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Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Brown's Director's Cut of classic

On average, the ESPN Action Sports online network runs some 18 videos per week, roughly 1,000 per year. That means that across surfing, moto, skiing, rally, skateboarding, and the rest, there are hundreds of folks who make a living off action sports video. Maybe they're not breaking the bank, but they're doing what they love.

Bruce Brown didn't originally break the bank when he made "The Endless Summer," in the early 60s either. It's not only the most popular surf movie of all time; it took this film genre in a new direction.

"The Endless Summer" wasn't the first action sports film. Warren Miller made "Sun Valley Ski Bums" in 1947. And when it comes to surfing, Bruce Brown's predecessor, Bud Browne, made the first commercial surf film in 1953. But "The Endless Summer" reached an exponentially larger audience than either of those, and set a standard for an action-driven documentary about a lifestyle. Then Bruce Brown went on to make ski, rally car, and skateboard films. In fact, his dirt bike movies like "On Any Sunday" are considered as classic in the moto world as "The Endless Summer" in surf circles.

Monterrey Media just released "The Endless Summer (Director's Special Edition.)" It's a two-disk set, digitally re-mastered, with a retrospective, Bruce Brown timeline, feature on the film's poster art from around the world, and outtakes from both the original and "The Endless Summer II." All in all, it's a surf memorabilia collector's dream.

Bruce Brown to Robert August: "Hey Robert, let's get some footy for the new Real Surf X Games event."

"I never considered that it was something of a genre. There was no money in that stuff. I loved surfing and I got into moto later in life. I just loved meeting the people who were into these things, and how unlike the mainstream media liked to portray them as. I would get so interested and just go overboard and make a film about it," he told me recently.

The irony that he's releasing a director's cut for a film he put together in his garage 45 years ago, doesn't escape him.

The digitally re-mastered version is available for $29.95 here. It will play outdoors at the New Jersey Surf Museum annex of the Tuckerton Seaport on May 7th.