2016 | 83 min | SPAIN, GERMANY
Directed by Inka Reichert
Australian Premiere

Surfers fighting against unseen pollution in the sea and their passionate endeavours to save our oceans.

Suddenly, a couple of small plastic rings appear on the beach of Guéthary along the west coast of France. Every day there are more and more, hundreds of thousands.

 François Verdet rides the waves of this beach all year long. He is shocked. The surfer sees these little plastic things for the first time in his life. Where do they come from? He cannot sleep until he finds out their origin.

Litter, wastewater and chemicals – it is all ending up in the sea. This is often happening in silence. But there are a group of people that feel the pollution day-by-day with their own body: surfers. Winter or summer, as soon as there is some swell they grab their board and ride the waves. Water is their life. And they want to protect it.

Their love of nature and the water gives them the strength to go out, investigate and search for the source of the pollution. They start talking to politicians and to industry. They even initiate scientific studies in the ocean and rivers. And if necessary, they go to court.

They want to surf white waves again.

The team behind White Waves travelled for two years along the beaches of Europe to meet those surfers and reveal widely unknown cases of pollution – from millions of small plastic wheels to pathogenic bacteria in the sea.

The film highlights the work of organisations such as the Surfers Against Sewage and Surfrider Foundation Europe that are working to keep waves clean and beaches free from pollution.


  • Winner  – International Surf Film Festival Anglet 2016
  • Public Choice Award and the Premio Compromiso por el Cambio – Surfari Festival de Cine Documental de Surf de Andalucía 2016