Saturday, 13 December 2008


Philip George's Islamic Surfboards

Just spotted an article which sparked my interest on the BBC website. Philip George is an Australian artist who creates beautifully patterned surfboards with artwork and motifs from the Islamic world.

He has recently produced an exhibition, on display at Casula Powerhouse in Sydney until 18 January, which looks stunning. The exhibition, entitled Borderlands, is the culmination of 7 years of work carried out by Phillip George within Australia and throughout the Middle East.

In the words of the artist: "The emblematic ‘Inshalla’ (God Willing) surfboards symbolically provide buoyancy in the spaces between borders: the Australian beach and the edges of Western culture, and the Islamic world. Borderlands celebrates the metaphysical art of Arabic, Ottoman and Persian worlds and the transcendental nature of surfing, of which both traditions speak to the wonder and complexity of the universe."

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Camper Van Man

Porth Oer, Lleyn peninsular

Following the adventures of Chris Haslam and his family as they travel around the UK over the course of six weeks to discover the best beaches this mini blog is well worth a read.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

New album from Neil Halstead

Since listening to Neil Halstead last week I've been obsessed with a couple of songs he played at both gigs. Tracking them down has been virtually impossible but this must be because they are off his new solo album, due for release in the UK 29 July.

Living in Cornwall, with a penchant for surfing, bikes and the cultivation of facial hair, Neil is now signed to Brushfire Records and this is his second solo album. He's touring with Jack Johnson in the States during August but is currently lining up some UK and European gigs for September.

Thankfully Neil has just uploaded two songs off the new record, Oh Mightly Engine! onto his MySpace page and they are most definitely worth a listen.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Happening in the UK

The Happening at Village Underground

This week I was lucky enough to check at The Happening in both London and Cornwall. On Tuesday night the show rolled into Village Underground, Shoreditch. The venue was great and it was a nice sunny evening which is always a bonus. The brick, arched interior provided an atmospheric backdrop and the rooftop terrace, scattered with reconditioned tube carriages, was set up by the Roxy crew with promotional posters and clothing.

Photography by Joe Curren

With art from established names such as Andy Davis, Thomas Campbell, Harry Daily and David Lloyd, photography from Joe Curren and Ryan Heywood, films from Woodshed productions and music from Mason Jennings, Neil Halstead, Zach Gill and G Love it really was a rare treat.

Zach Gill

However, it was a disappointment that there weren't more artists on hand to talk about their artwork and inject some real life into the fantastic array of pictures and films that the event its supposed to represent. In their absence, which was partly due to the artists having to fund their own travel, there was no information available on the art which left the focus firmly on the music and film. It was also a shame that so many people who should have known about the show well in advance saw it completely pass them by. Tickets were available on the door and there was plenty of room inside. This wasn't through a lack of interest, but largely because the marketing for this event was pretty low key and communications virtually non-existant.

The tube carriages

Fast forward three days to a windswept, sodden Gwithian and The Happening had arrived in Cornwall. The weather outside had no impact on the jubilant mood inside and the Sandsifter was packed the rafters with a tent out the front to host the musicians who included Mason Jennings, Neil Halstead, Matt Costa and G Love.

Matt Costa

The vibe was really friendly and although the art was a bit crammed in it felt very at home in its location. It was a bonus to meet Mike Fordham, man behind September and the Book of Surfing, and chat with Helen Gilchrest about her plans for Stranger magazine. There weren't any pieces from Wolfgang Bloch or Andrew Kidman but it was good to see local artists such as Ben Cooke represented.

Harry Daily

I had pretty high expectations for the Happening and although I certainly wasn't disappointed I would have liked to have seen more focus on the artwork. Cornwall hosts gigs all the time but the opportunity to see art from some of the most recognised surf artists of our time is much rarer. The concept is genius and lets hope they come back even bigger and better next year.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Roxy Jam Biarritz

Finally, Roxy has uploaded the information on the 2008 Roxy Jam in Biarritz. With the perfect combination of art, music and some of the most stylish longboard surfers in the world, the festival is going to be awesome.

The Roxy Jam will take place between 11 and 16 July in and around Biarritz in South West France.

Check out all the info at

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Finisterre & Observer Ethical Awards = Cornish Gold

I'm a bit behind the curve on this news but I couldn't not give it a mention. Earlier this month Finisterre , the Cornish surf culture company, won the Observer Ethical Award for Ethical Business of the Year. Fantastic recognition for the hard work and real commitment the guys have given to founding and successfully running an ethical, sustainable, inspiring and individual company.

