Prior to 1964, the media saw surfers as rebellious thugs, and Hollywood made them out to be a bunch of idiots. Filmmaker Bruce Brown single- handedly changed that with The Endless Summer. It portrayed the wave as a kind of Holy Grail and surfers as knights on a quest. In one stroke, he replaced Hollywood’s buffoonery with the popular mythology that endures today.
The Endless Summer was Brown’s sixth surfing film in a career that started almost accidentally and proceeded according to the guerrilla template of the times — shoot all winter, edit in the spring, run your ass off all summer showing the damn thing (including doing your own live narration) in school auditoriums and small halls, then pack up for another winter on the road and do it all over again. With The Endless Summer, Brown broke that mold.