The 10 Best Surfing Movies on Netflix (Ranked)

Every summer, we long for winter and cooler days. Then, when the winter comes, we long for the hot summer days. Catching waves on a lovely summer sunset is one of the most exciting ways to enjoy the seaside, even if you don’t surf yourself.

So, to get you in that beautiful mood, we’ve come up with a list of the best ten surfing movies on Netflix, ranked from least to most awesome (according to IMDb rating). There are plenty of documentaries on the list, showcasing real-life stories that are inspirational, warm, adventurous, and perfect for getting you hooked. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a board, too, after watching.

10. Blue Crush (2002)

IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
Country of origin: United States, Germany
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport
Language: English

Synopsis: Anne Marie is a hardcore surfer girl who lives in a beach shack with three roommates, from where they hit the waves on a regular basis. Her young sister also lives there, and they both practice before the big Pipe Masters competition comes to town.

Anne is more than content with her life on the water, but it changes when a pro football player, Matt, walks into her life.

Why it’s awesome: It’s not really awesome, but it’s a relax-your-brain romantic flick with tons of surfing in between. It won’t blow your mind as the best romantic movie you’ve ever seen, but I’ve seen worse. If you need something to unwind and not think too much while watching, Blue Crush will do that for you and get you in a summery mood as a bonus.

Watch the trailer here.

9. Lakey Peterson: Zero to 1000 (2013)

IMDb Rating: 6.1/10
Country of origin: United States, Australia, Brazil, France, Indonesia, New Zealand
Genre: Documentary, Sport
Language: English

Synopsis: Lakey Peterson won the 2012 US Open in surfing and became one of the most well-known surfers in the world. She blew away the competition, but that doesn’t mean there were no struggles along the way. 

Aaron Lieber, the filmmaker behind this documentary, gave us a peek into Lakey’s personal life, along with all the sacrifices she had to make to be such an elite sportsperson.

Why it’s awesome: Lakey Peterson is an inspirational person, and this documentary definitely got me in a motivated mood. As cool as the story is, my favorite part about this documentary is the way it was shot. The cinematography is stunning, and the soundtrack might be even better.

Watch the trailer here.

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8. Magnetic (2018)

IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
Country of origin: France
Genre: Documentary, Sport
Language: French

Synopsis: Most of us love the sea, and nature, overall. But, for some people, that love is magnetic – it drives them to explore it to the extremes. Over the course of this documentary, you’ll embark on a journey with some of the world’s greatest extreme athletes in their respective sports, from downhill bikers and skydivers to surfers.

Why it’s awesome: This French documentary is an epic, unique blend of sports – not just surfing – at their highest level. It’ll absolutely get your blood flowing and adrenaline pumping, taking you across the world and into the most remote locations in the wilderness of New Zealand, Pakistan, Tahiti, and more.

Watch the trailer here.

7. Surf’s Up (2007)

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Country of origin: United States
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Language: English

Synopsis: Cody Maverick is a teenage penguin from Antarctica who’s an avid surfer. All the other penguins see him as a useless buffoon, but Cody doesn’t give up on his dreams to compete in the Big Z Memorial Surf Off at Pen Gu Island. It’s a tourney in honor of Cody’s idol and surfing legend, Big Z.

Things don’t go that well at the tournament, leading to Cody wiping out. He then meets Geek, a former surfer who lives in the jungle, and gives Cody some vital lessons – both for surfing and life – to help him win.

Why it’s awesome: Surf’s Up is a classic animated film that you’ve probably seen already, but it’s always nice to revisit this one. It was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, so I bet it would be cool for a nice family evening with your kids. It might even teach them some valuable lessons, as Cody learns them in the film.

Watch the trailer here.

6. Resurface (2017)

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Country of origin: United States
Genre: Documentary, Sport, Short, War
Language: English

Synopsis: “After years of nightmares, depression, and seizures, Iraq war veteran Bobby Lane could see no way out of his trauma other than suicide. Then he met Van Curaza, a former big wave surfer who since founded Operation Surf and dedicated his life to helping veterans find solace in surfing. 

Backed by a growing body of research demonstrating the healing power of the ocean on the mind and body, organizations such as Operation Surf and the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation are using surfing to help veterans cope with physical and mental trauma.”

