The 10 Best Documentaries About Surfing

Oct 5, 2023 | Best Of, Sports

Surfing is an activity full of adventure and excitement. It takes courage, skill, and a careful balance of strength and grace to stay atop the waves. Many amazing stories have been told about these incredible athletes who take on the ocean’s power with such mastery. Documentaries are a great way to explore the culture and challenges of surfing, as well as appreciate the beauty and awe of these athletes in action. Here is a list of some of the best documentaries about surfing that dive into this thrilling sport’s history, culture, and its daring champions.


1. This Is The Wild Ride That Is The Life Of Kai Lenny

Kai Lenny is one of the most talented athletes on the planet, and his passion for surfing has taken him to some of the most thrilling places. Ever wonder what it takes to compete in a Big Wave championship? Join Kai as he dives deep into training for the cbdMD Jaws Big Wave Championships, pushing himself and his gear to the limit. Venture through the treacherous waters with him as he prepares for one of the most thrilling experiences ever. Follow along in this wild ride that is Kai’s life, and take a glimpse into the meticulous preparation and determination needed to be a top-tier competitor.


2. Liveaboard & Surfing in the Maldives

After a mind-blowing adventure on Kilimanjaro in 2018, I was ready for another challenge and decided it was time to take on surfing. With no prior experience, I headed off to a two week surf camp in Sri Lanka to test the waters and see if this sport was something that would stick with me. The first few days were tough, but I was quickly hooked and found myself becoming more and more addicted to the peace and serenity of being in the ocean. My newfound passion for surfing took me to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, from Portugal and Costa Rica, to Morocco and Sri Lanka.


3. Trouble: The Lisa Andersen Story

Trouble: The Lisa Andersen Story is a remarkable tale of a woman’s courage and determination. On the surface, Lisa Andersen may seem like just another professional surfer who has achieved immense success in her career: 4x world champ and inductee into the Surfer Hall of Fame – but behind this facade lies much more than meets the eye. This captivating documentary dives into the depths of Andersen’s life and uncovers the incredible story of a fearless spirit who has not only triumphed over daunting odds, but has battled her inner demons to become an inspirational role model for all.


4. Step Into Liquid (FULL MOVIE) Surfing Documentary, Surf Travel, Surfer Video

Step Into Liquid is an exhilarating journey that captures the passion and spirit of surfing. From Ireland’s remote Donegal coast to Oahu’s North Shore, this documentary follows surfers from all walks of life as they pursue their lifelong dreams. Daring daredevils chase perfect waves while everyday enthusiasts seek ultimate relaxation in the ocean. With a vibrant soundtrack and stunning cinematography, Step Into Liquid takes you into the depths of this thrilling sport. It’s an exploration of the surfing world from all angles and an unforgettable journey that will leave you captivated.


5. The Endless Summer II (1994) – Surfing Film

It was always my dream to one day use my knowledge to help the human race. As a young kid, I was already diving deep into physics and writing reports about alternative and renewable energy options for society. This kind of early focus on learning established me as a unique individual in comparison with everyone else. But, sadly, this divergence from society’s norms resulted in much rejection and even violence from my peers. In the end, my knowledge would eventually lead me to surfing documentaries. From there I began a lifelong appreciation of the sport. The documentaries were captivating. Endless Summer II (1994) was one of the most powerful films I had seen so far.


6. Surfing As Philosophy of Life

As I take a journey through Portugal, from the bustling cities to the peaceful beaches, I explore how surfing can bring us closer to nature and ourselves. Through interviews with surfers in Peniche, Ericeira, Nazare, Lisbon, Lagos, and Sagres, we discover what goals they set for themselves when they enter the ocean; what fears they face when they paddle out and go between the waves; what struggles they overcome to succeed; and most importantly, how their connection to the ocean has changed them.


7. Montañita: Sun, Surfing & Party Life

Surfers from all over the world have been drawn to Montañita – a small beach town located in Ecuador – since the early 1990s, seeking out its perfect waves and spectacular sunsets. But it’s more than just an incredible spot for surfers! This documentary dives deep into the culture of this vibrant and unique community, exploring the beauty of their natural surroundings as well as the chaotic and infectious party life. From the renowned local surfers to the bustling nightlife, this film will leave you craving more stories from Montañita! Follow along as we explore what it takes to live life in one of surfing’s most iconic destinations.


8. Costa Rica Surfing Documentary – SEEKING SWELLS [Salsa Brava, Playa Bonita, Isla Uvita, Pavones]

Take a journey through Costa Rica’s surf culture and explore the beautiful coastline! From Salsa Brava to Isla Uvita, we’ll visit some of the most legendary surfing spots in the Caribbean and Southern Coasts. Feel the power of Playa Bonita, or discover hidden gems such as Pavones – each with its own unique vibe and breathtaking views. Immerse yourself in the soulful stories of passionate surfers, and revel in the beauty of nature – Costa Rica has something to offer for everyone! Come along and join us as we explore some unforgettable locations.


9. Fish: Surfboard Documentary (FULL MOVIE) Surfboard Design, Fish Surfboard, Surfing, Surf

Fish Surfboard Design is a documentary that dives deep into the history of surfing and how the FISH SURFBOARD DESIGN influenced its evolution over three decades. The film explores the cultural impact of fish surfboards, from their conception in the mid-80s to their current status as one of the most popular shapes on the market. It also captures rarely-seen archival footage and interviews with some of the most influential surfers who have ridden this style of board. Get to know the stories behind the design, from its inception to its rise in popularity, and how it has shaped not only surfing culture but also pop culture at large.


10. O Filme Brasil Do Surfe: The Unprecedented Rise Of Modern Brazilian Surfing

Once a small, obscure movement in Brazil, modern surfing has experienced explosive growth and success throughout the country over the past 30 years. O Filme Brasil Do Surfe: The Unprecedented Rise Of Modern Brazilian Surfing takes an in-depth look at how this movement began and what influence it had on surf culture around the world. Through interviews with pioneers of the sport, archival footage, and stunning visuals, O Filme Brasil Do Surfe provides a captivating glimpse into this unique surfing heritage.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B