Ride the Wild Surf


Frothy and lightly sermonizing 1964 Columbia Pictures movie about three California surfers visiting Oahu's North Shore in search of big-wave thrills and tropical romance. Jody Wallis, Steamer Lane, and Chase Colton (Fabian, Tab Hunter, and Peter Brown, respectively) find plenty of surf, and Jody wins the climactic big-wave showdown at Waimea Bay, but each comes to realize that full-time surfing just isn't compatible with responsible adult living. Shelley Fabares (Coach) and Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie) play the two female leads.

Ride the Wild Surf, well-budgeted at $2.5 million, was a big step removed from Hollywood's beach movie franchise (Beach Blanket Bingo, Muscle Beach Party), but the filmmakers nonetheless strayed often from surf world realities. "For instance," Surfing magazine asked in its 1964 review, "how is it that whenever the stars are wiped out and come to the surface the board is always there?" But Surfer also noted both agreed that the action sequences—shot with expensive 35-millimeter cameras at places like Sunset Beach, Pipeline, and Haleiwa, and spread generously throughout the movie—were first-rate.

The stunt-surfing for Ride the Wild Surf was done by many of the day's top riders, including Greg Noll, Mickey Dora, Mike Hynson, Butch Van Artsdalen, Rusty Miller, and Phil Edwards. Jan and Dean's "Ride the Wild Surf" theme song was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard charts.