Back Seat Producers Season 07 Shows

BSP Episode 235: The Endless Summer/Step Into Liquid

The Endless Summer

Release date:  6/15/1966

Monterey Media

Directed, Produced, Written by

  • Bruce Brown

Cast (as themselves)

  • Michael Hynson
  • Robert August
  • Bruce Brown (narrator)


Step into Liquid

Release date:  4/20/2004

Artisan Entertainment

Directed by

  • Dana Brown

Produced by

  • John-Paul Beeghly

Cast (as themselves)

  • Laird Hamilton
  • Dave Kalama
  • Dale Webster
  • Jesse Billauer

For any of you who might still be jonesing for more surfing documentaries, there are two follow-ups by the same producers: The Endless Summer II (1994) by Bruce Brown and The Endless Summer Revisited (2000), by Dana Brown, which contains unused footage from the The Endless Summer and The Endless Summer II.

The hosts review of The Endless Summer:

Darrell thought The Endless Summer was fun to watch.  It’s a travelogue type movie and easy to watch.  He liked that it showed a more innocent time; two surfers travelling the world, chasing the sun and the surf, literally having an “endless summer.”

He also liked the scene at their first stop in Africa where the surfers complained about the cost of their hotel as $30 per night, per person!  Tony added that in that scene, they also complained that the cost of gas was close to $1.00 a gallon (which, truly, was A LOT for 1966).

Tony’s first impression was that it reminded him of a lot of the school documentaries he saw as a child: single camera, lock focus, no dialogue, a single narrator.

Darrell noted that Bruce Brown read a book on how to make movies on the flight to meet his fellow surfers.  Also, to raise money for this film, he gathered his previously shot 16mm footage on surfers (called Waterlogged) and showed it around.

What kept Tony going throughout the documentary was the sense of humor from Brown.  He was occasionally snarky and dry and witty, but if you weren’t watching the film at the same time, the jokes were easily lost.  One such comment was when the surfers were in South Africa, and Brown stated that when not surfing, the guys hung out with the natives.  On the film, though, one of the men is laying on the beach between two bikini-clad South African women.

Both hosts agreed that it’s probably best to watch The Endless Summer in small doses, as opposed to sitting through the full 95 minutes all at once.

Lena’s (from the chat room) favorite line came during the filming in Africa.  Some of the locals were gathered at the beach watching the surfers and Brown said, “Being good Africans, they threw rocks.”  Tony’s favorite was when they were talking about the female surfers in Australia, Brown said (of the girls’ bikinis, when they wipe out), “They just roll up in a ball and go into a clam hole.”

Darrell thought that this was a great time capsule to look at the world in the mid-sixties.  There was no hidden message to this movie… just two guys travelling around the world trying to surf and live an endless summer.


The hosts review of Step into Liquid:

Darrell compared the two as “stepping from the stone age to the space age,” in terms of the technical sport of surfing.  This was the difference between surfing six foot waves and then sixty foot waves.  Both Darrell and Tony also really liked the advances in how they surf (using the wakes from super tankers was pretty cool to see).

Also, the cinematography was amazing (not just in comparison to The Endless Summer, but just within the movie itself.)

This wasn’t noted earlier, but Dana Brown (Step into Liquid) is the son of Bruce Brown (The Endless Summer) and dad Bruce is featured in son Dana’s film.

There was also a much broader group of surfers in Step into Liquid, covering the sport of surfing itself, instead of a singular focus on the two surfers travelling the world in The Endless Summer.

Tony talked about the scene with Jesse Billauer, where they talk about the different ways to surf.  You can be standing on the board, sitting, kneeling, even flat on your belly; it’s all surfing.  You then find out that Jessie was paralyzed in an earlier surfing accident and continues to surf with his buddies (they carry him to his board and he surfs on his belly).  The camaraderie between the surfers was really nice to see.

The section in the second movie that focused on the female surfers was worlds away from the brief mention in the first movie, as well.  A quote (or as close as I can remember) about the women: “Remember that tomboy girl that beat you in sports when you were a little kid?  Well, she’s grown up now and gorgeous and she STILL beats you in sports.”

One surfer that was shown in the movie, Dale “The Daily Wavester” Webster, was on his was to setting a record of consecutive days of surfing, at 10,407.  He did break that record on February 29, 2004.  I also found another mention of his consecutive days of surfing and found that he got at least as far as 13,000 days on April 6, 2011.


Trivial bits ‘n pieces:

In 2002, The Endless Summer was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The previously unknown break off of Cape St. Francis in South Africa, featured in The Endless Summer, went on to become one of the world’s most famous surfing sites.

The 66-foot wave ridden by Mike Parsons in Step into Liquid at the Cortez Bank was believed to have been the largest wave ever surfed at the time the movie was released.  It has since been surpassed by a 70-foot wave ridden by Pete Cabrinha in 2004 at Peahi in Hawaii.


Your Producers for this episode were:

  • Tony
  • Darrell

This episode was recorded: 7/17/2012


One reply on “BSP Episode 235: The Endless Summer/Step Into Liquid”

I haven’t listened to this episode, yet, but Step Into Liquid is awesome. Another surfing documentary that is a treat is Riding Giants. And another Dana Brown documentary that you have to see is Dust to Glory.

Strangely, as much as I like educational television shows, modern documentaries tend to bore me to tears. But I could watch any of those three films almost any time, I enjoy them so much.

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