SHACC brings ‘The Endless Summer,’ historic surf artifacts, luau, Kahanamoku birthday fete to the Smithsonian

A “talk story” session at the SHACC National Luau brought together (L to R) Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver, master of ceremonies; Bruce Brown, “The Endless Summer” director and narrator; Bob Bagley, cinematography; and Mike Hynson and Robert August, featured surfers. Photo: Denny Michael
A “talk story” session at the SHACC National Luau brought together (L to R) Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver, master of ceremonies; Bruce Brown, “The Endless Summer” director and narrator; Bob Bagley, cinematography; and Mike Hynson and Robert August, featured surfers. Photo: Denny Michael

By Dale Di Pietro and Linda Michael, Special to the San Clemente Times

On Saturday, Aug. 22 the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center made surfing history in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History by facilitating a significant donation of historic surf culture artifacts.

During this monumental event for the global surf community, SHACC and private donors Spencer Croul, Fernando Aguerre, Keith Eshelman, Sharon Marshall and R. Paul Allen presented the Smithsonian with a timeline of five surfboards representing the early evolution of the surfboard. The boards ranged from a 1920s Duke Kahanamoku redwood to a Hobie bisect from the 1960s. Additional surf culture artifacts donated included an original 16mm print of Bruce Brown’s influential 1966 documentary, The Endless Summer, a large silkscreened print of the film’s iconic poster and a collection of other artifacts related to the film.

“It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career to be part of this historic weekend in our nation’s capital,” said Paul Strauch, SHACC executive director. “We not only celebrated surfing and surf culture being recognized as catalysts for change and innovation in American society, but we also celebrated the 125th birthday of Duke Kahanamoku.

Bruce Brown holds one of the cameras he used a half-century ago in the filming of ‘The Endless Summer.’ Photo: Linda Michael
Bruce Brown holds one of the cameras he used a half-century ago in the filming of ‘The Endless Summer.’ Photo: Linda Michael

The public donation ceremony was highlighted by two panel discussions moderated by Jeffrey Brodie, deputy director of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for The Study of Invention and Innovation. The theme for the panel discussions was “Wave of Innovation—Surfing and The Endless Summer.” Educational discussions focused on the innovations and inventions the sport and lifestyle surfing have brought to the American culture. The discussion panels included: Endless Summer filmmaker, Bruce Brown; co-stars Robert August and Mike Hynson; boogie board inventor Tom Morey; Barry Haun, SHACC curator and creative director, Duncan Wilson, SHACC Education Committee chairman; surfing legend Fred Hemmings; big wave surfing pioneer and surfboard shaper, Greg Noll and Strauch.

Saturday’s donation ceremony was preceded by the first-ever SHACC National Luau and fundraiser, held Friday, Aug. 21 at the Reagan Building & International Trade Center. During the luau, with Robert “Wingnut” Weaver serving as the master of ceremonies, replicas of the surfboards ridden by August and Hynson in The Endless Summer were sold in a live auction, along with a replica of a Duke Kahanamoku solid wood surfboard. Another highlight of the evening was watching as Cecil Lear, co-founder of the Eastern Surfing Association, being presented with the SHACC Lifetime Achievement Award.

“To have surfing recognized in 2015 by the Smithsonian Institution––with SHACC’s donation of significant surfboards to the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, the induction of The Endless Summer into the Smithsonian’s archive and the honoring of Kahanamoku at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian––is a collective celebration of surfing as a catalyst of cultural change and innovation in America and far beyond.” said Paul Holmes, surf historian and author.

The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center, founded in 2000, is dedicated to “preserving, presenting and promoting surfing’s heritage for the appreciation and education of current and future generations.” The San Clemente-based nonprofit organization’s mission is to serve as the world’s foremost educational and support resource for surfing publications, manufacturers and museums. To find out more about SHACC, visit www.surfingheritage.org.

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