by Sean Oliver Eldridge
The Endless Summer is a 1966 surf documentary by filmmaker Bruce Brown as he follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a surfing trip around the world. The movie follows their travels to the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa in a quest for new surf spots. The title comes from the idea, expressed at both the beginning and end of the film, that if one had enough time and money it would be possible to follow the summer up and down the world (northern to southern hemisphere and back), making it endless. And this film has become one of the best-known films in the surf genre.
The theme music to The Endless Summer was written by Gaston Georis and John Blakeley of the Sandals. And the cover poster was created by John Van Hamersveld, the designer behind A Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles, and Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones. The combination of Bruce Brown’s own personal experience as a life-long surfer and his connections to iconic artists such as Georis, Blakely, and Hamersveld allowed him to create a unique piece of art that felt current and ahead of its time—a movie that caused Roger Ebert to say, "the beautiful photography he brought home almost makes you wonder if Hollywood hasn't been trying too hard." And Time magazine wrote, "Brown leaves analysis of the surf-cult mystique to seagoing sociologists, but demonstrates quite spiritedly that some of the brave souls mistaken for beachniks are, in fact, converts to a difficult, dangerous and dazzling sport."
This documentary is one of the most influential of its time, and without it, Hollywood would be a much different place. It was one of the first popular movies to use a less structured set-up, and ushered in a new generation of looser, funnier storytelling.
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