Here's why the judges awarded Finisterre with the Gold...

We're not into the whole corporate culture or in a rush to achieve super-aggressive sales targets,' says Finisterre founder Tom Kay, who set up the winning ethical surf-wear brand six years ago with a Prince's Trust grant. To be honest, his corporate disclaimer is superfluous once you visit the three Finisterre idealists who run the brand from their surfer caravans in St Agnes, Cornwall.

This is clearly no normal fashion label. In fact, it's all about 'testing convention', from the way they (very efficiently) run their mail order through the tiny local post office, shun cheap fabrics in favour of renewable or recyclable fibres, and have pulled out of China ('That would be considered commercial suicide for most sportswear brands,' says marketing man Ernie Capbert) in favour of working with nuns in Colombia and a women's outreach project.

Our panellist eco-designer Max McMurdo appreciated the way the brand had resisted the temptation to go too high end, as so many ethical labels do, and admired the way Finisterre refused to 'distance itself from the high street' but instead normalised ethical production. The design is not bad either. GQ magazine declared the Finisterre Anabatic shell jacket one of the '100 Best Things Right Now' last year. Now we declare it an ethical winner.

Go here to see the award video and find out more.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Sustainability in Surfing

Having bowled up to the Eden Project more than a couple of times it’s always good to have a reason to visit the giant biomes other than to see if the Titan arum (aka the stinking flower) has bloomed to exceed the previous year’s heady heights of 164 cm or whatever its current record is.

Last week saw the opening of a new exhibition highlighting sustainability in surfing which showcases the striking artwork of Ben Cook whilst raising awareness of the murkier side of the sport that’s inherent in the many surf-related objects that are non bio-degradable and toxic.

The main focus of the exhibition is an original VW Westfalia camper with surfboards and wetsuits trailing out of the back, based on a 1969 installation by Joseph Beuyes’s that explored human survival in the face of technological failure. The original work had 24 sleds falling from the rear of a camper van with each sled having a roll of fat strapped to it for warmth, a lump of animal fat for energy and a torch for direction.

Ben has swapped the sled for surfboards, the felt for wetsuits, the animal fat for surf wax and the original flashlights have been replaced with tide tables to represent survival and direction. In addition to The Pack 2008 you can also view further exhibits in The Core where groundbreaking sustainable materials being developed by Cornish companies such as Homeblown Surfboards and Sustainable Composites, have been used to create wall-based abstract ‘landscape paintings’.

In an interview with the utterly brilliant Stranger magazine Ben Cook said: “I want to raise awareness of ecological issues relevant to the surfing community through my work.” The whole exhibition highlights the serious environmental consequences of surfing becoming an increasing popular leisure activity across the world in the 21st century.

The exhibition runs at The Eden Project. until September 4 and Ben's stylish eco-friendly landscape paintings are available to purchase.

Friday, 13 June 2008

David Lloyd

Backside Rip Tide

Came across the artwork of David Lloyd earlier this week and really like photograph painting combinations on his website. The image here is one of my favourites but Solar Arch and Blue Green Surf Girl are also stunners.

Stay away from surfing themes in your art, said the gallery people, because it won't be good for your career. So, at first, David Lloyd avoided images of waves and beaches and became well known in the art world for his complex, vibrant, and enigmatic abstractions. But the more he denied the impulse to explore the activity that has most colored his life, the stronger it became. He began to create surf paintings quietly, on the side, with devotion.

Lloyd believes anyone who surfs should be involved in design and has a number of bizarre-looking boards to record his journey. Lloyd admits that to search endlessly is better than to find. He relishes the longing for waves that may not even exist. It is that longing that lights his imagination ablaze to paint the parade of moments and days from the fiery ocean.

Lloyd's work evokes the memories that all surfers have stored up inside. They remind us of daydreams and of waves that might someday be, "Deep in your head there is this place, and it's not Huntington Pier," he says. “Surfers live in longing for that moment, they relish the anticipation. But arriving there is never as good as you picture it. Eventually, your memory mixes up all these snapshots of the best days and they all become part of this inner place." Anticipation and memory, those long-lived impressions flanking the instantaneous rush of a wave, are paramount.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Three Exhibition at LCB

(C) Kate Czuczman

Opening on 25 June, the LCB surf shop in London's Brick Lane will host an exhibition of surf photography by three of the UK's top female foam snappers. Lucia Griggi, Kate Czuczman and Mel Enright met through shared friends and projects whilst surfing. Bonded by their desire to travel and surf and a love for one another's work they have collaborated on this exhibition that contrasts their different photographic journeys through a shared surfing experience.

