Arizonans Terry (Patricia Morrow), Sylvia (Lory Patrick), and Junior (Jackie DeShannon) drive to California's Malibu Beach to take a vacation, learn how to surf, and find Terry's brother "Skeet", Malibu's Big Kahuna bad boy (and a former football star whose career was ended with a skull injury).
While the girls are learning to surf, Terry falls in love with Len (Bobby Vinton), the operator of a local surf shop; Junior falls in love with Milo (Ken Miller), a new surfer; and Sylvia falls in love with Skeet (Jerry Summers).
Milo takes the girls to Casey's Surfer, the hangout on the pier where the surfers and their ilk gather. While the girls get into the club on the virtue that Terry is Skeet's sister, Milo is kept out because he is just a "gremmie."
In an effort to qualify for membership into Skeet's unruly surfing club (called "The Lodge"), Milo attempts to "shoot the pier" (surfing through the pier – called "run the pier" in the movie) and is injured when he smacks into one of the posts. As a result of Milo's smash-up, Len gets into an argument with Skeet, and just as they are about to fight, Terry warns Len that Skeet's football injury is still dangerous. Throughout all the proceedings, Sgt. Wayne Neal (Richard Crane), the decidedly "anti-surf" police sergeant, is on Skeet's back, waiting for him to screw up so he can either throw him in jail or out of town. Terry soon learns that her brother's reputation is greater than the reality.
Skeet is further humiliated when he throws a party and Pauline (Martha Stewart) – the wealthy older woman who apparently owns the beach house that Skeet has been living in – finds him in her bedroom with Sylvia. Pauline reveals that Skeet is indeed a "kept man". To the delight of Sgt. Neal, Skeet decides to return to Arizona with Sylvia when he realizes how much he loves her, and the girls enjoy the rest of the vacation with their boyfriends.
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