Surfers

We've searched high and low for the very best surfing documentary on the planet. The good news is that you don't need to grab a plane ticket or leave the comfort of your home to view them. The bad news is that we couldn't narrow it down to just one - these surfing documentary movies are perfect for spending a weekend, or a few evenings, in front of the TV. So, sit back, relax and enjoy our picks for top surf documentaries.

1. Andy Irons: Kissed By God

This Andy Irons surf documentary is a must-watch for any surfing fanatic. Following the late, great surfer, follow the rise of the American, his rivals, three world titles and battles with drug addiction and mental health issues. Raw and real accounts from his closest companions make this an interesting insight into the life of a professional surfer.

Watch the trailer here:



2. Momentum Generation

HBO surf documentaries come no better than this. Following the famous group of surfers known as the momentum generation, this surfing documentary lifts the lid on icons, such as Kelly Slater, Ross Williams, Taylor Knox, Shane Dorian, Rob Machado, and more. From living as teens in a small house in Hawaii to the great heights of international surfing stardom, consider this one of the best surf documentaries you’ll watch!

Watch the trailer here:

3. The Endless Summer

A big wave surfing documentary which is a true surfing documentary classic, The Endless Summer follows two Californian surfers in search of the perfect wave. Capturing the thrill of the chase, Bruce Brown’s work is considered to be a pivotal moment in surf film-making. Well worth a watch.

Watch the trailer here:

  • Released in 1966
  • Watch on Amazon Prime Video - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Endless-Summer-Mike-Hynson/dp/B074G4F3BY
  • Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes

4. Bra Boys - Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Few surf documentaries online can boast that theyƒ??ve been narrated by an oscar winning actor. In the case of Bra Boys, Australian actor, Russell Crowe, tells the tale of the notorious Bra Boys gang, particularly the Abberton family, and the contrast between their daily lives and the joy of the surf. This surfing documentary is directed by the eldest of the brothers, Sunny Abberton. While you might not find a subjective viewpoint here, as a viewer, youƒ??re given a level of intimacy rarely found in other documentaries.

Watch the trailer here:

5. Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

As one of the best surf documentaries on Netflix, Unstoppable tells the tale of Bethany Hamilton, a teenager who hit the headlines when she lost an arm in a shark attack. This inspiring surfing documentary shares Hamiltonƒ??s dedication in aiming for surfing glory, as well as a close look at her personal life beyond the waves. The winner of several filmmaking awards, including best feature at the Hawaii International Film Festival, even your non-surfer friends will relish this watch.

Watch the trailer here:

6. Bustin’ Down The Door

Proving that life on the waves isn’t always a bundle of joy, Bustin’ Down The Door is one of the good surfing documentaries which reveals the gritty side to surfing. Narrated by actor, Edward Norton, this surfing documentary tells the true story of the rise of professional surfers amidst rising tensions in the 1970’s. Featuring archive footage of Australian and South African surfers in Oahu, Hawaii, the careers of Shaun Tomson, Mark Richards, and Wayne Bartholomew are followed over a two year period of surfing highs, lows and the cultural sensation that became professional surfing. 

Watch the trailer here:

7. One California Day

Focusing on several coastal areas of California, this film is ultimately one of the best surf documentaries that are easy to watch. A celebration of life on the water, One California Day captures the experiences of surfers, including a young Alex Knost and Tyler Warren - two people who have already made a significant impact on surfing culture. Despite only being just over a decade old, the super 16mm shot camera footage presents an air of nostalgia which gives a nod to the top surfing documentaries of old.

Watch the trailer here:


8. Between Land and Sea

This Irish surfing documentary portrays a year in the life of Lahinch, County Clare. This Atlantic surf town has become Irelandƒ??s hot bed of the surfing community since 2000 and this film highlights its transformation from sleepy small town to one of Europeƒ??s prime surfing locations. While an interesting story filled with many characters, the real highlight here is the epic footage of breathtaking waves set amongst a backdrop of craggy Irish scenery.

Watch the trailer here:

If you’ve got some time on your hands, give these surfing documentary movies a look. Whether you’re after a pleasant watch before bed or something a little grittier, there’s something on this list for everyone! 

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Indie Bornhoft is a personal trainer and watersports coach, who encourages her clients to make movement their mantra. She has coached every ability in wakeboarding, paddleboarding, SUP fitness, and windsurfing for over ten years, and is highly qualified in all disciplines. Discover more about her drive to just keep moving and be inspired to connect to the raw power of body & spirit through fitness.