Revisiting the Little Fishing Village in Ghana from Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer

by Owen James Burke

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“These men were so excited about surfing that we felt sure after we left that they’d shape their own surfboard from some jungle tree and are probably out there surfing right now.” – Bruce Brown. Screenshot from Jamie Tierney’s film/Epic TV (video below).

Every surfer fantasizes about living out one scene from The Endless Summer. For filmmaker Jamie Tierney, it was traveling to Labadi Beach, Ghana to find a “thriving surf community”.

Sadly though, Labadi Beach has been swallowed by the billowing sprawl of Accra, Ghana’s capital city. It was a disheartening sight; there was nothing but plastic and garbage spanning the beach, and no one in the water.

So he set out to find someone who might have been on the beach that day, and recalls meeting Robert August and Mike Hynson, the film’s stars. The average lifespan in Ghana is only 65, so Tierney had his work cut out finding someone still around who was there when August, Hynson and Brown arrived in 1963.

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Samuel, aka “head rope coiler” in The Endless Summer. Screenshot from Jamie Tierney’s film/Epic TV.

After toting his laptop around the village and showing anyone he could, a village elder finally recognized the face of a boy who was given the distinction of “head rope coiler” in the film. He was living just a few blocks away, and more than willing to fill Tierney in on the last 50 years of the village’s surf history, which, suffice it to say, was limited.

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Screenshot from Jamie Tierney’s film/Epic TV.

You can, however, find a beautiful tropical beach with a surf camp just a few hours down the road at Busua Beach. Read more at Epic TV, and for goodness’ sake, if you haven’t seen The Endless Summer, watch it now. -OJB

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