For the past four years, Bodhi Surf + Yoga has had the unique honor and privilege of having an in-house, in-water surf photographer and videographer — Hannah Walsh. Anyone who has met Hannah knows that she is a light and an absolute delight to be around — always finding ways to spark interesting conversations, fun moments, and laughter. Yet she is very humble (and thus talks less) about her passion and talent as a storyteller and artist in the niche of in-water (oceans, lakes, rivers, surfing, bodysurfing, windsurfing, swimming, etc.). Hannah has been instrumental for Bodhi Surf + Yoga to tell this part of our story to the world — passion for nature, the ocean, and all things wave-sliding — via film and photo. In this blog, Hannah shares some of her own inspiration as a filmmaker, as well as problems (and solutions) she sees to make this industry more equitable and accurately represented.
Without further ado, we present to you our Ultimate Water, Wave-Sliding, and Surf Film Festival Line-up. Note that most of the short surf films are on the free video streaming services (Youtube or Vimeo). We include links to the trailers of the feature-length surf films, but they may need to be found (or rented) on some of the other streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney, or HBO).
Being a water baby, the ocean has always been my second home, though if I had it my way, it would be my first. It’s my source of inspiration, and as an aspiring filmmaker and water videographer, I’ve always wanted to spread this inspiration as far and wide as possible. This past season at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, I started running the weekly “Bodhi Surf Film Festival” whereby we would set up a projector on the yoga platform and watch films with our bodysurf, surf, and yoga camp guests that fuel their excitement for the rest of the week out in the surf.
These festivals have sparked this newfound passion of mine for not only making films, but curating line-ups that all viewers can connect to — and not just surfers. I believe that the best stories are the ones that have the ability to make viewers feel something beyond the subject matter of the film. Where they walk away feeling some type of spark, whether that be inspiration, passion, and or the desire to make positive change in their own lives.
After searching through hundreds of surf films across all platforms, I have found myself disappointed with the same themes and images played over and over again. My first point of observation being that surf films often do not reflect diversity in the lineups. Being a surfer myself, I know that all types of people are out there catching waves no matter their age, gender, race, or sexual orientation.
The sport of surfing has been notoriously dominated by masculinity, and has been slow to welcome those who sit outside of those parameters. It was just in 2018 that the World Surf League announced equal pay for men and women, a milestone accomplishment that was won through the hard work and dedication of the professional women surfers. There is still so much more work to be done in the sport to reach gender equality but even more so to cultivate a culture of acceptance in all realms. I personally believe the surfing industry’s largest space for growth is in diversification, and I hope that sharing this list can help in that mission.
Being someone who is fueled by optimism, I want to do my part in diversifying the sport of surfing by shining light onto stories that I believe accurately reflect the totality of what surfing is. This lineup of films reflects the different walks of life who choose to spend time in and around water to experience the Blue Mind paradigm. They are stories driven from passion, soul, creativity, and love for the ocean. The biggest goal being that if you’re a surfer or not, that you leave this surf film festival fueled to live your life more passionately. So put on some comfy clothes, grab some popcorn, sit back, and let these films stoke you!
This category of films shares the stories of those who are using the sport of surfing to spark positive change in the world. These wave-sliders have taken their love for the ocean and have committed to spreading it beyond themselves — into purposeful missions. These stories range from reducing the environmental impacts of surfing to fighting for equal opportunity in the water. We are living in a world where we have the opportunity to take our passions and turn them into ambitious and meaningful careers, which is exactly what these stories reveal.
These personal narratives share the stories of those who have dedicated their entire lives to be in and around the water. They have allowed the waves to shape where they choose to live, their careers, their travels, and ultimately help them find their chosen families. This category reflects that fact that the ocean never stops teaching lessons and those who choose to take them head on are blessed with an endless ride of growth and gratitude.
This category aims to share the stories of those often unseen in the world of surfing: the people behind the cameras! As a surf videographer myself, I understand the hard work and determination that must go into capturing photos and videos in the water. The job requires a combination of skill sets: being a strong swimmer, understanding of surfing, having ocean awareness + fast reflexes + a creative eye, all while working a camera in an ever changing playing field. In each film, these artists have taken their love for the ocean and found a way to tangibly share that with the world.
This category shines light onto another art within the sport of surfing: surfboard shaping. These artists have dedicated their lives to making boards of all shapes and sizes, and for any type of conditions. Due to the advancements in board shaping over the years, surfers are now able to ride bigger and more powerful waves. The real stories reflected in these films however, reveal the soul and passion that goes into crafting each and every surfboard.
This is my favorite category. These stories reflect the commitment and dedication of those who want to spend their lives riding waves — no matter the conditions. It is here that you will hear the stores of those who surf lakes, rivers, or freezing water; those who live out of their cars, bodysurfing, and ultimately finding endless solitude in uncrowded lineups. These stories prove that no matter where you live, wave-sliding is possible!
This category has the power to put views in a trance-like state and give them an unforgettable experience, as well as a newfound perspective of the water. Cameras that shoot one-thousand frames per second are used in some of these stories, revealing shots that are unseen to the human eye in real time. Sit back and prepare yourself for views you have likely never seen before, cultivating a greater love and appreciation for all things water.
This category is a recommendation list of surf documentaries (feature length films) that are available for purchase across multiple platforms. These films are filled with passion, humor, adventure, and endless love for wave-sliding. You will find yourself laughing one second and tearing up the next! All links below bring you to the official trailers of each film with information on where to stream. Get your snacks ready and prepare yourself for the ultimate surfing inspiration with these films.
These films are novelties that every surfer must see at least once. In some cases, once may be enough, but it is important to understand the history and evolution of surfing to fully grasp its full meaning today. These are some of the first documentaries to have been made about surfing and have paved the way for the rest of this line-up to exist today. Check out the trailers below.
If you are feeling like you want to watch an action-packed, feature-length movie about surf then this category is for you. These films are known around the world and were made on multi-million dollar budgets. After watching the rest of the line-up it is interesting to watch these Hollywood-style films as they are nothing if not reflections of the stereotypes in the surfing world. Nevertheless, they provide a fun night of laughter and action! Here are the trailers to get you excited.
The final category of films is made for kids who are looking for action packed and engaging surf movies. These two films are classic, and can be enjoyed by not just kids but also adults. Be prepared to laugh but also feel inspired from these animated characters! Here are the trailers to get you started.
I hope that you enjoyed this lineup of short films from the Bodhi Surf + Yoga Water, Wave-Sliding, and Surf Film Festival Line-up! Feel free to email us if you think of any other films you think should be included in this list, at hannah[at]bodhisurfyoga[dot]com!
Written by Hannah Walsh
Thanks for subscribing! Please check your email for further instructions.
Surfing is one of the least harmful tourist activities when compared to boating, snorkeling, and sport-fishing. However, it does have a significant environmental impact, often unseen by surfers themselves. The true environmental…
Keep reading ...
As a student at UCLA, it was my dream to write environmental policies and design laws to protect coastal zones. I studied Political Science and Environmental Systems and Society with the Institute…
The act of riding a wave, aka surfing, is nearly ineffable, indescribable. Despite that, the authors featured in our list of the 16 best surf books of all time did a pretty…
Get Step-by-Step Surf Lessons in Your Inbox
Learn to Catch Waves with our free 5-day email series from one of our lead surf instructors here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga.
Learn to Surf | “The Bodhi Path”
8 Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga |
Tropical Tidings | Travel Tips
This Class Is For Bodhi Online Members Only
Want in on the fun? Try Bodhi Online FREE for 14-days and get access to all of our courses!
Already a member? Click here to login