|I guess what really
pressed my button on this idea was the fact that when I was learning to
surf the only book on surfing was "Surfing in Southern California" by Doc
Varle. You'd see the huge redwood boards all lined up, like the "San Onofre
Club posing", the "Paddle Board Club posing", with these huge boards behind
them like an immense picket fence. And the boards were personalised. They
were all homemade, because there was no commercial manufacturing, guys
would take their time and sign their work of art. Like a painting they'd
put a specific insignia on it, or a picture of a beautiful girl, or something
similar. This meant the thing that they'd probably taken months to glue
up and carve out was made even more personal.
They got their idea from the early Hawaiians who of course did the same thing except they actually had a name for their board, that's how personal it was. George Downing had one called "Pepe", he's still got it, the name "Pepe" is inlaid in mother of pearl on the nose of it.
On one of my flrst trips to the Islands we went into Wally Froseith's basement and there hanging on the roof underneath this house were all these old ~ boards and he had names for i every one of them. I always remember one named "Sampan Row" and I asked him where that originated and he said: "Well, the biggest surf that you get is Outside Castles (Waikiki) and it's so big out there that the sampans, when they come out of Honolulu, are just passing outside the break". So that's the name Sampan Row, it was a big board reserved strictly for ridin "big big Outside Castles. I just thought that was great and I loved the way the words kinda roll off your tongue.It appears to me what happened was, when guys were making their own boards, the time involved with this project brought them a lot closer to the product, to the point where there was actually a relationship established.
It would take so long to carve out a redwood or a balsawood board that the prolonged involvement with this object would give you a feel or a name for it. By working at it on a day to day basis a sort of a relationship would be established to the point where it became almost an indentity.
This personalisation disappeared because we buy' em commercially now, made by other people. It's a product, which gives it a bit more of an inanimate feel and yet everybody knows that after surfmg a board for a period of time, there is something that becomes established between you and the board.
Everybody has or has had a good board that they really liked. Suddenly, when it's stolen from them, it's a definite loss, it becomes a possession of some unknown personality. There's a tremendous sense of loss and not just for the value of the board, it's for the time involvement - the invested good times that you've spent with this friend and the good times that this friend has provided for you.
ALWAYS A MAJOR
2. THE DUKE WITH NAME
AND SURFING CLUB
EMBLEM, circa 1930.
3. CHRIS BYRNE WITH COMPANY
LOGO, circa 1979. - Substitute
Now the story on the pig board is
that Velzy shaped a kneeboard, (or a belly-board we called it in
those days) for some guy. He gave it to the glasser and the glasser at that stage was kind of experimenting with putting names on boards, trying to give them a little bit of 'colour' because everything was that same balsawood colour. He painted a picture of a pig standing on a board on it and then he gave it to his brother to glass (they had a partnership going). The brother glassed the fin on the wrong end because when the pig was painted it was going in the wrong
direction. When the brother saw the pig he said "Okay, the pig is facing the direction the board will travel" so he put the fin on the other end.
So because of the mistake of an artist,
the original pig board was born. Bobby Patterson borrowed
this board from a friend because he thought he could stand up on it and as soon as he rode the thing he just went haywire. It's only recently, since boards have gone short again, that the old pig principle,
which is the principle of the widest point behind centre has kind of faded out. But the artistic tie-in is there with development history.
I remember also when I was just learning,
that you inevitably borrow everybody's board because you can't afford one
yourself. Because they're everybody elses', you never get that feeling
about them, it would just be that some boards are better than others. But
when you get your first board, the one that actually belongs to you and
that Igives you the power to say "No you can't borrow it, I want to go
out now", there's something, special about that board.
While coloured surfboards have been
around, even before fibreglass, as guys used to paint their old redwoods
and things with marine paint, it always takes a somebody of major stature
to give approval to a new trend because it's also pretty much an indication
of where the owner's at. Certainly the colour that Mark Richards evokes
in his wetsuits and his surfboard decor sets him apart from the ordinary
surfer. Even while he's standing on the beach, to witness this tremendous
display of colour before it even goes into the water is to establish an
identification that's easy to reacquaint as soon
as it drops into a wave out there somewhere in the ocean.