Each of the three photographers will display their own distinctive style and medium to document the same surf subject matter, demonstrating how the one location can be seen in such contrast through different eyes.

Lucia is one of the very few female professional surf photographers in the UK and her work regualrly graves the pages of all the main British surfing magazines. Lucia takes pictures that capture "different facets of the surfing lifestyle" and this exhibition will also feature some of her images laminated onto surfboards and 'other' objects. Kate founded the surf travel company Big Friday with whom she has travelled around the world. Along the way she picked up an insatiable thirst for old skool cameras and different film formats. Mel first started documenting her travels on a six-month surfing sabbatical five years ago and is most interested in the powerful natural beauty of the surfing sea, landscape and people; the play of light, bold colour and pattern.

The show runs from 25 June through to 14 August

Friday, 6 June 2008

Yearning for the Shortstraw

I really love the vibe of this art-based surf wear brand. Co-founded by Jim Mitchell, Sam Coombes and Ben Waters these guys take their inspiration from "pre-war Hawaii and its original innovators, 50’s and 60’s California and its smooth stylemasters, the wild trailblazers of Australia in the late 60’s and 70’s, through to the present free-thinking watermen who embody a new time of openness, reverence and genuine stoke for difference and variety."

Shortstraw offers a refreshing approach to surf wear that embraces the original concept of the sport - the joy of foam dancing. They've only been going a couple of years but came from the stables of Mambo and so, with a combination of talent and experience, Shortstraw has already won over some of the most influential stockists in their native Australia and in the States. Great website, great brand, awesome threads but one request... please can you roll out some gear for the girls?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Beach Polo Anyone?

Billed as "the ultimate culture clash," Polo on the Beach returns to Cornwall this September. Last year the event was held for the first time on a UK beach at Watergate Bay and the tongue in cheek press release promises that upon its return in 2008 "sunbleached surfers will rub shoulders with the thoroughbred set in the late summer's evening of saltwater adrenaline."

Interesting... it's a free event and might be worth a look, if only to see how well cocktail dresses and stillettos translate onto a wet and windy Cornish beach where "turf meets surf."

Sunday, 1 June 2008

UK dates for The Happening

The Happening Live has added an extra date to its world tour. Arriving in London on 1 July the first show takes place at The Village Underground in Shoreditch then rolls into Cornwall on the 4 July for another evening at The Sandsifter in Godrevy, Cornwall. Tickets are available through See for £18 for the Cornwall night and £16 for the London gig. Can't wait...

Roxy posted a new video from the Tokyo event on YouTube... Check it out.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Wolfgang Bloch Profile

Untitled, 2005
Saw this interview with Wolfgang Bloch on Surfline... definitely worth a read. Joel Patterson charts the history of Bloch's art and the words are accompanied by a host of pictures and audio too.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Don't Ban Bilbo!

Bilbo in action down at Sennen

Now I am a big fan of the RNLI but I read this on The Telegraph website today and I have to say that on this occassion I question the judgement...

Bilbo the dog lifeguard sacked by the RNLI

Bilbo, a seven-year-old Newfoundland, had to pass fitness and swimming tests before he could join patrols on the beach at Sennen Cove in Cornwall and he has been credited with helping save three lives. But the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) - which recently took over the running of the beach from the local council - has decided that his services are no longer required.

A spokeswoman said: "The RNLI is contracted to provide a professional lifeguarding service on the beach and has fully trained lifeguards to do this. Bilbo is a privately-owned dog and does not belong to the RNLI. The RNLI will not be using the dog to save lives at sea but does not have the authority to ban dogs from the beach." Bilbo was a regular fixture on the beach and often seen wearing his lifeguard's vest which carried a number of safety messages on it, warning swimmers about the dangerous areas.

The Newfoundlander's great size and fondness for water makes them well suited to the role of rescue dog. "Everyone loves him and he's become an indispensable part of the team," said Steve Jamieson, Bilbo's owner and the head lifeguard on the beach. "If an alert comes in, his ears start twitching and he knows something is on. Once when we were at an otherwise deserted beach checking equipment he heard some body boarders shouting. He ran into the water and swam out to them. They weren't in any danger and were just enjoying themselves but Bilbo was there in case they needed him."

