ByMatt Kranis, writer at
President of the Salacious Crumb Fan Club. Staff Writer at Movie Pilot. Twitter: @Matt_Kranis
Matt Kranis

As The Shallows proves, surfing is a pretty dangerous sport. The survival horror film stars Blake Lively as a wave rider who gets stranded offshore and must come up against a bloodthirsty shark as she attempts to return to safety — making it perfectly clear that you should never go in the ocean.

While The Shallows goes for maximum thrills, it reminds us of two important facts — sharks are terrifying and surfing is gnarly. You guys are already familiar with cinema's greatest shark kills, so to celebrate the new film's release, we're taking a look at their favorite prey — surfers! We've rounded up some of the most awesome surfers from movie history, sure to inspire you to hit the beach, paddle out and catch a few waves of your own.

Anne Marie Chadwick — Blue Crush (2002)

If you're looking for a solid take on the traditional surfer narrative, you'll want to check out Blue Crush.

The film follows surfer Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) as she preps for a competition with hopes of going pro. But what sets the movie apart is the drama surrounding the sport. Anne Marie lives in Hawaii, but it isn't quite the island paradise you'd expect. She basically lives in poverty, working as a maid at a resort hotel just to make ends meet. Thankfully, her surfing excursions are brought to life with exhilarating camerawork that makes you feel like you're in the waves. You can also watch Blue Crush for free on Crackle.

Mike Hynson & Robert August — The Endless Summer (1966)

Documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown immortalized '60s surf culture in The Endless Summer, capturing surfers Hynson and August on their global quest to find the perfect wave.

The documentary didn't have much of a plot, but Hynson and August's adventures around the world inspired a new, ahem, wave of surfers to hunt for more unique locales to enjoy the sport. But most importantly, the film is partly responsible for popularizing surfing across the country, extending its reach beyond the California coast and Hawaiian islands. Even if you're not a surfer, you'll be able to appreciate August and Hynson's graceful moves.

Chad Gates — Blue Hawaii (1961)

Who would have guessed that Elvis Presley could surf?

This comedy musical showed us a new side to the swivel-hipped superstar, casting him as a soldier having just returned to his native Hawaii after a stint in the US Army. And after serving our country, the dude just wants to chill on the beach, sing songs and surf. Like most of the King's movies, this one's just an excuse to see him belt out his hits, and those crooning skills plus a little wave riding are what landed him on our list.

Cody Maverick — Surf's Up (2007)

Before his performance-art days, Shia LaBeouf was just your typical young actor ready to soar to stardom. And that plan included providing the voice for a talking penguin in an animated surf mockumentary.

The movie paid homage to surf-umentaries like The Endless Summer, with a goofy penguin-filled cast led by LaBeouf's Cody Maverick. The character's exactly what you'd expect — a down-on-his-luck kid ready for bigger and better things — but the movie's laid-back style combats the familiar trope. Cody's quest to become a legend provides a surprisingly fresh and fun change of pace from the animated norm.

Silver Surfer — Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007)

The Silver Surfer was voiced by Laurence Fishburne.
The Silver Surfer was voiced by Laurence Fishburne.

Surfing on the water is for freakin' nerds. Real surfers take to the skies, and nobody does it better than the Silver Surfer.

The character is a bright spot in the otherwise drab Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, bringing a shot of Marvel's crazy cosmic universe to the big screen. He zips through the air with ease, going head to head with the Fantastic Four before helping them save the world yet again. We're just hoping we can see the Surfer on the big screen in a future Marvel movie.

Johnny Utah — Point Break (1991)

You can't talk about big-screen surfers without bringing up the quintessential '90s classic Point Break. Of course, that's due in large part to Keanu Reeves' winning performance as undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah.

Utah's tasked with infiltrating a group of surfers believed to be bank robbers, leading him on an insane adventure packed to the brim with action. From surfing and bank robberies to insane skydiving, you can barely catch a breath. But most interesting is how Utah almost comes to empathize with the gang. They aren't robbing banks for the money — they're just rebelling against a system that kills the soul. That's some deep surfer philosophy, man.

The Shallows is in theaters now. Who are some of your favorite cinematic surfers? Let us know in the comments below.


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