Endless Summer 50th Anniversary celebration

Text and photos by Neftalie Williams 

On Sunday May 4th, amidst the first week of 90 degree weather, Bruce Brown’s seminal film, the Endless Summer, returned to Huntington Beach. Its triumphant 50th anniversary party at the Hilton anchored the notion of surfing’s historic ties to this amazing stretch of Southern California coastline.

On display were numerous pieces of memorabilia from the Endless Summer archives, including the original receipts from now defunct airlines. The receipts served as testimony to the wanderlust fueled mission of Bruce Brown and his crew’s search for the perfect wave. Attendees were reminded of a simpler time in the film’s history, evident by the now framed, pencil-written haphazardly brokered deal of ownership, distribution and payout for everyone involved in the production. Bruce Brown was on hand throughout the event to discuss the magic of how a film with such humble beginnings eventually became a worldwide phenomenon and entered into the global consciousness. 

Artist John Van Hamersveld, creator of the iconic imagery for the Endless Summer posters, discussed how the neon colors used in the imagery were new technology during that period. The posters specific use of color and silhouette made it easy for anyone to envision themselves within the film, a surefire part of its enduring quality. Van Hamersveld’s work for the film eventually became his calling card in the art world, and contributed in part to his landing a position as graphic designer at Capitol records, designing album covers for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.The event served as more than a platform for musings about yesteryear and provided the platform for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser. Previous Endless Summer collaborations were auctioned off to benefit the foundation with items ranging from Dusters’ Endless Summer skateboards to a five-night stay in Costa Rica. During the event a young girl with cystic fibrosis spoke to the crowd about her condition, her love of surfing, and how her exposure to salt water during her surfing sessions is improving her battle with the disease.The charity event and 50th anniversary of the Endless Summer party concluded with a longer screening of the film and recognition of the positive impact of Brown’s film on both surfing and the perception of the culture worldwide.