Leading up to the premiere of Jamie O'Brien's new surf film, Who is J.O.B.?, we couldn’t think of a better time to drop in with a top ten list of the best surfers on the silver screen - and we’re not talking about films with characters named Duke, Laird, Sunny, Rabbit or Occy, either. We could care less if these guys are Riding Giants, Stepping into Liquid or chasing The Endless Summer. This list is all about Hollywood’s search for the perfect wave, and by perfect wave we mean schlocky box office success.
#10: Rick Cane, North Shore
Pat Morita would be crushed if he were to get caught inside on a big North Shore day. For this very reason the producers brought in Trapper John M.D. and replaced Mr. Miyagi’s car wax with Mr. Zogg’s Sex Wax. This is the ultimate ‘80s storyline, which is just perfect because Nia Peeples is the ultimate ‘80s hottie. Let’s not forget Laird Hamilton, complete with body paint! We’re just stoked that Rick Cane pursued his totally tubular dream of conquering the North Shore instead of succumbing to alcohol poisoning as a freshman at ASU.
#9: Anne Marie Chadwick, Blue Crush
We haven’t seen this film but we’ve heard the cinematography is quite exceptional. From what we can tell it’s like North Shore but with chicks. But then North Shore is like The Karate Kid with surfers. And chicks! Before you comment, remember, Elizabeth Shue doesn’t count since she wasn’t completely ripe when she was rolling with Daniel-san. The most compelling part about this character is that she’s played by Kate Bosworth. In a bikini. Need we say more?
#8: Wilma Flintstone, The Flintstones
Before we saw this episode we always considered ourselves firmly encased within the Betty Rubble bubble (we’re also partial to Mary Ann - you got a problem with that?). But watching Wilma shoot the pier at Rock Island all while putting Fred in his place just plain does it for us. We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the way James Darren stepped out of type by showcasing his versatility as the voice of Jimmy Darrock.
#7: Matt Johnson, Jack Barlow & Leroy Smith, Big Wednesday
How can we limit our choice from this film to just one character? One of these guys went on to fly Airwolf and the other just flew himself as the Greatest American Hero while Busey survives as a walking PSA reminding kids to always wear a helmet. While many may blame his erratic behavior on that brain injury, after seeing this movie you’ll wonder if Gary Busey was ever anything but batshit crazy. Big Wednesday was one of the few Hollywood productions that truly captured surfing’s soul. Although did anyone else notice that in the penultimate scene the boys paddle out from Malibu’s infamous Surfrider and straight into the lineup at Hawaii’s Sunset Beach? Who cares, Gary Busey’s nuts!
#6: Bodhi, Point Break
Aaah, see what we did here? You thought we would go with the obvious choice but in the immortal words of that dude Tank Girl, Special Agent Johnny Utah has no business out here whatsoever! Keanu may be “The One” but Swayze’s the man here, dispensing such nuggets of wisdom as, “If you want the ultimate, you’ve got to be willing to pay the ultimate price.” Funny, that sounds like something that nut job Busey would say.
#5: Chad Gates, Blue Hawaii
You know there’s only one surfer cooler than Bodhi and that’s Elvis. In fact, in the Fifties and Sixties Elvis was the coolest Doughboy, racecar driver, cowboy, carnie, inmate, boxer, sailor, pilot and water-ski instructor ever. So if Elvis wants to surf you can bet he’ll be King of the Beach. And then he’ll sing about it. To a pack of women ready and willing to do anything. Peanut Butter and banana sandwiches for everyone!
#4: Freddy Shoop, Summer School
Way before Hunky Harmon was a Special Agent in Charge and shortly after he was shilling beer he taught summer school, which didn’t exactly fit into his carefree laid back surfing lifestyle. We don’t know why he was complaining; his class featured a voluptuous foreign exchange student - a young, nubile Courtney Thorne-Smith - and Kirstie Alley back when she was a mega hottie instead of just, um, mega.
#3: Jimmy Slade, Baywatch
Here’s a case of life imitating art. When Baywatch producers needed a surfer they couldn’t do any better than Kelly Slater. What a perfect pairing for a show that prided itself on the accurate portrayal of Los Angeles County Lifeguards skilled in the art of the slow-mo beach bounce run (not that we’re complaining). Still, we have to wonder if Slats did his own stunts.
#2: Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, Apocalypse Now
If Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore says it’s safe to surf this beach, Captain, then it’s safe to surf this beach. Besides, Charlie don’t surf!
#1: Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Seriously, was there ever any doubt? If we were allowed we would have awarded the other nine slots to everyone’s favorite slacker as well. Jeff Spicoli epitomizes the good, the bad and the fugly of the prototypical surfer. He is the reason we want to surf. To this day Spicoli remains as fresh as a virgin pair of checkerboard Vans, and if you don’t agree with us then we’re gonna kick one-hundred percent of your ass, mister
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