The Endless Summer Tribute Raises $100k For Surfing Heritage & Culture Center

Legendary longboarder LJ Richards with surfboard shaper, surfer and one of the stars of The Endless Summer Robert August

Legendary longboarder LJ Richards with surfboard shaper, surfer and one of the stars of The Endless Summer Robert August

The Endless Summer Tribute Raises $100,000 for SHACC and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Filmmaker and master storyteller Bruce Brown was honored during a special event Saturday, May 5, as a crowd of more than 450 people dropped into the Waterfront Beach Resort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of his film, The Endless Summer, that arguably forever changed the world's perceptions about surfing and surfers.

"People came from Hawaii, Fiji, and from all over the U.S. to be part of this special tribute and celebration," said Paul Strauch, Executive Director of Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC), the organization hosting the tribute. "The event was everything we hoped it would be. Bruce and the film's stars, Robert August and Mike Hynson, have had such a huge influence on so many people over the years, we wanted to make sure they received the recognition they deserve."

The event and silent auction helped raise more than $100,000 toward SHACC and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which has close tie to the surfing industry and hosts its own surf-themed fundraiser called “Pipeline To A Cure.”

Here’s more details and photos from the evening:

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From fearless big-wave pioneer, Greg Noll, to 11-time world champion, Kelly Slater, the ballroom was dotted with surfing legends who, along with friends, family and fans, had come to pay tribute to Bruce. Attendees were treated to priceless, behind the scenes stories about the making of the film and how it came to be one of the most successful documentaries of all time.

"I've never seen so much gray hair and so many bad aloha shirts in one place," joked Robert "Wingnut" Weaver, the evening's emcee and star of Endless Summer II, who did a wonderful job of engaging the audience and coordinating the evening's program and live auction.

During the tribute program, Brown, August, and Hynson were joined on stage by R. Paul Allen, the film's publicist, Bob Bagley, former business manager at Bruce Brown Films, and John Van Hamersveld, the artist who created the film's timeless, pop culture poster. Together, the group recounted the challenges and the joy of making and promoting The Endless Summer a half-century ago, and insights on the film's lasting appeal to surfers and non-surfers alike. It was a fun and, at times, very funny history lesson in surf culture.

After curating an extensive collection of Endless Summer memorabilia in 2013 to create a 50th Anniversary Exhibition, SHACC, together with Bruce Brown Films, began planning the tribute party to recognize Bruce Brown for his life's work. Robert August's son, Sam, suggested that SHACC team up with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) for the event's fundraising element. The collaboration was a great fit, as CFF also has close ties to the surfing community and hosts its own annual, surfing-themed fundraiser called "Pipeline to a Cure."

Surfing and breathing in the ocean's salty air  is an effective form of therapy and is helping extend the lives of people battling cystic fibrosis. People like 13-year-old Taylor Ross.

Taylor delivered a moving speech about her struggles with the hereditary, life-threatening disease. How surfing helps her expel thick mucus from her lungs so she can breathe easier. And how her friends at CFF continue to bring new hope...and raise funds to find a cure. Her talk inspired thousands of dollars in donations during the event's "Bid from the Heart" appeal.

The evening culminated with Bruce Brown receiving the first-ever SHACC Lifetime Achievement Award for his permanent contributions to the surfing and filmmaking industries. During the award ceremony, Brown described the night--and all the praise and support -- as "overwhelming."

With respect to all who had traveled great distances to attend, Bruce quipped in his classic wry and witty fashion: "I probably wouldn't have done it for you."

It was a perfect evening, inspired by a highly acclaimed little film about the search for the perfect wave.

A special thanks to the event's sponsors including: City National Bank, RE/MAX Select One, 18/8 Fine Men's Salons, Rainbow Environmental Services, Zem Gear, Visit Huntington Beach, the Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Orange Coast Winery, Wahoo's Fish Taco, Tiki Farm, Karma Tequila, Jack's Surfboards, Free Waters, and Dusters California. 


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