Why it’s awesome: This particular Netflix original is a short documentary (only 26 minutes runtime) that will have you cry all kinds of tears – sad and happy – as Bobby shares the exhaustive physical and mental trauma left on him as a war veteran.

He found new hope and a new will to live after discovering the healing powers of the ocean – both physically and mentally. Surfing saved him, and now organizations like Operation Surf are helping numerous veterans cope with their trauma on the waves.

Watch the trailer here.

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5. Under an Arctic Sky (2017)

IMDb Rating: 7.0/10
Country of origin: United States
Genre: Documentary, Short, Adventure, Sport
Language: Icelandic, English

Synopsis: One of the worst – if not the worst – storms in the last 25 years is about to hit the frozen shores of Iceland. Meanwhile, six surfers have already set sail along those same shores, picking up spots to catch waves in the freezing but breathtaking waters.

Why it’s awesome: It’s another short documentary, though longer than the previous entry. Under an Arctic Sky gives you about 40 minutes of sheer excitement. The scenery is breathtaking, and the situations the six surfers find themselves in will have you on the edge of your seat. The 7.0 rating on IMDb could’ve been higher if you ask me.

Watch the trailer here.

4. Surfwise (2007)

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Country of origin: United States
Genre: Documentary, Sport
Language: English

Synopsis: A totally unconventional, awe-inspiring, blow-me-away kind of documentary created by Doug Pray, following the life of Dorian Paskowitz, aka the Doc, and his big family. Doc, his wife, and nine kids were all born and raised in a small camper on the beach, being home-schooled, and taught to live with what was provided to them by mother nature.

They all surf, hunt, and live as animals do in the wild, rejecting all social constructs and living a happy, liberated life. 

Why it’s awesome: It might seem odd and unfathomable to us, but Surfwise is the most unique entry on this list. To reject all standards and social constructs and build a life that is completely yours is just awesome. It gets super hard sometimes, and it’s far from a perfect life, but Doc and his family are happy, which is all that matters. It’s my absolute favorite film on the list.

Watch the trailer here.

3. Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (2018)

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
Country of origin: United States
Genre: Documentary, Sport
Language: English

Synopsis: When she was just thirteen years old, Bethany Hamilton lost an arm in a shark attack. She went through hell recovering, but it never stopped her from pursuing her dream of becoming a professional surfer. Despite the tragedy that struck her young, it never took away her love for the big blue.

Now, Bethany is a mother, a surfer, and an inspiration to everybody, showing how extraordinary human beings are and what we can accomplish. 

Why it’s awesome: I mean, I feel like I don’t really need to say too much. Bethany Hamilton’s life story is probably the most inspirational, motivational, feel-good story revolving around surfing ever. She is a spectacular person and keeps on inspiring despite going through stuff not many people could’ve handled – physically and mentally.

Watch the trailer here.

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2. Fishpeople (2017)

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Country of origin: United States
Genre: Documentary
Language: English

Synopsis: This 48-minute documentary will take you through some of the most incredible stories you’ve ever heard, not just about surfing but human beings and the ocean in general. Witness how spending so much time in the ocean doing various activities can literally transform a human.

Why it’s awesome: Some of the stuff in this documentary was pretty awesome. The part about the spearfishers, whose lungs have actually evolved so they can fish better, just blew my mind. It’s not a long nor a well-known documentary, but you can find it on Netflix – it’s well worth a watch.

Watch the trailer here.

1. Given (2016)

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Country of origin: United States, Australia, Fiji, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Marshall Islands, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand
Genre: Documentary
Language: English

Synopsis: “GIVEN is the story of a legacy that takes one unique family on an adventure from their home in Kauai around the world. Told through the memories of a child, Given is the simple yet powerfully contemplative story of a unique family legacy come full circle.”

Why it’s awesome: There’s a reason why Given is such a highly-rated film. It portrays a lovely, family-oriented adventure story seen through the eyes of a six-year-old. The journey is breathtaking, and there are lovely lessons to learn along the way, but even if you’re just here for the surfing, this film will do it for you.

Watch the trailer here.

  • Luka loves psychological thrillers, horrors, and mysteries. However, high fantasy and fiction are his primary interest, especially Tolkien's Middle-earth universe, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Marvel universe. Amateur filmmaker, screenwriter, cinematography, and trivia enthusiast.