Surf films that are just endless surf shots are great for having on in the background, but they’re not something I’d sit down to watch, I much prefer something with a story.
So with that in mind, in no particular order, here’s eight of my favourite surf documentaries…
1. The Fisherman’s Son
The story of big wave surfer Chilean Ramón Navarro is captivating and free to watch.
This web series shows a competitive side to John John we haven’t really seen until this year. It has such incredible filming (worthy of a movie) and I’ve already watched each one twice.
An uncomfortable but fascinating watch following the rise of surfing in Papua New Guinea.
Since the film was made pink nose surf boards have been introduced for the women on the island (who frequently encountered discrimination and violence) and you can read more about the scheme on Easkey Britton’s recent blogs on Finisterre.
4. E:60 Mick Fanning
The intro is very American but get past that and this is a great look behind the scenes at Mick Fanning’s incredible story.
Red Bull has some great documentary series but for some reason they’re often hard to find.
Qualifying followed CT hopefuls Nathan Hedge, Evan Geiselman, Damien Hobgood, Pat Gudauskas and Ezekiel Lau through the reality of the gruelling qualifying tour. It’s a couple of seasons old but I really it enjoyed it.
I’ve also just found this page that lists all of Red Bull’s surfing web series.
6. Stephanie in the Water
7. Zero to 100
These last two are a bit older but still a good watch if you haven’t seen them before. Zero to 100 follows Lakey Peterson to her first championship tour win.
It’s sometimes on Netflix but otherwise you can download it on iTunes.
8. First Love
Watch a mini Nikki Van Dijk and friends as they try to make a living out of surfing.
I’m sure I watched this on Netflix too but you can also rent online.