You never know when your treasures will be gone. Yesterday, surfing lost one of its crown jewels in Bruce Brown, the man responsible for The Endless Summer. The Endless Summer stands in a class all its own. It manages to illustrate the virtues of surfing to non-surfers and surfers alike in a way no surf-based film has done since. And last Spring, while Bruce and Dana were celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Endless Summer with a book tour, we had a precious opportunity to interview the iconic father-son film duo. We had hoped to be able to reconnect with them again in the future to expand on this project, but, sadly, that opportunity is no longer a possibility. This morning, upon hearing the tragic news, we dove into that footage, uncovering pearls of wisdom from the Browns that we’ll cherish.
On their trademark narration:
“Most people who like the Endless Summer like my narration,” said Bruce Brown. “But some film critics say I sound like Howdy Doody. I read some review that they did of Dana’s movie, and the critics said he sounds like Kermit the frog. So we call each other, I go, ‘Kermit, this is Howdy.’”
On surfing’s perception:
“It’s just something we loved to do, and there weren’t many people who did it,” Brown told The Inertia. “You know, surfing had a bad rap at the time thanks to Hollywood and whatever. The Endless Summer will give us some dignity. I like it now. You know. Shit, everybody surfs. Doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but when I was a teenager, you didn’t wanna tell many people you were a surfer.”
On Bruce’s Legacy:
“It’s a little bit embarrassing, I’d say,” said Bruce Brown. “I’m grateful, of course, but I think I get too much credit.”
“He doesn’t get enough credit,” said his son, Dana Brown.”It’s humbling.”
We send our condolences to the Brown family. Thank you for a lifetime of inspiration.
Interview conducted by Lauren Dunn and shot and edited by Alex Smolowe.