Mr Jamieson, who patrols the beach on his quad bike with 14-stone Bilbo riding on the back, told The Daily Mirror newspaper he was shocked by the decision. "It's a scandal, an absolute disgrace. Bilbo has had fantastic support."

So he's allowed to hang out on the beach and can still turn up for a photoshoot but I think it is a great shame that the RNLI will not recognise that Bilbo has an official role to play. He is a fantastic asset to the team and regardless of his inability to perform CPR or drive the quad bike he undoubtedly raises awareness about the dangers of swimming in the sea, makes the lifeguards more approachable and has been a fantastic PR for the vital role that Beach Lifeguards play up and down the British coastline... all of which the RNLI should use to their advantage.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Surfing in the Sixties

My uncle, grannie, mum and auntie sharing a wave - Cornwall 1964

Monday, 12 May 2008

Surfwise or not so clever? You decide.

I happened across this trailer on YouTube the other day and was intrigued to find out more. Surfwise chronicles the fascinating journey of "Doc" Paskowitz, his wife Juliette and their nine kids. This Jewish man meets his life partner in Juliette and they immediately start a family which just keeps on growing. After two failed marriages, "Doc" packs up his conventional life and goes Bohemian, living off the earth while teaching people how to surf.The family travels around in a 24' cramped trailer – all eleven of them, eating healthy, educating the children 'at home', and surfing everyday. To fund essentials, the Paskowitzs founded a surf school and "Doc" would occasionally take low-level medical positions.

The children became champion surfers and the family featured in more than a few magazine articles and on television. Although many outsiders perceived this nomadic lifestyle idyllic, as the children matured into young adults they started to rebel against "Doc." He was unyielding, offering them few options and as the children left the fold several became estranged from their parents and from each other.

This film comprises inteviews with "Doc" and his family, combined with original footage and photos from the family's travels. What makes the film so appealing is the individuals it portrays - "Doc" is an engaging character who commands your attention - and the realities of living out such an 'idyllic' lifestyle. The freedom, travelling, surfing and innocence all have their price to pay and the children missed out on a formally recognised education which restricted their options in adult life and made integrating back into the "real" world pretty tough. But although "Doc" imposed his way of life on his family you can't really fault him for trying to give them the best that he thought was right - eating well, preserving the planet and loving one another.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Maggie Marsek Exhibition

Another event I would love to go and see. Maggie has some fantastic pictures on her website, I really like the first image on her homepage. You can order prints from her direct but I bet there are some sweet new images at her solo show down at Shelter Surf Shop which opens 31 May. Hopefully someone will post some photos then.

Talking of posting exhibition images, Ryan Tatar rocked down to The Surf Gallery to see the current Long Live Love exhibition... if you like the art of Andy Davis and Tyler Warren you should take a look.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Heather Brown

Heather Brown - In the Barrel

Hawaiian surf artist, Heather Brown is featured in the latest edition of Foam Magazine. There were a load of positive comments after the feature on the website which prompted me to check out her website.

Based on Oahu's north shore, Heather is a surfer and artist who doesn't have to search very far for inspiration. The islands that are her home, the enviable choice of perfect breaks and her love of the sea all combine to make up the essence of her art.

Working in various mediums including acrylics, photography, woodblock prints, screen prints, intaglio prints and linocuts her pictures have a beautiful stained glass effect and she has evidently established a substantial fan base. The picture posted here is from 2006 and has appeared on the pages of both Free Surf magazine and Longboard magazine in 2007.

Having recently been commissioned to do the artwork for Jack Johnson's 2008 Kokua Fest concert, Heather is about to host a solo exhibition entitled fresh flavours of surf at the Chinatown Boardroom in Honolulu which opens on 30 April and runs for the month of May.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Loose-Fit Film Night

I watched the trailer for One California Day and the film looks awesome. This is an artistic surf documentary about surf culture and the traditions of the sport, filmed across six different coastal regions in California and focusing in on the lives of seven different surfers. The movie has been available on DVD stateside since November 2007 but Loose-Fit, in North Devon, is one of the few places in the UK that stocks it.

Following the success of their first film night last month in Bristol, Loose-Fit has decided to do a re-run of the event, this time showing One California Day on Sunday 4 May at 8pm. Here's a trailer that gives some insight into the making of the documentary.

