Back around 1980, Bruce Brown — the director of the iconic 1960s surf film The Endless Summer as well as the 1971 motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday — came upon 42 acres of remote property for sale on the Gaviota coastline just north of the city of Santa Barbara.
Just a couple of years earlier, he and wife, Patricia, had built a house for their family in inland Orange County. “But it was too far inland,” shares Dana Brown, one of the couple’s three children and a film director himself (Step Into Liquid). “They were like, ‘We can’t believe we built our dream house here. It’s too hot.’”
Taken with the remote coastal location of the Gaviota property — it’s adjacent to a beach that’s renowned for its prime surf breaks — Bruce and Patricia bought the acreage and built a house there. “They got a double-wide trailer and lived there as they were building the house,” recalls Dana, whose brother Wade came up to help build the residence one summer.
Bruce died in 2017 at age 80; Patricia died in 2006
Now, the 42-acre property is being listed by Brown’s family for $4.75 million. It includes a rustic 4,000-square-foot, four-bedroom main house with a great room and a generously sized front porch and a sprawling 4,000-square-foot garage with four bays. Other details include a potbelly stove in the great room, the work table by Bruce edited many of his films, including The Endless Summer, a private well, small horse barn and fenced pasture.
The ranch also has access to the beach — near a point break named Brown’s Point after Bruce’s passing — and is located close to Hollister Ranch, an exclusive gated community where residents have included director James Cameron, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, musician Jackson Browne.
The ranch — where no neighbors are in sight — is listed with Kerry Mormann and Joe Ramos of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.
While it’s being marketed as the Endless Summer Ranch, the property, which offers panoramic coastal views, was known to the family for years simply as “Camp Brown,” according to Ramos. “Dana and his dad actually cut and edited [1994’s] The Endless Summer II in the house together. It’s got a lot of soul and a lot of spirit. This was Bruce’s kind of place. He never wanted to leave once he built it. It was hard to get him to go to anywhere.” Adds Dana, “The climate is so good and the ocean is right there and it’s everything they wanted.”
The ranch also “became a place for Bruce’s hobbies,” says Ramos. “He used to wake up and shoot skeet. He used to have a go-kart track for the kids in front of the house. Then he got really into remote flying airplanes. Bruce was also really into rally-type cars and so the garage was really a garage of his toys. It was a playground for him.” Adds Dana, “He would ride his motorcycles and he got into collecting old Hudsons — Hudson Hornets and Hudson Terraplanes. He was kind of a gear head. He loved old stuff, the older the better.”
Much of the Gaviota coastline today remains undeveloped. “Bruce had the opportunity to travel all around the world but he staked his place right on the Gaviota coastline for good reason,” details Ramos. “It offers a type of lifestyle in terms of activities, in terms of the natural world that is very unique. If you have ever driven the 101 [freeway] and left Santa Barbara, you come to this pristine, undeveloped stretch of coastline that also has legendary surf.”
Speaking to the impact that father-and-son filmmakers Bruce and Dana Brown had on the surf community, pro surfer Laird Hamilton told the Los Angeles Times in 2003, “They are the documentarians of our sport and [their films] come second only to the performances of the surfers themselves. They are artists … who share the wonderful world of surfing with the world and they seem to be able to do it decade after decade.”
But beyond the connection to surf history and lore, the property for Dana is a place of fond family memories. “It’s a big house and it was just a fun place to come and hang out,” says Dana. “There would be big get-togethers for holidays with all different generations. Our hope is that it will go to a family that will enjoy it and create their own memories too.”