When Australia got permission] to become a "World Power in Surfing", initially through the international wins of Midget Farrelly and Nat Young, the attitudes also changed in regard to the fact that they could now become leaders and did not have to remain followers. This pervaded the surfmg industry as well.
All board decals, when I fIrst came here in 1959-60, were direct rip-offs of long established labels. The departures from this copy cat tradition started to occur after the wins of these two people, and they've continued.
||8. THE INSTANTLY RECOGNISED
McCOY LOGO ...
....WAS DERIVED FROM THE
THE KEYO LOGO WAS ITSELF DERIVED
On my last visit to California, which admittedly was years ago, I was not impressed with their, I guess colours, or decoration -the creative signature of Californian surfboards was very subordinate, which also seemed to reflect their position in the world suring scene. Whereas Midget Farrelly, in the old Brookvale shop, was virtually screaming the superiority of Australian boards and surfmg and surfers in the colours and in the combinations and in the finish of the boards that he was making at that time. His impression on the market at that stage was so immense that direct planshape, colour combination rip-offs were acceptable as the only way that you could possibly compete.
This same shout of confidence is
reflected in the Terry Fitzgerald/Martin Worthington combinations. Although
the airbrush on surfboard idea was not unique to Fitzy, he brought the
idea back I think, the end detail that was delivered by the combination
in the motifs and in the murals and in the involved artwork, was defmitely
unique at that time. It's only now being duplicated in various other parts
world. I remember er that tremendous feeling I had when I saw a broken and battered Hot Buttered that had obviously come off second best with the rocks at Kirra, sitting in the used and destroyed board racks of Goodtimes (Surfboards) in a Kirra. On the bottom of this thing was this gorgeous mural with huge dents and scrapes and shatter marks and dirty wax all over it. I thought to myself what a tremendous crime that this piece of artwork was now going to be resigned to the junkyard somewhere, hopelessly unrepairable. It had the signature of good art, you knew that it was an original, that someone had taken a lot of time with rhythm, the composition and the flow. It was all there. And it was very disappointing, the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I saw it there just destined for the junkpile.
Surfboard art, I guess, really has
to be throwaway art because of the nature of canvas - foam and fibregiass
eventually. deteriorates, and there's nothing you can do about it.
In working out designs to put on surfboards, you have to keep in mind the objective of the board and figure out somehow or other how to enhance that objective through line or colour or combination.
It's difficult to get past the basic foil or ramifications of those same curves because every line of a board is a flowing line. There is, to my mind, nothing static in either planshapes, bottom curves or rail line. The variation of course is airbrush. Here you can put the creation of the world on it because you're not enhancing the board, you're creating a whole different visual excitement trip. The board becomes a means of expression, you're not really enhancing the boards existing lines, you're not further developing the board, you're creating a whole different visual excitement trip. The board becomes a vehicle of conveyance of mood and idea - Speed and colour or colours that denote speed: bright colours, sharp colours, deep water fIsh flashing at speed through depths, the curve of porpoises' backs, sea birds, jet planes, rocket fIsh, flames, heat, all the things that denote speed and performance.
A design factor of great importance
to both the look and image of a manufacturer's product is his trademark
or logo. One combination that has stood the test of time is California's
Hobie Alter and his flying H. However, I don't think any logo has been
more successful than the Lightning Bolt which is of course a speed car
symbol. It's one that everybody identifies with strongly. That ideally
is what most manufacturers are looking for now. But I think that the difference
is that although there are plenty of symbols around, the test is, can you
make that partIcular symbol mean something? Which of course
Gerry Lopez has done quite often.
The pinlines are my personal favourites, probably because I don't have the patience to do airbrush. It takes a very special dedication to put that much time and effort into the creations that go into really really good airbrush and to just see them walk out the door, I personally couldn't do that. But I guess the people who do these things need the money and also need the avenue of expression. At least their work is being appreciated and they're being allowed to do what they enjoy doing.
The inventor of pinlines is unknown
to me, but I think the idea came from the radical customisation of hot
rods era in the late 4Os and early 50s with pinline specialists in America
like Von Dutch who was probably the empitomy of decor masters - flames
and scallops and all this sort of thing on hot rods. Somebody must have
picked up the idea that the cutline that you get when you lay up the bottom
and top of a surfboards glass, might best be served by turning it into a decoration of sorts. And so pinlines began with the idea of covering up that cutline so that it looked a little better, and from there the idea just exploded - two pinlines are better than one, two pinlines of a different colour
is even more exciting, and there it went.
|11. SIMON ANDERSON AND BROTHER MARK
DESIGNED THE UNIQUE WIDE
BORDER RAIL LOOK,
BACK AT ENERGY'S INCEPTION
FIVE YEARS AGO.
