Apocalypse Now: surfing between napalm

"Apocalypse Now", one of the most famous war movies ever, hides several surfing secrets, memories and talks. The epic film was released in 1979 and showed a few surfing scenes in the middle of napalm, gun shots and explosions.


Ten years ago, "Apocalypse Now Redux" unveiled even more surfing. One of the stars of the waves is "Lance" B. Johnson, a famous blond and tanned Southern California surfer champion.

"It's unbelievable, it's just tube city", says Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall). Later, as choppers are menaced by Vietcong's rockets and gunfire, surfboards are loaded on the side of the command helicopter.

After destroying the waterfront Vietcong-controlled coastal village, Kilgore is looking forward to ride the "six foot swells". He asks a soldier: "you want to surf soldier?...That's good soldier, 'cause you either surf or fight, is that clear?".

Then, the mad Lieutenant shows Lance the unusually great surfing conditions. "One guy can break right, one left simultaneous".

But isn't it dangerous to surf during war times? The answer is clear. "If I say it's safe to surf this beach, Captain, it's safe to surf this beach. I'm not afraid to surf this place", says Bill Kilgore, while ripping off his own shirt.

No need to panic. In order to make the surfing beach even safer from sniper fire, he orders an additional air strike with napalm along the tree line.

A few years ago, the two surfboards used in "Apocalypse Now" were auctioned. One of them was a pintail model bearing the decal and logo of master shaper Reynolds Yater. The other was kept by director Francis Ford Coppola.

In fact, the precise origin of the two boards is still a mystery, more than 30 years after the release of the film. The extra footage released in 2011 includes the "Charlie's point" surfing sequence. The scene was filmed in the little seaside town of Baller, in the Philippines.Absolutely incredible movie. "Charlie don't surf".

Take a look at our complete collection of surf movies.