'Surfs Up' is a documentary style animation about Cody Maverick's passion of surfing, a passion inspired by the surfer Big Z when he visited antarctica when Cody was a young age. Cody's Call to Adventure begins as a scout Mikey arrives in Shiverpool, Antarctica in search of entrants to the 'Big Z Memorial' contest. When Cody claims to Mikey that he is worthy as an entrant but is soon unable to show his skill to him as a result of a lack of waves, Mikey -as a result of seeing no potential- decides to leave Shiverpool without any entrants. Cody refuses to be left behind and chases after the whale as it leaves the port. As Cody makes it onto the whale he has Crossed the Threshold as he has made his way into the competition and leaves home for the first time. The Belly of the Whale can be easily realised as when Cody arrives on the beach at Pen Gu Island and finds himself in a completely new and different environment.
When arriving at the beach, Cody's Road of Trials starts as he begins to take in his surroundings and observes Tank Evans disrespecting the 'Big Z Memorial', Cody steps in and challenges Tank to a one on one. However Cody loses this small challenge against the current champion Tank. Following his loss it results in him Meeting the Goddess, Cody does not reemerge from the water as he is caught under the current causing for Lani the life guard to dive in and save him from drowning. As he remains unconscious Lani takes him to Geek in a bid for aid to make him conscious. After Cody awakes, he begins to get to know Geek and Lani as he hides from the other entrants at the beach following his fail. Cody experiences what could be called his Atonement with Father and Apotheosis as he and Geek come across an enclosed beach which Cody discovers is where Big Z lived before he died. Cody begins to notice Geeks reaction to the beach and clues together that he is Big Z himself. Following his discovery, Geek suggests to Cody that he will help him create his own board for the competition if he returned back to the entrant beach.
The Supernatural Aid to Cody on his journey is Geek, whether the discovery of Big Z being alive or the help he receives from him creating his own coal wood board works as Cody's supernatural aid is debatable. After spending time at the beach with Z and Lani, Cody begins to see Lani as a Temptress as he becomes more attracted to her as she encourages him about the competition and tells him how it is not the only thing which matters. The Ultimate Boon for Cody is encouraging Z to get back into the water and to teach him how to master surfing and the skills to win the competition. Cody begins to have doubts about returning to the competition after his initial failure against Tank and begins to think about pulling out from the competition. Despite his Refusal of Return, Cody continues to make his own board and experiences his Magic Flight as he begins to use it with Z. Following his doubts, Cody gets a Rescue from Without with his worries about the large waves and the contestants on the beach, Z explains to him that its not about winning but about enjoying it and tells him not to give up like he did.
Cody returns to the beach (Crossing the Return Threshold) despite his doubts, he goes on to compete and gets through each heat in the competition. As Cody pushes towards the end of the competition he comes closer and closer to facing off with Tank once again. As Cody reaches the end of the contest, he becomes a Master of Two Worlds as he becomes the new champion of the 'Big Z Memorial' and a master of surfing. His Freedom to Live comes with his satisfaction of winning something his idol had previously won as he believed he could not do. Big Z also revealing that he did not die that day is his own Freedom to Live.