Sixty years of surfing on the silver screen has produced an Everest-sized slagheap of junk, and a bookshelf-sized canon of classics. Lucky for us, 'Encyclopedia of Surfing' author (and former 'Surfer' magazine editor) Matt Warshaw has watched them all. Here are his picks for the 15 best – some hardcore, some Hollywood, and a few from left field.
'Apocalypse Now' (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
Not a surf movie in any sense of the word, but Robert Duvall's Colonel Kilgore is by far the best surf character ever presented on the big screen. By casually blowing up an entire North Vietnamese village on his way to catching a few waves at a nearby break, Kilgore makes himself a godhead of sorts to the rest of us who, to the same selfish ends, have blown up family dinners, marriages, and jobs. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning," Kilgore famously says, to nobody in particular, while the jungle burns in the background. Don't we all, Colonel. Don't we all.
Credit: Everett Collection