Johnny Utah is a former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback and rookie FBI Agent. He and his veteran partner, Angelo Pappas, are investigating a string of bank robberies by the "Ex-Presidents", a gang of robbers that use masks of former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter to disguise their true identities. They only raid the cash drawers in the banks they rob - never going for the vault - and are out in 90 seconds. Pursuing Pappas' theory that the criminals are surfers, Johnny goes undercover to infiltrate the surfing community. Knowing nothing of the sport/lifestyle, he persuades orphan surfer girl Tyler Endicott to teach him to surf. In the process, Johnny develops a complex friendship with Bodhi, the charismatic leader of a gang of surfers, Roach, Grommet, and Nathaniel, who accept Johnny when they realize he is a former college football star. As he masters the art of surfing, Johnny finds himself increasingly drawn to the surfers' adrenaline-charged lifestyle, Bodhi's philosophies, and Tyler. Following a clue retrieved by analyzing toxins found in the hair of one of the bank robbers, Johnny and Pappas lead an FBI raid on another gang of surfers. Despite their criminal records, these surfers are not the Ex-Presidents and the raid inadvertently ruins a DEA undercover operation.