Ride the Wild Surf (1964): Surfing Adventure, Starring Fabian and Tab Hunter

Unlike most beach party movies, Ride the Wild Surf focuses on the sports and surfers rather than on romantic adventures or musical numbers.

The film was written by Jo and Art Napoleon, who traveled with lenser Joseph Biroc to Hawaii to shoot surf footage of surfers. They filmed at Haleiwa, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and Waimea Bay. The surfers included Mickey Dora (who doubled for Fabian’s character), Phil Edwards, Rusty Miller, and Mark Hyson.

Three surfers, Jody Wallis (Fabian), Steamer Lane (Tab Hunter), and Chase Colton (Peter Brown), arrive in Hawaii’s Oahu Island to ride the world’s biggest waves and compete against other surfers.

Steamer falls in love with Lily Kilua (Susan Hart), whose mother objects to the romance because she considers surfers to be “beach bums”; her husbans left the family to follow the surf circuit.

College dropout and surf bum Jody falls for the demure Brie Matthews (Shelley Fabares), who challenges him to return to college. meanwhile, he is pursued by the adventurous Augie Poole (Barbara Eden).

The main story, though, is the challenge to surf the waves at Waimea Bay, and fit in among the champion surfers there, such as Eskimo (James Mitchum).

Despite conflicts, injuries and rocky romances, Wallis, Chase and Steamer prove themselves brave—or crazy—enough to try to be the last one to ride in the highest wave.

Also, the film has only one pop song, the titular Jan and Dean track, which is heard once at the end of the film.

Fabian as Jody Wallis
Tab Hunter as Steamer Lane
Peter Brown as Chase Colton
Shelley Fabares as Brie Matthews
Barbara Eden as Augie Poole
Susan Hart as Lily Kilua
Anthony Hayes as Frank Decker
Murray Rose as Swag


TCM showed the movie on June 17, 2020.