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Surf's Up

Surf's Up is a 2007 American computer-animated mockumentary comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation. Directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, the film features the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, Mario Cantone, James Woods, and Diedrich Bader. It is a parody of surfing documentaries, such as The Endless Summer and Riding Giants, with parts of the plot parodying North Shore. Real-life surfers Kelly Slater and Rob Machado have vignettes as their penguin surfer counterparts. To obtain the desired hand-held documentary feel, the film's animation team motion-captured a physical camera operator's moves.


17-year old Cody Maverick, a young northern rockhopper penguin who lives in Shiverpool, Antarctica, with his mother Edna and his older brother Glen, is visited by a reality film crew who begin filming a documentary about his aspiration to make it as a surfer. Cody has yearned to be a professional surfer ever since meeting the famous surfer Big Z many years ago, so when a talent scout shorebird named Michael Abromowitz arrives to find entrants for the Big Z Memorial surfing contest on Pen-Gu Island, Cody jumps at the chance. En route to the contest, Cody befriends another entrant, Chicken Joe, a nice, but dim-witted rooster surfer from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The entrants arrive at Pen-Gu Island, where Cody meets and immediately falls in love with Lani Aliikai, a female gentoo penguin who is a lifeguard. He also meets the contest's arrogant champion, Tank "The Shredder" Evans, who has won the Big Z Memorial nine times since it was first held after Z's presumed death during a previous match ten years ago. Cody sees Tank vandalizing Big Z's memorial and immediately challenges him to a surfing duel. Tank wins the duel while Cody nearly drowns and is stung by a sea urchin named Ivan. Lani rescues him and takes him to her uncle, "Geek", to help Cody recover from his injuries. Cody wakes up, but cannot find the souvenir necklace given to him as a child by Big Z. Geek then finds it in his hut.

While returning the necklace, Geek finds Cody sitting on a koa log and offers to help him make a surfboard. They attempt to take the log back to Geek's house, only to lose control of it and end up on a beach far away from the house. When Cody gets to the beach, he discovers a shack full of old trophies and surfboards, which used to belong to Big Z. After observing Geek walking sadly into the shack, he realizes that Geek is actually Big Z and asks him to teach him how to surf. Z reluctantly agrees, but tells Cody he has to make his own board first. The attempt does not go well, however, as an impatient Cody refuses to listen to Z's advice and crafts a weak and unstable board that shatters upon hitting the water. Angry, Cody storms off and runs into Lani, who eventually persuades him to return. Cody spends the night working patiently on a new board.

Z compliments Cody on his new board, and Cody is eager to start training. Z instead has him do menial tasks seemingly unrelated to surfing. Finally, when Cody starts having fun, Z and Lani teach him how to surf the waves. Afterwards, Cody asks Z if he will come watch the contest, but Z refuses, revealing that he faked his death because he realized he couldn't compete with his then-new rival Tank, and that he had become too focused on winning. Not impressed that Z gave up, Cody throws the necklace Z gave him into the sea, meets up with Joe, and gets back to the contest just as it begins.

Tank makes it to the finals, as do Cody and Joe. In the semifinals, Tank battles with Cody, with Tank trying to throw him off his board, but Tank falls off his own board and loses. During the finals, however, Tank appears and tries to knock Joe off his board. Cody intervenes at the last minute, sending himself and Tank into an area of the beach known as the Boneyards, which consists of dangerously sharp rock outcroppings and has killed many surfers who have ventured there. Tank punches Cody off his board before crashing, and is rescued by Lani. Z, who had secretly been watching Cody's performance, rescues Cody from a gigantic wave and helps him get back to the beach safely.

Z and Cody find out that Joe won by default since Tank and Cody were disqualified. However, Cody accepts the loss, having decided he would rather just have fun instead. Z reveals himself to the spectators and invites all of them to surf at his beach, where he joins Cody in tube-riding. Cody finishes his interview with a reflection of the past events and then joins the rest of his friends in the water.