While i'm on the subject, Loose-Fit has a great website and recently I signed up to their 'daily drop' delivering a slice of North Devon beach life straight to my inbox two or three times a week. Nice.The website is great with lots of non-commercial content, the shops look cool, damn they even have a gallery space which has hosted exhibitions by Alex Knost and Devon Howard - have a gander yourself

Friday, 18 April 2008

I Want Your Job: Surfer

I opened yesterday's copy of the Independent to find a nice little interview with Cornish surfer Sam Lamiroy. Click here to read it in full.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Way of The Bird

Having taken a look at Andy Davis’ art I spotted that a while back he had co-written a book with Andrew Kidman which I tracked down on Amazon the other week. It arrived from America really quickly and straight out of the box I read the story of the boy who meets an old man who teaches him to surf and becomes a very influential friend.

Teaming Andy Davis’ illustrations with Andrew Kidman’s photography resulted in a beautiful fit. The book maybe aimed at children but its appeal extends far wider, teaching its readers about the history of surfing, instilling an appreciation for the waves and cultivating a respect for the environment.

I loved simplicity of this book and the enchanting mystery behind the story reminded me of the wonderful Ernest Hemmingway novel The Old Man and The Sea. If I haven't done a good enough job of convincing you it's well worth a read then here is the link to an interview with Andy and Andrew about this book from back in July 2003.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Harry Daily's Sketch Holiday

Harry Daily - Adam & Eve

Harry Daily creates some of the most beautiful surf art I have come across. I happened upon his work by reading an old post from last summer on Beach Bum's excellent blog and I was kicking myself that I hadn’t been on the pulse enough to get down to The Driftwood Gallery the previous August and meet the man in person as well as hotfooting it to the till with one of his original paintings or more likely, considering the current state of my bank balance, a signed limited edition print.

Harry Daily is from San Diego and began to paint and draw before he could even remember. Straight out of high school, Harry started to work for some of the biggest brands in the surf industry including Volcom, Roxy, Surfers Journal, Surfing, Surfer Magazine and Free.

Following the success of his first solo show in 2002, Harry took off for a short surf trip to Australia and did not return for three years. It was during his experience there that the self-described optimistic drifter produced the "Art of Holiday" series.

Since then he has had shows in California and across Europe and this year Harry’s work will touring around the world as part of the The Happening Live exhibition. I can’t wait until the show gets to Cornwall in July to see some of his new artwork up close and in real size. The one I have posted here is from Harry’s Sketch Holiday series from a couple of years ago and I just love them all. You can see plenty more at

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Material Things

This beautiful board bag is crafted by Michele Lockwood who custom makes each one using hand-screened original textiles. I've put it on my wishlist.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Celine Chat at The International Surfing Museum

Celine Chat - Psychedelic Day

Celine Chat is an artist I originally found out about through COTW. I instantly fell in love with her pictures from Guadelope of female surfers painted in beautiful bright colours and full of fun (see above). Trying to discover more about her and find examples of her other artwork has been pretty hard.

Thankfully however she has just recently updated her website and added a whole heap of artwork and travelling photos, probably to coincide with the launch of her new exhibition, opening 20 April, at the International Surfing Museum of Huntington Beach in California. Running throughout the summer the exhibition will include a selection of Celine's artwork painted during her time in Australia, the Caribbean and Brazil.

Celine Chat is a surfer and artist from France. For the past twelve years, she has traveled all over the world in the quest for good waves to surf, different cultures to engage with, and new people to meet. All those discoveries and experiences compose her inspiration. From each of her journeys she came back with a series of very different paintings, distinctive in their style to reflect her lifestyle at that time as well as the country she was living in.

Her unique and creative artwork is now renowned in many countries including France, the US, Australia, the West Indies and Brazil, where last November she was invited, as the only European surf artist, to exhibit at the IV Mostra Alma Surf: an International Surf Culture Festival.

For more of Celine's beautiful pictures, check out her website and if, by some small miracle, anyone happens to read this who visits the show I would love to know what you thought of it.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Driftwood Gallery

Cruising the web to discover more about surf culture I have looked on with envy at the multitude of events and exhibitions that seem to spring up on the other side of the Atlantic. Galleries and surf shops such as Mollusk in New York and The Surf Gallery at Laguna Beach in California seem to host some serious parties showcasing the work of the artists I have read so much about on a regular basis.

