North Shore the Movie

In my opinion North Shore is the greatest film of all time.
Released 14 August 1987, the film is a 80s cult classic about friendship and surfing – as well as earning and offering respect, learning from each other and a reminder not to take life too seriously – not everyone makes it pro.

I watched this movie endlessly in the 90s after buying the only copy from the local video store when it closed down. The movie, the music, the culture all resonated with me and was a perfect fit in a period of my coming-of-age. Living in the UK only a few miles from the coast I spent every summer surfing and mucking around on the beach with a group of like-minded friends. North Shore was always in the VHS playing in the background and we would constantly quote Turtle’s lines. Yeah.. No!

The movie celebrates it’s 30 years anniversary this year (2017) and I’m approaching 40. I studied art and design for 5 years, then forged a living in the design industry before setting up my own design company and small surfing business. I’ve also been lucky enough to have travelled the world living and breathing surfing – taking the values of North Shore with me.

William Phelps and Co. did a fantastic job, the surfing cinematography is truly amazing for the era, the pro surfers of the 80s grant the movie kudos. Yes, the love storyline is cheesy, the one-liners are just stunning, but that is exactly what makes the movie all the better and everyone who watches it takes a one-liner or two with them to the beach.

Stay loose haoles! – Chad

Chad (WSC Owner) Raglan, New Zealand
Chad (WSC Owner)
South Coast of UK (pic from awesome point break Raglan N.Z.)
Chad (WSC Owner)
At the local surf shop loving a visit from BodyBoard Champions Jay Reale and Mike Stewart (28th Aug 1992)

The Movie

The Peak… The Dream… The Ultimate Test.

On a small stretch of coastline as powerful as a man’s will, Rick Kane came to surf the big waves. He found a woman who could give him courage, a teacher who would show him how to survive, and a challenge unlike any other.

Before entering art school next autumn, Rick sets out to spend the summer surfing at Hawaii. He knows nothing about the local habits, what causes him some starting problems, but by chance he gets a room in the house of guru Chandler. He teaches him the difference between ‘soul surfers’ and those who surf for fame and money. Also he manages to get the attention of a beautiful young native Hawaiian girl which brings local hostility to his shores.

William Phelps also recruited some of world’s best surfers to make guest appearences in the movie. North Shore features professional surfers Shaun Tomson, Gerry Lopez (“Vince”), Laird Hamilton (“Lance Burkhart”), Mark “Occy” Occhilupo, Robbie Page (“Alex Rogers”), Mark Foo, Derek Ho, Hans Hedemann, Ken Bradshaw, Christian “the KID” Fletcher, Lord James Blears and several others. The character of Rick Kane was loosely based on Connecticut born surfer Benjamin “Barney” Partyka. The first-ever professional surfer, who rose to surfing fame in the 60s, voted world greatest surfer in 1968, Corky Carroll, plays the competition announcer in the film.

William Phelps also recruited some of world’s best surfers to make guest appearences in the movie. Real-life surfing champions Shaun Tomson, Derek Ho, Mark “Occy” Occhilupo, Laird Hamilton, Robbie Page all appeared in the movie with cameo roles.

North Shore Movie Poster
This is the original 1987 North Shore Movie Poster in A1 size, framed and photographed by myself and digitally enhanced and corrected. It’s very high quality, one of a kind poster and ready for you to download and print yourselves.

The Soundtrack

I spent several years buying CD imports from Australia and USA and writing countless emails to all the below artists – these were the days before iTunes Music Store! I finally completed the full list in 2006. Please agree to purchase the music off iTunes where available.

Researching the title track North Shore Roar was an especially poignant journey. I soon found that the artist Paul Delph died of aids in 1996. Paul’s Mum told me he was very proud to be part of the movie and Paul kept a signed framed poster of the movie in one of his rooms in his house. She also kindly released this track to me in 2002 – it’s from a tape recording Pauls friend Andy kept, digitized and sent to me. If you download the song please donate an iTunes amount or more to (RED) aids charity.

1) “Living in a Dream” by Psuedo Echo
2) “This is Australia” (Sounds of then) by Ganggajang | Purchase
3) “Be My Lover” by Nia Peebles
4) “Blue Hotel” by Chris Isaak | Purchase
5) “M Style” by Lords of the New Church | Purchase
6) “Party Next Door” by Black Uluru | Purchase
7) “Body and the Beat” by Dragon / Mark Hunter | Purchase
8) “Shine” by Kids in the Kitchen
9) “Am I The One” by Gary Wright | Purchase
10) “Feel the Spirit” by Wailing Souls | Purchase
11) “Chessboards” by Killing Joke | Purchase
12) “Nature of the Beast” by Angel City
13) “Listening” by Pseudo Echo | Purchase
14) “Stonewall” by The Angels | Purchase
15) “Happy to Give” by Journey | Purchase
16) “Funky Town” by by Pseudo Echo | Purchase
17) “North Shore Roar” by Paul Delph | Donate to RED charity

Download Album – only if you agree to purchase available music on iTunes.

