Bull City

RIP Bruce Brown

Recommended Posts

Bruce Brown passed away yesterday at age 80. He wasn't known as a sailor, but as a surfer and surfing film maker. He will be forever known for the 1966 documentary film Endless Summer, which climaxed with the discovery of the perfect wave at Cape Saint Francis, South Africa. Many years later, he and his son, Dana, made Endless Summer II, a very worthy sequel. Bruce was corny and folksy, but passionate about the sport, and the ocean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming on the heels of the Beach Boys and the surf/car music scene, that film was instrumental in changing the worlds awareness of surfing.

The Aussie AC challenger Dame Pattie was brought here back then and renamed Endless Summer after the movie title.

Always thought it made a great name for a sailboat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. His FB page is on my feed, and no word yet. RIP Bruce.

His films had a pretty unique, laid back, vibe. He did several others besides Endless Summer, including a motorcycle film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Endless Summer was just the start for Bruce. I think On Any Sunday got far more exposure that the surfing films ever did. The surfers and dirt bikers at Bruce and my Alma Mater (Woodrow Wilson High School) used to get in fights over claiming Bruce and the lifestyles that he popularized. The Chicanos would then wade in and dick everyones ass probably because Bruce never did a movie on them!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Director (12 credits)
 1994The Endless Summer 2 (Documentary) 
 1975The Edge (Documentary) 
 1971On Any Sunday (Documentary) 
 1967The Incredible Pair of Skis (Documentary) 
 1966The Endless Summer (Documentary) 
 1966America's Newest Sport (Documentary short) 
 1962Water-Logged (Documentary) 
 1961Surfing Hollow Days (Documentary) 
 1960Barefoot Adventure (Documentary) 
 1960Surfin' Shorts (Documentary) 
 1959Surf Crazy (Documentary) 
 1958Slippery When Wet (Documentary) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Way way back, in the day as they say, he used to rent school auditoriums to show his movies, and he'd narrate them live. Lots of fun and we were living it. Late 50s, Hermosa Beach, California. RIP, Mr Brown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the ski season started by watching the latest Warren Miller film. I always thought of Bruce Brown as the Warren Miller of surfing. I didn't surf but still loved his films.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Great Red Shark said:

So,  he did the "Warren Miller" thing long before Warren did ?

Almost a decade after warren miller did. Warren started showing films in 49/50 after being a ski bum in Sun Valley. Bruce was in the right place and at the time when surfing was exploding.

Endless summer capture fun, easy living fun, of surfing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Endless Summer was just the start for Bruce. I think On Any Sunday got far more exposure that the surfing films ever did. The surfers and dirt bikers at Bruce and my Alma Mater (Woodrow Wilson High School) used to get in fights over claiming Bruce and the lifestyles that he popularized. The Chicanos would then wade in and dick everyones ass probably because Bruce never did a movie on them!

 

Woodrow Wilson HS in Long Beach California???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Rasputin22 said:

None other Kim. Fine educational establishment. 

 

Image result for woodrow wilson high school long beach ca

 

Bruce Brown, the father of surf filmmaking, is dead.

Class of '55

 

 

The alma-mater of my late Dad:  Francis Lee Bottles - I am guessing 1935 or 36

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Redondo Union HS. '59. Also home of the Smothers Bros at the time.

Since I've outlived everyone else, I state in front of the gods and others, I was likely the best surfer in So Cal for awhile.

I found humility on the North Shore.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

 

 

Later in the film, at about 49 minutes introducing Florida, Brown mentions Jack Murphy, ' Murph the Surf'. He was an interesting criminal. When not surfing, he'd hang out at tourist hotels and do acrobatic diving into the pool for tips and the opportunity to case rooms for stuff to steal. Later he was caught stealing the Star of India diamond from a museum (in NYC?). After getting out of prison for that theft, he committed a murder, of a young woman IIRC. Got life in prison for that crime, became a prison preacher. I think he was finally paroled several years ago and is still preaching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was attending Cal Poly (SLO) in 1964-65, when Bruce came to San Luis Obispo and showed a promo of the Endless Summer in a very small venue.  About 30-40 of us were there.  At the time, few surfers were in the area.  My self and a couple buddies from Laguna High and San Diego and a few from Hawaii, were the only ones surfing the area.  No wet suits or leashes in those days.  Bruce was a true down to earth person, with quite the talent.  He will be missed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The older we get, the better we were.  I remember buying one of the first foam boards, it weighed almost as much as me,and my dad wouldn't  let me drag it. " You have to show respect for your watercraft."  I would leave it at the beach because no one would steal it.  It was 8'6".  I think I weighed @50lbs.  Keep surfin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to a Jesuit prep school as a boarder, and on Saturday nights, we'd have a movie. I remember in my senior year (1966) we saw the Endless Summer. I finally started surfing about 15 years later, after moving from FL to NC. The first VHS cassette I ever bought was the Endless Summer. I showed it to my boys when they were pretty young, and it really hooked them.

I watched it for the millionth time last night (I now have a choice of DVD or Netflix).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will watch Endless Summer tonight for the millionth time as well. I began watching his movies in the early 90s when I first got into surfing. Many of the surfers I knew then watched only the new stuff but there was something friendly and inviting about his films. Perhaps it was his calming voice, I don’t know. But he did capture, for me at least, the many reasons to be in, on, and around the water….

