Arts & Entertainment

'The Endless Summer' filmmaker Bruce Brown dies at 80

Film director Bruce Brown speaks onstage during 'The Endless Summer' screening during day 3 of the TCM Classic Film Festival 2016 on April 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Film director Bruce Brown speaks onstage during 'The Endless Summer' screening during day 3 of the TCM Classic Film Festival 2016 on April 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Mike Windle/Getty Images for Turner

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Iconic surf filmmaker Bruce Brown has died at the age of 80.

Brown was known for his surf documentaries, including his most famous film, "The Endless Summer." His death was reported by his company website, Bruce Brown Films.

Brown fell in love with surfing as a child growing up in Southern California in the 1940s and '50s, according to the company statement. A $5,000 seed fund enabled his first surf film in 1957, which became "Slippery When Wet."

https://twitter.com/brucebrownfilms/status/940133207948824576

Brown made four more films before beginning work on "The Endless Summer," which tracked two surfers who moved between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres chasing warm weather and waves. The film was released in 1964 to critical acclaim.

Many credit "The Endless Summer" with bringing surfing into the mainstream and changing the culture's dirtbag image.

“To be a surfer you had to be a bum, according to Hollywood,” said Rich Harbour, owner of Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach. "Bruce just said, 'No, we’re making it respectable.'”

Robert August and Mike Hynson, the California surfers whose journey Brown chronicles in film, wear suits and ties as they board an airplane bound for Senegal, the first stop on their journey. 

The film continues to be popular. Ky Crapenhoft, 19, said he studies it to pick up tips. 

“The classic 60s long boarding, that’s my style so I go back and rewatch it all the time," he said.

Brown’s hand- and footprints are pressed into the sidewalk at the Surfers' Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach. 

Brown spent his final years on a ranch north of Santa Barbara, where he enjoyed surfing, riding motorcycles and racing cars. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46NsCsTYUi0