Open soundtrack in new window

North Shore Soundtrack
North Shore Soundtrack Artwork – Created by Chad

The Cast

Directed by William Phelps
Produced by Bill Finnegan, Tim McCanlies
Written by Randal Kleiser, Tim McCanlies, William Phelps

Matt Adler as Rick Kane
Nia Peeples as Kiani
John Philbin as Turtle
Gerry Lopez as Vince Maloaka
Gregory Harrison as Chandler
Laird Hamilton as Lance Burkhart
John Paragon as Professor
Rocky Kauanoe as Rocky
Lokelani Lau as Anela
Christina Raines as Ricks Mother

Pro Surfers
Mark Occhilupo “Occy”
Hans Hedemann
Derek Foo
Mark Foo
Ken Bradshaw
Mike Latronic
James Jones
Max Madeiros
Scott Daley
Aaron Napoleon
Christian “The Kid” Fletcher
Davey Miller
Mickey Nielsen

Production company: Finnegan/Pinchuk Productions

North Shore Boys when filming the movie – Feb to April 1987.

Celebrating 30 years anniversary

In previous years the cast have met up. Will the cast of North Shore meet and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie?

On a recent balmy evening, actor Gregory Harrison sat with surf legend Peter ‘PT’ Townend to discuss the 30-year anniversary of North Shore. In the film, Harrison played Chandler – a wise ‘soul-surfer’ who takes young Rick Kane under his wing. And with a salt-n-pepper goatee/hair combo, Harrison projected the same sagacious air of his famed role.

“The character was based on yourself, somewhat, wasn’t it?” PT asked.

“It really was,” said Harrison. “When I started surfing, I was drawn to the solidarity of it, almost like a religiosity. It was a time before Surfline and you really had to build your life around it, you know, figuring out swells and winds, and getting in the car to go out and find waves. It’s my drug. If they had a 12-step program for surfing, we’d all be in it. [Laughs.] But there shouldn’t be; although sometimes my wife thinks otherwise.”

Ultimately, that surfing background helped Harrison land a leading spot in 1987’s North Shore. “I thought, ‘this is great,’” Harrison said. “Go over to Hawaii, have Da Hui clear the lineups for us, and surf. But who knew that 30 years later, people would be coming up to me and quoting my lines that I’ve since forgotten.”

After three decades, Harrison is still in touch with his costars, including Gerry Lopez, Matt Adler (Rick Kane), and the endearing numbskull, Turtle, played by John Philbin. “What a great performance that was,” Harrison said of Philbin. “Turtle was based on a real guy, and John went out three weeks early to spend time with him, studying him, learning the pidgin dialect.” And in between acting gigs, Harrison still goes on surf trips – one recently with Alder to the Mentawais – where he was asked to recite “Chandler” lines in exchange for priority on set waves.

“It wasn’t a hit at the time,” Harrison disclosed about the film. “Universal was really unhappy with the response because it didn’t tap into the middle of America. But today we still get packed audiences for screenings with people dressed as the characters. We didn’t expect that. It was one of those that really snuck up on us.”

In other words, a timeless piece of surf and cinema nostalgia.

North Shore cast celebrating the film's 20th anniversary in 2007
North Shore cast celebrating the film’s 20th anniversary in 2007

Turle’s Quotes

Rick: So this is where you work Turtle?
Turtle: Only when da surf’s bad, Barney. Cause’ when da surf’s good, nobody works!
Turtle: Stay loose, haole.
Rick: What’s a haole?
Turtle: A tourist, a mainlander, like you.
Rick: I’m not a tourist.
Turtle: Whatever, Barney.
Rick: What’s a Barney?
Turtle: It’s like Barno… Barnyard… a haole to the max, a kook in and out of the water. Yeah?

“I’ve seen bigger waves in a toilet”

“What ya going to do, snake him”

“Stay loose haole”

“That board looks familiar, what ya do, buy it used”

and my fav “Shaka-til-ya-fradda-cos-your-nothin-but-a-bradda”!

Buy a copy of this shirt on the shop!