THE DESIGN AND
For colour combinations and colours
on colours, such as colour lines on a colour, background, it helps to know
the person who the board's going to. To people who are of a conservative
nature you wouldn't give bright clashing colours, colours that excite.
You'd give them colours that are sedate, that speak of organisation and
composure, that accent the image that they project. Unless of course they
give you, a directly opposite order. I always think of what. the guy wears,
what he drives, how he speaks and then his surfing style too. You don't
build a turning, super hotdogging board for a guy who likes to make long
running drives. You would also make long running designs of a fairly simply
nature for this would seem more like the person. Whereas a hotdogger, a
guy who's really out there to
bend it, would of course get brighter colours, a more broken up design, hotter panel combinations. If you can tie the colours in with the guys surfing personality then once again you're enhancing his abilities visually. And if you've enhanced it designwise, you've come a lot closer to satisfying at least the image that this person projects, which I'm sure is also the image that he's aware of.
A happy customer is the end satisfaction,
a guy who's pleased all the way around with the product that, he's purchased.
Tbe idea being to satisfy all the levels of personal need which of course
are physical and mental. I'm not prepared to say which is the most important
of the two. I personally find the mental is much more important than the
physical because that's where the satisfaction feeling rests, in the mind,
not in the body.
12. COOPER PULLS THE TAPE.
13. COOPER PULLS THE TAPE #2.
2. THE DUKE WITH NAME AND SURFING
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 29 Number 2 (circa May 1980) page 30
3. CHRIS BYRNE WITH COMPANY LOGO
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 29 Number 4 page 79
Photograph by Aintionn
Original photograph and caption :
PHIL BYRNE WITH COMPANY LOGO AND SPONSOR
4. MARTYN WORTHINGTON WHO WITH TERRY
FITZGERALD CREATED A WHOLE NEW IMAGE FOR SURFBOARD DECORATION HERE.
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 29 Number 2 (circa May 1980) page 35
5. THE WORK OF GOLD COAST BASED SHANE
EGAN, TRANSLATOR OF FANTASY AND IDEALISM. - Substitute
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 26 Number 1 page 77
Photograph by Bruce Channon
6. MARK RICHARDS WITH HIS SUPERMAN
'MR' LOGO - Substitute
Mark Richards, Merewether Beach, NSW circa 1979
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 28 Number 3 page 64
Photograph by Aintionn
7. LARRY BERLTEMAN WITH HIS GEOMETRIC
DESIGN OF LAST SEASON
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 29 Number 2 (circa May 1980) page 46
Photograph by Warren Bolster
8. THE INSTANTLY RECOGNISED McCOY
LOGO ...- Substituted
Original photograph and caption :
MARTY LEE, SHOWING McCOY DERIVATION AT MAROUBRA. PHOTOGRAPHY TONY NOLAN.
9. COLOUR JUNKIE TERRY FITZGERALD
ALWAYS DRAWING THE NEON LINE.
THE RAINBOW HAS PROVIDED INSPIRATION FOR A UNIQUE HOT BUTTERED IMAGE. -Substitute
10. GERRY LOPEZ WITH THE BOLT - PROBABLY
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SURFING LOGO
Gerry Lopez, Pipeline circa 1973
Photograph by Lerner
Surfer Magazine Vol 14 # 3 September 1973 page 48
11. SIMON ANDERSON AND BROTHER MARK
DESIGNED ... - Sustituted
Simon Anderson and Hawaiian Quiver, Winter 1977.
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 30 Number 1 page 28
Photograph by Aintionn
12. COOPER PULLS THE TAPE
Surfing World Magazine, Volume 29 Number 2 (circa May 1980) page 49.
Photograph by Aintionn
13. COOPER PULLS THE TAPE #2
Surfing World Magazine, Issue 240 (circa May 1995?) page 82
Photograph by Aintionn
This photograph taken circa 1979 in the same shoot as Image 1, but was not published until 1995.