‘The Endless Summer’ filmmaker Bruce Brown passes away

It is with heavy hearts today that we report Bruce Brown has passed away at the age of 80. The creator of the iconic surf film “The Endless Summer,” Brown passed away in Santa Barbara, California on Sunday.

Brown was born in San Francisco, California in 1937 and eventually found surfing at the age of 10 when his family moved to Long Beach. It was in Southern California where he would become encapsulated with surfing and filmmaking, eventually becoming the pioneer in surf films.

Brown made his first of five full-length surf films in 1958 with the production of “Slippery When Wet.” And in 1963 he began filming for what would be his seminal work, “The Endless Summer.”

Traveling the world searching for the perfect wave with surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August, the legendary film was made on a $50,000 budget and would go on to launch countless surf trips under the same sentiment. As SURFER’s Todd Prodanovich says:

“While ‘The Endless Summer’ may appear to be a simple travel documentary, Brown’s charming narration and the story of seeking and discovering perfection and adventure around every turn spoke to core surf and mainstream audiences alike. The film was a massive commercial success upon its wide release in 1966, and is seen as the most iconic surf film of all time, inspiring countless surfers to hit the road in search of their own perfect wave.”

Brown went on to also make films about his second love, motorcycles. His 1971 Oscar-nominated motorcycle movie “On Any Sunday,” is widely regarded as one of the best documentaries in that sport.

His wonderful body of work, keen eye and storytelling and trailblazing efforts were widely recognized throughout his life. Brown won a Waterman Achievement Award from the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) in 1994, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 SURFER Awards and was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2009.

He is widely regarded as the godfather of surf films and will be truly missed.

More surf content from GrindTV

5 things you may not know about ‘The Endless Summer’

Full results from surfing's biggest night: The SURFER Awards

Help save the Encyclopedia of Surfing