Real life connection

Laird Hamilton’s adoptive father Bill Hamilton was a surfboard shaper and glasser on Oahu in the 1960s and 1970s and owned a small business handmaking custom, high-performance surfboards for the Oahu North Shore big wave riders of the era, similar to the character Chandler in the film. In reality, Laird is a big wave rider and loathes competition like the Chandler character does.

Fun Facts

Before John Philbin could land the role of Turtle he had to convince the producers he could pull it off. So he flew to Hawaii for a few months prior to principal photography to get in shape, learn to surf, and perfect the local accent so his pidgin would sound convincing. He got so into surfing that to this day he still surfs and helps operate a surfing school.

As seen on the most recent DVD release of the film, originally the role of Kiani was played by another actress. However when she didn’t work out they brought in Nia Peeples to re-shoot all her scenes. The film’s original ending can be seen in the special features of the DVD.

Matt Alder, Gregory Harrison, and John Philbin actually did their own surfing while the pro surfers were used as stunt doubles for the more difficult manoeuvres.

The late singer/ukulele musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole starred in the movie. He’s best known for his song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow & What A Wonderful world”.

The Press pack

Ricks Drawing

Movie End Shot – A freeze-frame of Vince Maloaka
north Shore ending

The painting by Rick Kane

20 thoughts on “North Shore the Movie

  1. This was a great movie. I still watch it a couple times a month.

    Thanks for making this website!

  2. OMGodzilla!!! Thank you SO MUCH for making this website! The North Shore movie has played a huge role in my humble life and I’ve watched it so many times I can throw out quotes like you wouldn’t believe. I have it on DVD now but for many years only had a copied version on VHS (whom the owner of my local video store at the time would transfer for for a fee way back when) and I also have a 11×17 poster on my wall.
    I have followed Laird Hamilton aka Lance Burkhart for years. One of the BEST surfers on the globe IMO. And have always had a crush on Nia Peeples (who doesn’t, right?!)
    But I MUST thank you the most for all the work you’ve done in finding all the awesome tunes that were featured in this movie! MY LIFE IS NOW COMPLETE!
    “Here on the North Shore we treat friends mo’ betta.”
    Thanks for being a mo’ betta friend to all of us haoles! 🙂

  3. Wow just found this page. Thanks for doing it. I have loved this film since 87. I have 4 copies on vhs and two on DVD. It was always my dream since seeing the film to surf the waves of the north shore and in 2015 I did it. Being from the UK our surf is at best random so it was so nice to surf in warm water and just like Rick I felt like a Barney. Hang loose. Can I order a tee shirt for post to the UK?

  4. Thanks for creating this page.I have been a huge fan of the film since I was 12 and saw it on VHS in 1988.I was at the 25th Anniversary screening in 2012 at The Aero in Santa Monica,California.The screening was great and the Q&A afterwards {with most of the cast} was a dream to see live.I wrote a whole piece on it on the IMDB boards but it has all been erased.I remember a bunch of it so here goes….
    The print of the film was good,but grainy like the DvD towards the beginning.There were a bunch of Who-y stories {a real surf gang} but the main one was the FBI wanted the crew to testify against them for extortion because the cast paid them to keep other surfers out of there shots when they were filming the surf scenes,except where need be.Nia Peeples said when she was riding the horse on the beach scene it ran so fast it ripped off her shirt completely and she was mortified.John Philbin said he wasn’t sure if the Turtles in Finding Nemo were a tribute to him or not 16 years later but he loved them anyways.He also said he would always see a shirt with Matt Adler on it that would say “I’m Rick Kane Bitch”,funny stuff.A laird Hamilton story was told where a kid thought he was really LB and when laird went to shake his hand the kid said “I don’t shake hands with cheaters”.Matt Adler talked about filming and being in other 80s films.Then Gregory Harrison talked about North Shore Part 2 and said they wanted to do it in 2002 but Universal didn’t want to and they did not want to see the rights either.Probably for the best,keep it a classic….so you like that story?…yeah…NO!!

  5. Muito bom encontar uma página que homenageie este filme. Na minha modesta opinião, o melhor filme de surf de todos os tempos. Trilha sonora fantástica. Elenco de primeira grandeza. Também possuo minha camiseta do Chandler e a trilha sonora. O melhor de tudo, é saber que tem muitas pessoas que, assim como eu (haoles), também amam este filme e que jamais o esquecerão. Aloha. ” Rick, olhe no horizonte…é, uma grande série vem vindo ai…e você tem que estar aonde?”

