Surf films can be divided into the following genres:

  • Surfing documentaries,
  • Beach party films,
  • Feature films,
  • Avant-garde,
  • Animation.

Surfing documentaries Edit

Surfing documentaries target the surfing enthusiast. Bruce Brown's classic movie The Endless Summer glorified surfing in a round-the-world search for the perfect wave. Others include;







  • Band On The Run, Harry Hodge,c1980 noted in Albie Thoms Sufmovies as 1982,but somewhat in contradiction appears in Albie Thoms feature Palm Beach 1979, as street headliner at Manly Silver Screen Theatre. Tim Gaze sites 1980 in relation to re-release of soundtrack c2007 ???
  • Follow the Sun, Scott Dittrich, ,1980. Important if only for the couple waves Cheyne Horan rides at Waimea Bay on a 5'8" Lazor Zap..somewhat underscoring the future use of very short boards in giant waves (albeit by tow-in,this Horan/Mccoy feat made more amazing by this fact) This appears the only document as this event went spurously unoted by the surf media at the time.
  • 'Scream In Blue, Grant Young,1987
  • All Down The Line, Paul Witzig,1989


Beach party filmsEdit

Beach party films were popular in the 1960s, targeting the broader community. The Gidget series and Beach Blanket Bingo are less reverential depictions of the culture.

Feature films Edit

Some feature films have used surf culture as a context within which a more broadly applicable theme could be developed. For example, John Milius' homage to the Malibu of his youth in Big Wednesday uses the changing surf as a metaphor for life's own phases. Others include;

Surf Culture Features

Animation Edit

Avant-garde Edit


A screenshot from the movie.

  • Liquid Time (2002) is an avant-garde surf film that focuses solely on the fluid forms of tubing waves.

Fictional character Edit

  • Sean Penn as stoned surfer, Jeff Spicoli, in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Jeff Spicoli is the stereotypical teenage surfer of the eighties, complete with surf talk and imaginary tubes, ridden beneath overhanging ivy. The ambitious, conscientious, hard working Brad Hamilton provides a foil for Jeff Spicoli, who believes in “operating from the heart” and “what you need will come to you,”. By contrasting Jeff Spicoli's carefree approach to life with Brad Hamilton's disciplined work ethic, the film exposes the dialectic in western culture [1].
  • Denny Miller as the surfer, Duke Williams, guest starring on Gilligan's Island. Duke Williams is the stereotypical surfer of the early sixties; simple minded, yet handsome and athletic.

Duke: Man, five days on that board and I'm nothing but skin and bones.

Ginger: What skin.

Mary Ann: And what bones.

Scenes from movies Edit

Willard: "Are you crazy God damnit? Don't you think its a little risky for some R&R?"

Kilgore: "If I say its safe to surf this beach Captain, then its safe to surf this beach. I mean I'm not afraid to surf this place, I'll surf this whole fucking place!"

In the extended version of Apocalypse Now, there is a scene in which Willard's team steals Kilgore's surfboard as they begin their journey up the river.

Television Edit

Reality TV Edit

  • SHANE Stedman appeared briefly on stage on an Australian gameshow [which?CONFIRM] shaping/polishing(?) a surfboard(shortboard/stubby single or twin[confirm]..circa 1970/71.

Also..what was the question contestant/s were asked regarding this? (if memory serves he was concealed behind a thin veil,contestant/s were possibly asked to guess what was going on behind the shadow puppet like demonstration?)[confirm]

TV commercials Edit

  • SURFSHAKE milk promotion:,c1970/71 ? .Australian. Possibly only NSW ?

Shane Stedman(or lookalike)[confirm] as key promo figure/narrator(?)on TV commercial,Milkbar posters & bar card displays.. Gifts with purchase of a SURFSHAKE at any milkbar that displayed promo included a "Surfshaker" tumbler(Decor design)& a plastic hippy Headband (vague american indian diamond mesh pattern), with choice of colours orange,blue,purple?,green?,other?

Surfshake/I Am A Surfshaker(or similar) was printed on headband.[confirm]

A Surfshake was basically a double milkshake,extra milk,dble icecream etc. Cost was marginally more..

Hamms Beer 1965 with footage by Bud Browne from his 1964 film LOCKED IN Sugar Frosted Flakes 1967 with surfer Fred Hemmings

TV documentary series Edit

TV comedy series Edit

TV drama series Edit

TV episodes Edit

  • The Flintstones - "Surfin' Fred" (1965). Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty are holidaying on Rock Island, where a surfing contest is to be held. Fred hopes to relive his carefree teenage years, dancing to "hip" music with swarms of holidaying teenagers and revelling in their adulation of his sporting prowess. However, in the surf, Fred is repeatedly blasted by monsterous waves, as he tries desperately to impress the young crowd. Rock star and teenage heartthrob, Jimmy Darrock, who has been recruited to present the winner's trophy, avoids recognition by wearing sunglasses and assuming the role of a lifeguard. But, he had not counted on Fred's ineptitude on a board. Darrock has to retrieve Fred from the surf and perform resuscitation on him. When Wilma paddles over, a huge wave throws Fred onto her shoulders. Wilma manages to navigate through the pillars of a boardwalk, bringing her surfboard to rest inside the revolving door of the hotel. Fred and Wilma win the trophy for most adept use of a surfboard, and Darrock performs in the hotel restaurant, singing about the surfing craze.
  • Gilligan's Island - "Big Man on Little Stick" (1965). A surfer by the name of Duke Williams washes up on the shore and collapses, having spent five days at sea on his surfboard. The girls fall for Duke, played by Denny Miller, so Gilligan tries to learn how to surf by tying his feet to Duke's surfboard. Despite their interest in the newcomer, Ginger and Mary Ann panic when he makes a pass at each of them. To resolve the conflict, the castaways pretend the girls are not available. Ginger is with the Professor and Mary Ann is with Gilligan. So, Duke decides to leave the island and manages to depart by catching a huge wave. The men sit around the radio, anxiously listening to news of Duke's arrival in Hawaii. To their dismay, Duke doesn't remember where he's been for the last two weeks, having hit a rock and suffered amnesia.
  • Skippy Episode #69 (1968/1969)

See also Edit


  1. Culture Jock University of Chicago Magazine, December '05, Volume 98, Issue 2.
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