Legendary surf filmmaker Bruce Brown passes away at 80
- 11 December 2017 | Surfing
Bruce Brown, the father of the surf movie genre, has passed away in his sleep at the age of 80.
Brown was born on December 1937, in San Francisco, California, and lived his first nine years in Oakland, before moving with his family to Long Beach.
His first cinematographic experience was an 8mm short produced in 1955, while aboard a navy submarine stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two years later, after getting a 16mm camera from Dale Velzy, Brown returned to Hawaii to film "Slippery When Wet."
In his first feature-length flick, the Californian introduced the legendary casual narration which made him famous and kept the surfing audiences entertained.
Bruce Brown was one of the most active surf filmmakers of the late 1950s and mid-1960s. Between 1958 and 1962, the enthusiastic film director shot five movies, which worked as a rehearsal for his 1966 masterpiece.
"The Endless Summer" is a unique surf documentary. Brown invited Robert August and Mike Hynson to travel the world in search of perfect waves, and idyllic, never-seen-before surf breaks.
Developed on a $50,000 budget, "The Endless Summer" wanted to prove that you could circumnavigate the world for less than $50, and live a perpetual summer of fun in uncrowded dream waves.
The crew visited and surfed Australia, Ghana, Hawaii, New Zealand, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Southern California, and Tahiti. Brown had to carry heavy filming equipment all the time, but they all found the gems they needed for the movie.
In 95 minutes, Bruce Brown summarized the spirit of surfing, and created a standard for the surf movie genre. His seminal work went on to make $20 million worldwide after its release in 1966.
Interestingly, the California producer would earn an Academy Award nomination with "On Any Sunday," a motorcycling documentary shot in 1971.
Two decades later, Brown and his son Dana Brown released "The Endless Summer II," a $3.5 million sequel that, despite the critics, was a fun and good-looking movie.
Bruce Brown received the Water Achievement award from the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) in 1994 and was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame in 2009.
Brown was married to Patricia Brown and had three children. He lived in Gaviota, California, since 1918.
Bruce Brown | The Filmography
Slippery When Wet (1958)
Surf Crazy (1959)
Barefoot Adventure (1960)
Surfing Hollow Days (1961)
The Endless Summer (1966)
On Any Sunday (1971)
On Any Sunday II (1981)
Baja 1000 Classic (1991)
The Endless Summer II (1994)