  6. Woooouu!! Paraben Brother! Muito bom o seu site! Eu amo o filme North Shore, é o melhor, the best, the best!!!

  7. J O J to finding this site!
    Amazing work, I’ve been in love with north shore since I was about 12, and now scraping 40 and finding a copy on dvd about 3 years ago I’ve been spreading the stoke to my 3 grommets, my 6 year old son is so determined to be turtle that he’s been working out how to get wavy hair! His older sisters even got the bug and it’s become a firm family favourite , I could go on for hours about how much I love this film, tried spreading the stoke to my mates but they didn’t get it, they aren’t soul surfers, they just wanna go shred! 😉 still my lifelong dream to make it to the north shore , if nothing else than to stand on the beach and say “spit, welcome to pipe” and one day I will get drilled real bad there-and hopefully gain my own reef rash , as I live in the uk 3hours from the nearest waves my surfing skills should make that ambition easy , as a flat water local I’m pleased to bring my own little bit of north shore philosophy to the world of stand up paddle boarding, and will be ordering some of your epic gear, gotta get a chandler sticker on my board!
    Big mahalo to you building this site , pleased to see that still “here on the north shore we treat our friends mo better” 🙂

  8. Awesome comment brah – I had to create something to spread the North Shore legacy. My kids love it too and my wife thinks it’s mad that there are so many barnies out there linked together. I’m in the UK too and only a few minutes from the sea.


  9. Haole Texan here,

    Super stoked on my new Chandler Surfboards Shirt, I got one about a decade ago from a guy but unfortunately it was damaged and became a wall hanger after that. You’ve done a great job on the site and the stickers are just so good even rocky would try an steal them. Here on the Texas coast we don’t get big waves but at least they aren’t in a wave pool or else I would be a Barney! Hang Loose, bruddha!

  10. Great site, so very cool idea, back when i was a teen i had it on VHS, and watch it over and over, i had tons of surfer magazines, and till now i still think 80s surfing was the coolest ! great job thanks for keeping alive the North Shore vibe bro !

  11. Great website! I just found the DVD and viewed NS earlier this week. It still is everything it’s cracked up to be and more. The movie hits really close to home, as some scenes were filmed at the spot I usually surf and treasure, Leftovers. My daughter grew up playing in that tide pool. A few years after the movie came out, an underground shaper much like Chandler occupied that old red beach house that I used to line up myself at the break. He let me watch him shape a few boards when I was learning the craft. It’s gone now, replaced by a bamboo house the owner imported from Viet Nam. Probably the most surreal experience I’ve ever had took place about 10 yrs. ago in the leftovers car park. I was toweling myself off after a surf session when this SUV pulls up and out comes John Philbin. “Turtle!” I exclaimed, as I stuck my hand out to shake his. “My name’s John”, he responded as we exchanged grips. I guess he wants to outgrow his Turtle character but sorry, no way! He grabbed his board and made his way through the Rocky shore that fronts Leftovers for an evening session.

  12. I watched this movie as a kid and could never remember the name of it until I was in college in the 90’s. Thanks to the internet I was able to figure it out and ordered the VHS tape. I still watch this movie a lot and the music is fantastic. It took me years in the early 2000’s to assemble the entire soundtrack. Some classics in there. It really is a feel good fun movie with some classic lines that are recited by me regularly. Love the site. Keep up the good work.

  13. Parabéns !!! Belo trabalho !! A chama ainda vive. Tenho o velho VHS do filme. Assisto direto. Uso como fuga do mundo falso e mentiroso que vivo. É onde eu queria estar. Sobre o alinhamento das ondas. Com pessoas boas, positivas,honestas e sem interesse apenas em dinheiro e estatus, que nada significa pra Deus e seu filho. NORTH SHORE é uma volta a vida simples. Em que as pessoas olhavam em seus olhos, e havia amor,amizade e respeito. Assisti lo é como por algumas horas fazer parte dessa história…Grande abraço !! Aloha, Gratidão !!

  14. Try Look!

  15. Try Look! We need a sequel!

  16. I lived on Sunset Beach w Betty Surratt , a roommate, in 1988 and bought a used board from a guy on the beach, an 8’2” Bradshaw, thruster, assymetrical tail, shapers name on board, Chandler. Told this board was in the movie, North Shore? Does anyone know this board?

  17. Don’t forget Occie in your list of pro surfers! He was legit!

  18. I grew up near the coast and my mates and I used to rent this video from the video shop in Braunton nearly every weekend as something to watch after we’d been surfing.

    Loved the music, the quotes, the hammy acting by Occy and Pagey.

    The best Hollywood surf movie ever (Surf’s Up which is basically the cartoon version of North Shore is about the only other that comes close!).

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