Witty, upbeat surf-moviemaker from Orange County, California; writer and director of 2003's Step Into Liquid. The son of The Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown, Dana Brown was born (1959) and raised in Dana Point and began surfing at age six. He started contributing articles to surf magazines in 1986 and continued publishing into the 1990s; "Twilight in the Impact Zone," his 1997 Surfer's Journal feature, is a dark-humored autobiographical take on the trials of the middle-aged surfer, including divorce and alcoholism.
In the early 1990s, Brown helped his father and big-wave surfer-filmmaker Greg Noll transfer their old surf movies to video. He spent two years traveling with his father to film Endless Summer II (1994), for which he received cowriter and coeditor credits; he then worked on 50 Years of Surfing on Film (1997), a 12-part TV series produced by Opper Films and The Surfer's Journal, and also worked on the follow-up series Great Waves (1998).
Step Into Liquid cost $2.5 million and took three years to make; it had a limited-release run in the summer of 2003; the reviews and box office numbers were both excellent. Like Endless Summer, Step Into Liquid is a cheerful and easygoing travelog, with Brown's good natured voice-over connecting a series of vignettes from the near and far corners of the surf world. Dust to Glory, Brown's documentary about the Baja 1000 off-road race and the follow-up to Step Into Liquid, had a limited theater release in mid-2005. He then directed Highwater, a documentary on the 2009 Triple Crown of Surfing.
Brown lives in Long Beach, California. He's been married once and has three children. Islands in the Stream, the debut surf movie from Wes Brown, Dana's oldest child, was released in 2004. The Browns are the only three-generation family of surf-moviemakers.