Robert Alan August was born in Hermosa Beach in 1944 and grew up just down the California coast in Seal Beach. His father, Orral "Blackie" August, was a lifeguard at nearby Redondo Beach and was one of the first surfers to ride its waves. Blackie often surfed with Duke Kahanamoku when The Duke would visit Southern California and had Robert surfing at the age of six.
A natural goofy-footer, Robert quickly developed the smooth, relaxed style that allowed him to become a successful contest surfer at a very young age. He finished fourth in the men's division of the 1963 West Coast Championships and third in the '64 U.S. Invitational. In 1965, Robert placed third in the U.S. Surfing Championships and was invited to surf in the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational.
Just a few of months after graduating from Huntington Beach High School--where he was senior class president--Robert was presented with an opportunity that would change his life forever. Along with 21-year old Mike Hynson, filmmaker Bruce Brown chose 19 year-old Robert August to travel the world in search of the perfect wave while making the famed movie The Endless Summer. August was selected over better-known surfers because to Bruce Brown, Robert represented surfing in the positive way he perceived the sport. Not a stranger to Brown's camera, Robert had appeared in three of his movies prior to Endless Summer, including Slippery When Wet (1957), Barefoot Adventure (1960) and Surfing Hollow Days (1961).
Filmed in 1963 and debuted in '64, The Endless Summer played throughout America, with Brown originally providing masterful live narrations. In 1966, Newsweek Magazinenamed the film one of the 10 best movies of the year, and it gave August the recognition that would serve him extremely well in his future business ventures. This once-in-a-lifetime experience, coupled with a lifelong friendship with Brown, made a lasting impression on Robert's life, the effects of which are still evident today.