In the spring of 1964, Dana Point surf filmmaker Bruce Brown invited a small group of local surfers and friends over for an informal premier of his soon-to-be-released surfing movie, the “Endless Summer.” He was in the final editing process and gave us each of us in attendance a comment sheet to fill out in hopes of getting ideas for the final cut.
Obviously, we were all blown away with the film and I think pretty much everybody agreed that it would be a huge hit — though I doubt any of us really had any clue as to how big a hit it would become.
Shortly after that, an invitation-only official premier was held in Santa Monica, followed a week or so later with the departure of nine of us in a mobile home taking off across the country for the first public showings, which would be on the East Coast. The crew included Brown and his wife Pat, Hobie Alter and his wife Sharon, Phil Edwards and his wife Heidi, Mike Hynson, Joey Cabel and myself. I was 15 and stoked.
Truth of the matter is I was the only one who had a good time on that trip; to everybody else it was work. For me it was a “surf safari.” In each town, starting in New York and ending in Miami Beach, we would show the film and then give a surfing demonstration the next morning at the local beach. There was sometimes upwards of 40,000 people showing up to watch us surf at some of the stops.
A couple of years later Bruce made a deal to blow the then-16mm film up to 35mm and have it actually released in theaters across the country. They tried it out in someplace in Kansas, I think. It set attendance records and the rest is history. Mega success and Bruce became a wealthy dude.
Fifty years went by and it came time for the anniversary celebrations. They have had quite a few of them, too, which is great because it truly is a legendary piece of surfing history. And now there is a book coming out and a 50-year anniversary celebration and “book launch” party. And it’s gonna be right here in Orange County — at the Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel in downtown Huntington Beach on Saturday, April 29.
There will be both a private reception and a full-on “launch party.” On hand for the gala evening will be Bruce Brown himself along with the two main stars of the movie, Robert August and Mike Hynson. Also in attendance will be former Women’s World Champions Linda Benson and Jericho Poppler, along with former Men’s World Champ Freddy Hemmings. Plus, in case that’s not enough star…