Tuesday, September 18 , 2018, 2:40 pm | Fair 75º

 
 
 
 

Michael Holliday: Surfing Film Icon Bruce Brown Leaves ‘Endless’ Legacy

Bruce Brown, left, with Michael Holliday and Dana Brown at The Endless Summer Bar-Cafe at the Santa Barbara Harbor. Click to view larger
Bruce Brown, left, with Michael Holliday and Dana Brown at The Endless Summer Bar-Cafe at the Santa Barbara Harbor. (Bruce Brown Films photo)

Bruce Brown, the man, the myth and The Endless Summer surfing film legend, passed away Sunday at his ranch home near Santa Barbara. It seems incredibly ironic that Bruce and his son, Dana, hosted a group of Santa Barbara locals just a few weeks ago at The Endless Summer Bar-Cafe at the Santa Barbara Harbor for the release of the 50th Anniversary Endless Summer Collectors Edition.

Bruce was a pioneering filmmaker whose pursuit of finding the perfect wave helped turn surfing into a cultural phenomenon as he documented two of his friends traveling the world in search of the perfect wave, which they eventually found and filmed in Cape St. Francis, South Africa.

Even if you've never surfed, you’ve likely heard of The Endless Summer movie. I first saw the film in 1966 during its national release. After seeing the film only once, the mesmerizing footage of surfing Cape St. Francis was locked into my memory, and I decided then that was it — I will learn to surf.

I was only 9 years old at the time, and it took me a few years to graduate from a polystyrene foam belly board to a real fiberglass surfboard that I bought from the local surf shop on Siesta Key. Looking back now over 50 years, it is incredible to consider how one film and one decision can influence one’s life, fuel your passion for a sport and a lifestyle, direct your world travel plans, influence where you go to college and ultimately drive your decision to live near the Pacific Ocean — close to some of the best waves in the continental United States.

I feel so blessed to have been able to tell Bruce about how his Endless Summer film had such a profound influence on a 9-year-old Gremmie who grew up surfing on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Bruce gratefully shared that he'd had so many people tell a similar story — much to their own detriment. Bruce went on to film and produce On Any Sunday in 1971, another groundbreaking film on motorcycle riding with award-winning actor Steve McQueen, and directed The Endless Summer II in 1994, a sequel to his original blockbuster hit. Bruce’s son, Dana Brown, inherited the passion for surfing and filmmaking, directing his own successful surfing documentary, Step Into Liquid, in 2003.

Bruce, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. You introduced a few generations to the incredible sport of surfing and showed how to pursue your dreams and go "all in" for what you have been gifted, called and inspired to do — even when it has never been done before. Wishing you warm water, endless summers and perfect waves to enjoy on the other side, my friend!

— Michael Holliday, FAIA, is a local architect, entrepreneur, business leader and surfer for more than 50 years.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >