It’s a pretty raw deal being stuck inside all day, but we’re all in this thing together, and remember, wave come — wave go. One surefire way to keep the stoke alive indoors, while even learning a thing or two, is by nerding out on some surf movies. Many researchers say by watching sports, you can actually improve your technique. So you can rest assured that your screen time is an important element in your quarantine cross-training. We’ve compiled a list of five of our favourite surf flicks that you can stream for free while we all wait for the storm to pass.
1. Great Lakes, Bad Lines
First off we gotta represent the Lakes, Great Lakes, Bad Lines follows two Michigan surfers as they climb, sail, paddle, and surf on a 500 mile trip across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - the same route of the Enbridge Oil Line 5. Without relying on fossil fuels the two meet local residents, adventurers, and experts as they explore the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on the Great Lakes Basin. We love the movie because it has a social conscience, and plenty of stoke.
Thomas Campbell’s 2003 film Sprout came out as a contrast to a lot of the surf films, and ‘aggressive’ surfing in general that was mainstream in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Featuring the likes of Joel Tudor, Kelly Slater, Dan Malloy, Kassia Meador, Skip Frye, Gerry Lopez, Alex Knost, Rob Machado, and many others. Press play and melt away across Sri Lanka, Morocco, Mexico, Costa Rica, The East Indies, Hawaii, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and California. The film helped usher in the ‘retro’ and ‘ride-anything’ movements in surfing that have become commonplace in lineups today. We also love the soundtrack featuring The Shins, Tortoise, Hope Sandoval and many other mellow indie staples.
3. Lost Atlas
Kai Neville was arguably one of the most influential surf filmmakers of the 2010’s, first making tons of noise with Modern Collective, his movies depict some of the most high-performance free-surfing ever captured, in sometimes unexpected locales, with eclectic soundtracks, and heavy doses of surrealist weirdness thrown in for good measure. Our favourite is his second film 2011’s Lost Atlas shot primarily on a Canon 7D across France, Indo, and Costa Rica, the film highlights the character of some of the freshest stars in surfing; in and out of the water, including: Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, Dion Agius, Craig Anderson, Kolohe Andino, and others.
4. The Endless Summer II
We assume everyone has seen the father of surf filmmaking, Bruce Brown’s original 1966 ode to chasing waves (if you haven’t GET ON THAT!). But the 1994 follow up also holds its weight. Contemporary viewing definitely dials in the 90’s surf nostalgia factor, and it’s a great watch to see how surfing has evolved and progressed. The film retraces the steps and cutbacks of the original, with some new breaks thrown in for good measure. Our favourite section is one of the earliest cold water segments to hit the screen, following Pat O’Connell and Robert Wingnut to Alaska. Look out for a cameo from the late great Steve Irwin!
5. Thicker Than Water
Jack Johnson (yes the musician) and the Malloys’ Thicker Than Water represents the soul of surfing. Beginning with some childhood footage of John John Florence, this visual poem showcases different colours of surfing and vantages across Ireland, India, Australia, Indonesia, and Hawaii, to capture the feeling of what it is to be a surfer. The diverse soundtrack also features some of the earliest offerings from everyone’s favourite acoustic surf songwriter (yes that Jack Johnson). Guaranteed feel-good film to help you get through the quarantine blahs.
Hope these help give you a little solace while stuck on dry land. Thank you again to everyone in our community for doing their part, lots of love and bless up y’all. We will see you in the water soon!
Words by Elie Landesberg
We're all roomies on this ball of water and dirt.. Find him on Instagram.