Color me naïve. But to see how the sport of surfing has transcended national borders is heartwarming. In the wake of landmark filmmaker Bruce Brown’s recent passing, media outlets from this one to the New York Times have obitted the man, making some mention of his opus The Endless Summer. Bruce Brown’s accolades are well deserved – it’s hard to overstate his contribution to surfing through the Endless Summer alone. Still, for as much as surf culture credits Brown for a collective desire to travel in pursuit of the perfect wave, there’s a flipside that sometimes goes unnoticed – the seeds of surf culture that are left in the wake of surf travel.
Admittedly, surfing’s spread hasn’t been entirely positive – scores of formerly unknown coastal communities have become inundated with travelers and now deal with a myriad of issues like pollution and overdevelopment. But there are also numerous people across the world that were first inspired to surf because they saw a traveling surfer do it, or rely on hand-me-down equipment.
Beyond hints at those early seeds examining Africa’s budding surf culture, from Morocco to Mauritania, Gambia to Senegal.
“Dropping into some of the most isolated coastlines in the world, the crew spent three months on the road filming, photographing and interviewing a host of fascinating characters that have all found ways to adapt to the harshness of their respective environs while still carving out surfing and other adventurous lifestyles,” explain the folks behind the film. “Dealing with thematic issues such as individualism in traditional societies, the potential conflicts that arise when 21st century ambitions collide with time-honored traditions, and the quest for personal fulfillment.”
To learn more about Beyond and find a tour stop near you, check out the film’s website here.