I remember watching On Any Sunday sometime later in life – I had just gotten into Dirt Bikery and when I heard he had a film it was a must see. Quietly backed by Steve McQueen, Bruce did the same thing for me in this film that he did in Endless Summer: Sometimes you ride alone, sometimes you ride with your friends - either way you ride!

Farewell Mr. Brown and thank you:

“Many of us ride winter and summer, but the ultimate thing for us would be to have an endless summer. The only way to do this is to travel around the world.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sadug said:

“Many of us ride winter and summer, but the ultimate thing for us would be to have an endless summer. The only way to do this is to travel around the world.”

Or you can live in Costa Rica like Robert August.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Bull City said:

Or you can live in Costa Rica like Robert August.

Glenn Henderson is down in Costa Rica... surfing, playing guitar, drinking rum. He still does a little design work and wrote a book. I think his ultimate plan is a small charter operation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t (can’t) surf but loved the film and had the pleasure of giving a copy to my wonderful godson who’s now one of the top surfers in the UK (under 16 champion I believe) and in the squad for the olympics in 2020. 

In the spirit of RB, here’s some clips of him. I’m sure he won’t mind.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surfing in Nova Scotia is excellent, but a dry suit is pretty much required in the best season (October - November)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bull I posted this a BB connection over in a racing thread, not knowing you had recognised him. It wasn't all plain sailing so to speak.

Bruce completed Endless Summer in 64, however couldn't get a distributer until late in 1966. In the meantime he humped a silent version around the country playing at schools, renting theatres in places like Kansas etc and playing surf music records as an accompaniment. The completed and distributed version had Bruce's narration and music from the Sandels, a Surf Rock band. The rest is history.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually this movie and surfing in that era had a strong connection with sailing. Here are the credits. 

Couple of sailboats in it including a cat prototype/prelude built by a guy called Hobart Alter. You know the rest.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/12/2017 at 3:46 AM, Bull City said:

The first VHS cassette I ever bought was the Endless Summer. I showed it to my boys when they were pretty young, and it really hooked them.

I watched it for the millionth time last night (I now have a choice of DVD or Netflix).

Bull it is sacrilege to watch this movie in anything other than a outdoor theatre with canvas seats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This movie was my hook also.  Of course, it did not prepare me for that first run in with nazis at a certain river in the pnw.  Haven't watched the picture for double donkey's years. 

The Brown films and Fanshawe's recordings of the music of oceania changed my whole view - i was totally captured by the big blue after that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Bull it is sacrilege to watch this movie in anything other than a outdoor theatre with canvas seats.

Jack, you make a very charming point. On the other hand, because of repeated viewing over many years, when we have a full family viewing, with my three sons and one daughter, we can recite the BB's narration like a Greek Chorus.

You remember the "head rope coiler?" That role is part of our family vocabulary. How about all those local surfers in Western Australia with the toothy grins? Priceless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bruce showed showed us that we can have long stretches of endless summers. i fell in love with the pursuit of some amazing days being on the water (or on motorbikes), with good friends and being in the moment living in our beautiful world. His joyous approach  was infectious. 

Imagine if we had a wonderous film that invited people to see what the best of sailing without the crassness of self serving egos and commercialism. Just boats sailing the best places with skill, friendship and sweet moments.

i want to thank you, Bruce Brown, for shaping my world into my life long pursuit of the endless summer. I'll miss you for what you created and so glad I have copies of your work to inspire me to call up my close buds and go for those moments which make life worth living.

 

 

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started surfing in South Florida in '64...well, the surf itself was mostly pretty raggedy, but that was our thing in high school. Saw Endless Summer at the (packed) Ft. Lauderdale Armory in '66, and it was mind blowing. The ES concept stuck with me when I transitioned to sailing, and did the northeast US summer/Bahamas & Caribbean winter thing for a several years. Wouldn't trade it for anything - thanks Bruce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

image.thumb.jpeg.39a634461fcc2c687f27c7a70c097c23.jpeg

Speaking of the appropriate beach chair for outdoor viewing, this was a favourite of mine a couple of years ago at the tail end of an almost endless summer. 

I don't think I've seen the film in over 30 years but vividly remember the high contrast, 'day for night' look of the cinematography.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On December 20, 2017 at 5:34 PM, fufkin said:

 

image.thumb.jpeg.39a634461fcc2c687f27c7a70c097c23.jpeg

Speaking of the appropriate beach chair for outdoor viewing, this was a favourite of mine a couple of years ago at the tail end of an almost endless summer. 

I don't think I've seen the film in over 30 years but vividly remember the high contrast, 'day for night' look of the cinematography.

 

 

Bruce Brown was out here in St Francis Bay ( home of the perfect wave ) some 10 odd years ago and gave a short talk. Interesting, but he actually named the three surfers in that now famous poster.

The surf break where the perfect wave was filmed is simply called Bruce's these days. It only works properly a few times a year. This October we witnessed it in all its splendor.

Regards from St Francis Bay,

Home of the perfect wave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now