BRUCE BROWN 1937-2017 December 12, 2017 19:45

We're thrilled to share with you a piece from our RESTOKE guest writer, Wesley Surette. His thoughts and memories about legend Bruce Brown, the trailblazing filmmaker that has touched just about all of us be it through his timeless documentary vision or love of adventure and the soundtracks that we all appreciate.  ~ Enjoy.

Wessley Surette

The Endless Summer Will Never End:
What Bruce Brown Means to Me

When I opened up Instagram and saw Robert “Wingnut” Weaver’s post that Bruce Brown had passed away, I didn’t quite know how to feel. At first, I didn’t believe it. Bruce is such a timeless figure and it seemed impossible that he could actually die. Then I felt sad and mopey, but that didn’t seem right either. His films and his personality were never sad and mopey—they are fun, positive, and always tongue-in-cheek. I tried to talk to my wife about it, but she isn’t a surfer and has never seen a Bruce Brown film. When she asked why I was upset, I tried my best to explain about who he was, his films, and what means to me but it didn’t come out exactly right. He revolutionized the surf film, made surfing a mainstream sport (as much as it ever can be considered mainstream), was an absolute legend, and did it all with humor and a wry smile, but Bruce Brown is so much more than that to the surf community.

Bruce Brown has touched every surfer’s life whether they know it or not. He is the cool friend, father, or in my case grandfather, that everyone who has touched toe to wax wishes they had. When I was a kid I sat and day dreamed about hanging out and surfing with Wingnut, Pat, Robert, and Mike. All I wanted to do was paddle out at Witch’s Rock, pull into a wave at Cape St. Francis, or make that ridiculous trek back up the point at Raglan. After I watched The Endless Summer II for the first time, in my mind I was one of the gang, albeit a 10 year old who could barely stand up on a board, but one of the gang all the same.

I think that’s part of what I couldn’t express to my wife. The fact that Bruce Brown’s films make you feel like you are part of it all. He makes you feel like you’re there. He makes you want to withdraw all the money that you have, sell off all your worldly possessions except your board and wetsuit, and just follow the surf for the rest of your life. Maybe not the most responsible move, I realize that now, but it was the perfect outlet for a weird little kid that just wanted to have some fun and escape from reality. Bruce Brown created the alternative. I believe that without him professional surfing wouldn’t be what it is today. He validated a lifestyle and gave purpose to a bunch of misfits that just wanted to be left alone so they could sit in the water all day.

His films make whoever watches them stoked to surf and to be alive. It is scientifically impossible to not go surfing immediately after watching either of The Endless Summer movies. They make you want to travel, experience other cultures, and live life to the absolute full. He exposes the good in the world and in people—something that we could all use a bit more of these days.  

I still don’t know exactly what it is that I’m feeling about Bruce’s passing. I know that I’m sad, but I still don’t feel like he’s actually gone. I think that’s because in a way, he’s not. He’s with everyone who’s ever watched one of his movies. He’s with the generations of surfers and filmmakers that he’s inspired and he’s with the future generations that haven’t been born yet. In that way he’s eternal and I hope that if there is an afterlife, he gets an Endless Summer with those he loves and Cape St. Francis perfection whenever he wants.

I think now, more than ever, we all need to band together and get stoked about life. I also think that from now on December 11th should be a day where we drop everything, get in the water no matter what, and do something to make yourself and most importantly, those around you pumped to be alive. Keep surfing, stay stoked, and be good to each other.

Cue “Theme from Endless Summer”


To learn more about Bruce Brown and his contribution to the film and surf industry, check him out here at: