Surf movies are generally really stupid. I don’t mean surf videos, I mean surf movies that you’d go and watch at the movie theatre. The ones that star Gary Busey. The ones that star Keanu Reeves and Matt Adler and Kate Bosworth. Those ones. And to be clear, I don’t mean stupid in a bad way. I love stupid movies. But there’s a fine line—for me at least—where a movie is so bad it becomes great. The ones that are ACTUALLY bad are the ones that hover somewhere in the middle, not quite bad enough to be good, but nowhere near good enough to be great. Those average ones are the ones that are actually bad. Does that make sense? Either way, here they are, in order of most horribly good to bordering on those dreaded average movies.
#1: Surf Nazis Must Die
Honestly, I don’t have words for this movie. It’s like… I don’t know what it’s like. I wish I could say it’s some kind of deep comment on our society’s need to assert dominance, or maybe some kind of commentary on localism, or even a statement about racism. It’s not. There is nothing to it all. It’s the celery of surf movies. But it is so horribly bad, it’s the best. After an earthquake hits California, a group of surfers takes over the beach, fights off rival surf gangs using karate-esque techniques (they’re actually just cartwheels and Bruce Lee-like facial expressions) and kills a jogger on the beach. The jogger’s mother breaks out of her retirement home, gets a bunch of grenades, and commences haphazardly blowing things up and driving around on a motorcycle. It’s like Aunt Jemima if she were in the Mad Max movies.
Watching this movie is like snorting wasabi while getting hit in the face with a schnitzel at Cirque Du Soleil.
#2: Blood Surf, aka Krocodylus
Honestly, you will never see a worse movie than this. Ever. In your whole life. Except for Surf Nazis Must Die. It is so mind-bendingly bad it makes Dude Where’s My Car look like it should be an Oscar nominee. In a nutshell: A couple of guys decide that regular surfing is too boring, so they decide to chum the waters and surf through the sharks. Sounds reasonable, right? Sure it does. But then, inexplicably, the movie completely shifts gears. No more surfing. No more sharks. Just this big-ass saltwater crocodile that picks everyone off while they run up trees and yell and try and have sex with each other. Amazing. And it does make sense, because after all, SURVIVAL HAS JUST BECOME AN EXTREME SPORT.
Watching this movie is like drinking flaming whiskey shots, punching yourself in the face, and screaming as loud as you can in a small room.
#3: North Shore
When I first started surfing, I lived and died by this movie. Now when I hear someone quoting it, I automatically assume they’re new and drop in on them. That’s terrible, but it’s true. Is it really so hard to believe that a kid from Arizona could go from being the wave pool champion to master of the surfing world in a measly three months? Yes, Mr. Director, it is. I have an easier time believing in the plot line from Harry and the Hendersons than I do this movie. If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to. The most amazing thing about it is the number of cameos from legitimate surfers. Gerry Lopez, Laird, Occy (who, as much as I love him, is not a good actor. At all), Shawn Tompson, Hans Heiderman, Mark Foo, Derek Ho… the list is ridiculous. I don’t know how they all managed to sign on. Rick Cain (Arizona wave pool champ) wins $500 and takes it to the North Shore, where he gets dealt with at Pipe, scorned by locals, then somehow turns it around to become the people’s champ at Pipeline, all in three months. He totally gets lei’d, too. And then he leaves. What the heck, Rick!
Watching this movie is like drinking coconut rum in front of a fan in a room full of white curtains.
#4: Point Break
I’m not going to lie. I’ve watched this movie upwards of 50 times. I can quote almost the entire thing. You probably have too. What’s not to like? If there’s one role that Keanu Reeves is made for, it’s this one. This one and whichever one he was in the Bill and Ted movies. Basically, put him in a role where he’s a dumb guy, and he’s a genius. Between surfing, bank robbing, skydiving, and Gary Busey’s giant teeth, there’s almost nothing left to be desired. It’s also pretty cool when Anthony Kiedis blows his foot off when the cops raid his house that’s full of boobs, guns, and drugs. And if liking that makes me dumber, then so be it.
Watching this movie is like doing peyote at a college football game while wearing a rubber mask.
#5: Blue Crush
This is one of those movies that’s bordering on not quite bad enough to be good. It’s really close to being averagely bad, which, if you’ll remember, is way worse than being so bad it’s good. With the exception of a few terribly obvious floating faces on a surfing double’s body, the footage is actually half decent. The first time I watched this movie, I was sitting in a camper on British Columbia’s west coast, freezing cold, eating raw hotdogs and chasing them with whiskey to stay warm. Our wetsuits had ice on them outside, and Blue Crush made me hate where I was living. It made me want to leave for the tropics. I’m not sure if that’s good, but it did something to me, which is what a lot of movies strive for, right?
Watching this movie is like rubbing your feet in the sand with a sunburn while eating a blue snow cone.