Surf Comedy: Five Classics You Can Watch For Free Right Now
Pop the corn, Doped Youth, Nix Nic Nooley, and more are waiting for a rewatch!Read more
At a glance, you’d think that comedy in surfing was limited to Trump impressions with a surf bent, and Mad Hueys drinking out of footwear. Grim. But there are so many great moments in surfing’s history where surfing is genuinely, properly funny. From Jack McCoy’s Kong’s Island, to pretty much any film Bruce Brown made, to Shane Dorian and Shaun Tomson’s performances in In God’s Hands (comedy gold!).
This list here is by no means the best of the best of the best of the best, but it’s some pretty good shit, and most importantly, it’s free, and even more most importantly, they’ll give you a chuckle. So here, in no particular order, are five of the best full length comedy surf movies that can be found and watched on the Internet right now:
Surf Madness (2011)
When Dion and Dane were leading the way with surf blogs and self produced high quality surf content, on the periphery was a free surfer by the name of Sterling Spencer, backed by a company named Billabong, who could be the most naturally funny and most off-beat personality we’ve seen in surfing. From his voice-over clips (google: “Jeremy Flores read some books”), to his ridiculous origin story of constantly referring to himself as a centaur, to creating a full length surf film where the opening scene is him and Taj surfing, and ripping, while wearing crocs, he produced absolute gold through the surf blog era. Surf Madness is a great film that is worth a revisit, or 20, and features a sweet soundtrack of the likes of Ty Segall and Crystal Stilts and an epic cast from Billabong team with some quality freesurfers added to the mix, like Craig Anderson, Nate Tyler, and Warren Smith.
Most quotable line: “I’m filming Jordy.”
Best section: If it’s not Rasta’s waves being soundtracked to nothing but whale sounds (11.40), it has to be voice over of Jordy Smith’s filmer (8.45). Amazing.
Doped Youth (2003)
Is this whole article nothing but a dressed up reason to post this film here? Of course, and I regret nothing. Doped Youth, released as a cover-mount on the now defunct Waves Magazine (then edited by current WSL commentator Ronnie Blakey) is the jewel in the crown of legendary surf comedy. An actual storyline? Check. A main cast of pro surfers doing terrible acting? Check. Very good surfing? Check. Rad soundtrack? You better believe that’s a check. And, finally, incredible surfer cameos? Holy mother of Kelly, check check check and check. Written, directed, and starring Ozzie Wright and Vaughan Blakey, this film makes Star Wars references, Amelie references, Eight Mile references, dick jokes, and in the end had the audacity to give it an un-happy ending. Doped Youth gets better with every year. Watch it now. Watch it tomorrow. Watch it forever!
Most quotable line: “Who the fuck are them fuck pricksssssaaah?” – Joel Parkinson/Greasy
Best section: Ozzie Wright to “Like A Mother Fucker From Hell” by The Datsuns (17.00).
Surfing Hollow Days (1961)
Part of the excellent back-catalogue of Bruce Brown films that someone has illegally bootlegged onto YouTube, this one comes a few years before the 1964/66 masterpiece of Endless Summer, and while it’s not as funny, or as polished, as that, you can see the development of Bruce Brown’s timing and drawl in his trademark narration here. And it is funny in parts, and not just to hear Trestles pronounced as “The Trestle”, nor the ridiculous surf lifesaving carnival in Sydney.
The surfing is good too, the sequence of Phil Edwards and Paul Witzig surfing the Pass (or Byron Point, as they call it here), with just the two of them out is great, but the highlight has to be the iconic sequence of Phil Edwards surfing The Pipeline for the first time and then returning the next day to surf it again, this time pumping.
Most quotable line: “We went up to Queensland with about 20 surfers, which in Australia means about two cars full.”
Best section: Phil Edwards at The Pipeline, obviously. (1.05.45)
Nix Nic Nooley (2015)
The spiritual sequel to Doped Youth made by its two biggest fans. Filmmaker Toby Cregan and his best friend, superstar freesurfer Creed McTaggart grew up obsessed with Doped Youth, and as a side project made the best surf comedy narrative film since it, in their spare time. What’s best about this film is that it was made in the era of horrible Internet scrutiny shitting on anyone who tries to do something creative and fun, and they subvert the trolls by playing up to them. Beau Foster plays a pretty girl, Ellis Ericson plays a holier than now soul surfer, etc. Plus, it has time travel in it. Who doesn’t love time travel in a surf movie?!
Most quotable line: “Yeah, I’m the retro shaper surfer soul guy.” or “Woah, this thing looks like a piece of shit dude.” – Ellis Ericson
Best section:A tie between Creed’s section to “I Wish I Was Him” by a super young Ben Lee, and Duncan McNicol’s “Everybody Loves Fruits and Vegetables” for the kick-flip attempt sequence alone.
The Shaper (2012)
Well, it’s not quite a full length surf film… or a surf film at all. It’s more a comedy short that’s based in surfing, but The Shaper is just too damn good to not include here. There are two other films by this crew out of London by the name of Crayfish films, one about vanlife, another about a surf trip to Iceland, and those are both good, but this one here is the best in the series.
Most quotable line: “Bob McTavish shortened the board, you had George Greenough’s fin designs, and then you had me. Were any of my designs good? No. Were any of my designs great? Absolutely not.”
Or… “The wave fucker.”