7 Gnarly Surfing Scenes

Dudes! Dudettes! Prepare to get righteous as we look at some of the coolest surfing action committed to celluloid.

We check out the totally tubular times down at the hottest beaches of movie-dom.

So grab your board, load up on sex wax and hit the sea with us...

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Bodacious Bods: Benjamin L Willard (Martin Sheen), William "Bill Kilgore" (Robert Duvall)

Why So Cool? In one of Apocalypse Now's many iconic moments, Kilgore sends two of his troops out to surf the waves created by the downdraft of the helicopters he's using to attack a Vietcong position.

In the middle of a pic about the madness of war, Duvall's deranged Colonel love for napalm and his dedication to combat are perfectly counterpointed by the images of the men braving the shell-dotted waters en route to the beach.

Wipe Out Words: "Charlie don't surf!"

Next: Blue Crush


Blue Crush (2002)

Bodacious Bods: Anne Marie Chadwick (Kate Bosworth), Eden (Michelle Rodriguez)

Why So Cool? The likes of Bosworth and Rodriguez in bikinis? Oh, let us think.

But more than that, it's based on Susan Orlean's article about real-life surf girls and sees the pair (plus Sanoe Lake's Lena) living their oceanic dream between stints as hotel maids.

It's out in the swells that they really thrive, though - and Anne Marie gets her big moment when she enters the Rip Masters surf competition, hoping to score a sweet sponsorship deal.

Thanks to some awesome stunt doubles, the scene works, even if the rest of the movie's a little flat.

Wipe Out Words:
"These waves are for the big boys."

Next: Fast Times At Ridgemont High


Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

Bodacious Bods: Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn)

Why So Cool? Spicoli's possibly the funniest example of saltwater-addled stoner dudes in cinema history.

Played to perfection by Penn, our favourite scene is his big surfing dream, where Spicoli imagines he's won the biggest surfing competition around.

We don't get to see loads of big wave action, but the 'tude on display more than makes up for it. And the ultra-fake blue screen style makes it even better.

Wipe Out Words: "I'll tell you, surfing's not a sport, it's a way of life, you know, a hobby. It's a way of looking at that wave and saying, "Hey bud, let's party!"

Next: Big Wednesday


Big Wednesday (1978)

Bodacious Bods: Matt Johnson (Jan-Michael Vincent), Jack Barlow (William Katt), (Leroy Smith) Gary Busey

Why So Cool? Shoved through the blender of a pre- and post-Vietnam USA, it's the tale of three friends who must deal with their changing lives and aging bodies.

The best moment comes when the three aging surf dudes make it to the beach for one final celebration of their favourite sport.

With very real, huge waves, shot at a time before movie types stuck to surfing on CGI, it's a jaw-dropping celebration of male bonding out on the sea.

Wipe Out Words:
"If you leave me here, I'm gonna drown. And all you'll find is this s****y old board..."

Next: Point Break


Point Break (1991)

Bodacious Bods:
Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), Bodhi (Patrick Swayze)

Why So Cool? The acting might be prime ham and cheese, but there's no denying director Kathryn Bigelow knows how to set up an action scene.

FBI agent Utah is sent to infiltrate Bodhi's gang, the Ex-Presidents (named for the masks of former US leaders they use as disguises during bank robberies.

Observing their wild and crazy actions out on their boards, Utah gets his clue as to their identities when one of them moons the beach. Charming.

Wipe Out Words:
"I caught my first tube today... Sir."

Next: Surf's Up


Surf's Up (2007)

Bodacious Bods: Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf), Zeke "Big Z" Topanga/Geek (Jeff Bridges)

Why So Cool?
True, it's for, you know, kids, but this surfing penguin docu-'toon is still spot-on.

When young, up-and-coming wave-jumper Cody Maverick wipes out during the Penguin World Surfing Championship, he needs to restore his confidence.

Thank goodness, then, that he's got oddball Geek (Bridges, channelling The Dude with ease) to mentor him - since he also happens to be Cody's favourite legendary board-walker known as Big Z.

It's a CG 'toon, but the montage of Cody learning to respect the ocean and trust in himself is a great surf moment.

Wipe Out Words: "You let the wave do the work. You don't fight the wave. You can't fight these big waves."

Next: Riding Giants


Riding Giants (2004)

Bodacious Bods: Laird John Hamilton, Jeff Clark, Buzzy Kerbox

Why So Cool? Stacy Peralta's surfing doc feels so real because Peralta himself was a former skater and wave-rider himself.

Hitting up some of the legends of the culture to explore its origins and highlight its heroes, Peralta shows off some incredible footage.

While some of it is recreated, it's the archived adventures of Laird Hamilton that really impress. Gliding through a gigantic wall of water, he makes it look like he was born to do - which he was, when you consider his dad was a surfer...

Wipe Out Words:
"Not only were you riding down this mountain, but the mountain is chasing after you and you need to figure out how to escape it., but also use it."

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Freelance Journalist

James White is a freelance journalist who has been covering film and TV for over two decades. In that time, James has written for a wide variety of publications including Total Film and SFX. He has also worked for BAFTA and on ODEON's in-cinema magazine.