Blue Crush, released 15 years ago this month, is an ideal summer movie. Following a trio of surfer girl roommate BFFs in Hawaii, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), Eden (Michelle Rodriguez), and Lena (Sanoe Lake), the film balances postcard-ready ocean shots, girl power, romance, and sports drama. While the plot machinations are largely predictable, the film is an enjoyable feminine take on a genre too often dominated by dudes and features the kind of easygoing beach babe fashion that makes viewers want to run and pick up surfboards themselves.
The three girls, sometimes with Anne Marie’s aspiring surfer girl sister Penny (Mika Boorem) in tow, all dress in variations on a beachy early-2000s theme. Earth-tone tank tops and hemp necklaces abound.
All of the fashion choices are made in support of surfing. While the look is skimpy (triangle bikini tops don't really seem to be the best match for aggressive waves), the girls of Blue Crush are nonchalant in their sex appeal, letting bikini straps peek out and removing bikinis from under tank tops not in service of the male gaze, but for the sake of practicality.
When Anne Marie unties her bikini top and reties her low-cut, lace-up, Britney Spears-esque jeans in front of her football player love interest (Matthew Davis), it isn’t for show. Surfing is her priority, and any sexual suggestion here is secondary.
Later in the film, Anne Marie and the football player go to a party. Anne Marie wears a long black ultra-low-cut dress, and while she looks elegant, the fashion choice is unnatural for her, a feeling that is compounded when she overhears a group of girls gossiping in the bathroom. She even ends up going into the ocean in the dress, which shows how little she cares about it.
The girls start off working as hotel maids, a job that requires them to wear kitschy Hawaiian print maid dresses that cater to a tourist’s view of the locale.
While they’d obviously much rather be wearing bikinis than their uniforms, they are able to find some amusement in their work, trying on sparkly evening wear strewn about a room they are cleaning. The scene presents the clothes as frivolous—good for trying on for fun, but little else.
In the early 2000s, surfwear brands like Roxy and Billabong grew in popularity, and even girls who’d never held a surfboard before were dressing in board shorts. Part of the allure of the surfer girl look comes from the way it combines masculine and feminine.
Throughout Blue Crush, skimpy bikini tops are paired with board shorts, and shirts are made to be tossed on and easily taken off.
The beach is a place where fashion isn’t stressed over. Guys sometimes doubt Anne Marie’s abilities because of her gender but, of course, she ends up triumphant (with a sponsorship deal with Billabong, no less!). She and her friends look good without trying too hard and don’t care about projecting a swimsuit model vibe. The ease of their outfits, their street to beach looks, is almost as envy inducing as the ease with which they ride the waves.