Three All-American boys meet three All-American girls while they are in Oahu, Hawaii to surf the big waves at Waimea Bay.
The guys must face their own mortal shortcomings while wooing the gals and competing against the seasoned local surfers.
Jody (Fabian) is the college drop-out with a chip on his shoulder – he’s intent on proving to everyone (and to himself) that he is not a “chicken”. He falls for sensible and down to earth Brie Matthews (Shelley Fabares) and tries to gain her attention (initially by shooting a pineapple balanced on a dork’s head with a spear gun, William Tell style).
Brie acts all repelled by his hokey machismo but of course, she can’t get enough of him and his edgy bad boy attitude and makes it her mission to turn the bad boy around.
She talks Jody into going back home and finishing college – but that will have to wait until he has conquered the surf and his competition, including his pals and local legend Eskimo (Jim Mitchum).
Chase (Peter Brown) is a common-sense sort of surfer and even wear nice sports jackets to the beach. While he wants to shoot the tubes of Waimea he is basically a fairly conservative guy. That all changes when he flips – literally – for perky Augie Poole (the always gorgeous Barbara Eden) who happens to a black belt in judo.
Augie takes delight in shaking Chase’s tree any chance she gets but soon enough, natch, she is falling in love with him and he learns to loosen up and get a little crazy once in a while – such as when he gets drunk and jumps off a dangerous cliff into a pond known for bringing the waves to Waimea.
Rounding off the romantic angle of the film are Steamer (Tab Hunter) and local girl Lily Kilua (Susan Hart) who have problems convincing Lily’s mother that Steamer is not just another beach bum like her ex-husband was. The old lady is pretty hard to convince but Steamer pulls out his wallet and shows her his bank account and some paid off bills which put the old gal’s fears to rest.
There are lots of bluescreen shots of Fabian and Tab Hunter on their boards that cut away to shots of professional surfers riding the waves, but there are no crooning surfer boys, silly bikers or people in gorilla suits and the catchy theme song by Jan and Dean is saved until the closing credits.