As surfers, we are naturally afflicted with a wanderlust, an unmistakable urge that drives us to leave the safe haven of familiarity to experience the new, the foreign, and the bizarre. This yearning for the unknown dwells quietly within us until something comes along and sparks a full-blown desire to travel.
For generations of surfers, that spark has been the epic works of Bruce Brown.
This summer, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and creator of the classic surf film The Endless Summer will be honored with a place in the Surfers' Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach, along with Jeff Hakman, Joey Buran and Pat O'Connell, also 2009 Hall of Fame inductees.
Brown is best known for his 1964 film The Endless Summer, a $50,000 semi-documentary, following Robert August and Mike Hynson in search of the perfect wave. The film went from live-narrated screenings by Brown himself, on the beach-city circuit, to playing in sold-out theaters nation-wide in 1966.
He later retread his steps with the release of 1992's The Endless Summer 2. Joined by his son Dana and backed by a Hollywood budget, Brown followed longboarder Robert "Wingnut" Weaver and shortboarder Pat O'Connell around the world, showing how surfing has advanced and how far it has spread since the first film debuted.
Brown was nominated for an Academy Award for his 1970 film On Any Sunday, a documentary on dirt bikes featuring Brown's unmistakable narration and co-produced by his friend, actor Steve McQueen.
His first feature film, Slippery When Wet, a 16mm self-narrated film, scored by jazz musician Bud shank, was released in 1958. He followed with Surf Crazy (1959), Barefoot Adventure (1960), Surfing Hollow Days (1961) and Waterlogged (1962). Surfing Hollow Days bore the notable distinction of including Phil Edwards' first rides at the Banzai Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu.
SURFER Magazine named Bruce Brown the sport's fifth most influential surfer of all time in 1999.
The Surfer's Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 24, in front of Huntington Surf & Sport (on the corner of PCH and Main) and is open to the public, free-of-charge.