But then I came across the Driftwood Gallery in Cornwall. With three shops in Truro, Newquay and Ilfracombe (Devon - but I won't hold that against them)their website has a dedicated section on surf art and the galleries house collections by some of the greats including Wolfgang Bloch, Thomas Campbell, Harry Daily, Albe Falzon and George Greenough as well as a good selection of hot local talent too.

I've signed up to the mailing list and chatted to a couple of guys about various paintings and upcoming shows but if last year's Switchfoot exhibition is anything to go by then this a gallery I will definitely be keeping my eye on. Have a look for yourself

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Thumb a Drift

The stylish looking Drift Magazine has been available as a digital publication, to download free from the internet, for almost three years. During its infancy the first few editions have brought its readers informative features, inspiring interviews, stunning photography and a commitment to highlighting sustainability within the industry.

I've stopped by the website more than a few times over the past six months or so and was pleasantly surprised to see the first edition of the paper version take prime position in the sports section of a London Borders at the end of March. Produced every other month the cultural articles and focus on the 'alternative surf scene' are my highlights with issues such as coastal management, community projects and travel keeping me addicted.

I'm all for spreading the word of this great title - and as paid-for digital subscribtions are not currently a viable option, expanding into a traditional print format is the only way to increase interest and build the readership - but as a self-proclaimed 'environmentally-friendly magazine' i'm glad the publishers are going on record to commit to looking at alternatives to replace a tree paper magazine and working to reduce the carbon footprint of overseas fulfilment by producing the magazine in different parts of the world.

Check out the website to see digital copies as well as some nice image albums, good video content and a long list of surfing blogs.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Perfect Moments by Andy Davis

I’ve been looking a lot of surf art recently. Certain names keep cropping up and it’s not without good reason. The work of Andy Davis has particularly caught my attention and his website has some captivating images His pictures are magical and his self described style is "loose and dreamy, fun and fancy free the way I think we all should be.” For me, Andy Davis’ work is all about perfect moments.

At age 12 Andy first put a surfboard in the water and the world fell away “once I discovered surfing, I pretty much dropped everything else – except art.” His doodles and sketches are centred on surfing but also encompass "scenes of domestic bliss, and yearnings of adolescence, all filtered through pop art colours, bold lines, and an elegant simplicity that evokes simpler times, without sacrificing warmth and humanity."

As with all the really good art I enjoy, every time you look at it you see it in a different way. As Andy describes on his website his pictures create “A flush of emotion. A burst of happiness. The lure of adventure.” Andy’s work always starts with a sketch. He works with found objects as well as canvas, wood, silkscreen on textiles, paintings on surfboards, pen and ink and watercolour.

But possibly the reason I love his work most of all is the anonymity of the subjects. Again, on his website, he explains precisely why many of us find this so appealing. “You may notice none of the people have faces. But it’s really about the feeling. It’s your interpretation about what’s going on there… Maybe it’s me – maybe it’s you. And that’s it. You can take what you see and make up your own concoction…”

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Art of Surfing

I was interested to find about a new show touring the country this year entitled 'an art history of British Surfing'. The exhibition has been put together by Brighton-based not for profit organisation, The Surfing Museum and is sponsored by the clothing company Oxbow and the Kind Design graphics team in North Devon.

The press release from the organisers reads:

Art and surfing have been inextricably linked for hundreds of years, and now a new exhibition looks at how both these elements combined to glide into British consciousness over the past few centuries.

From early sketches of surfers during the voyages of Captain James Cook in the 18th century and iconic hand sculpted wooden surfboards, to the flower power of the 1960s and garish fluorescent colours of the 1980s – paintings, posters, photography and film – ‘an art history of British surfing’ is a visual feast.

“Surfing is part of everyday culture in the UK today, it’s imagery is the marketing person’s dream come true,“ said director of The Surfing Museum, Peter Robinson. “It is something that has always captured the public’s imagination, probably because of its innovation, free flowing form and laid back lifestyle.”

On display will be original British surfboards dating back almost a century featuring art and sculptural form. It will be complemented by an eclectic mix of memorabilia showing amazing artwork from the creative minds of surfers and those drawn to this ancient pastime.

The next stop on the UK tour is Red House Museum in Christchurch - May 3rd to June 14th 2008

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Happening in Cornwall

I was a little overexcited to discover that this year The Happening is coming to Cornwall. The event will feature a select group of artists and photographers exhibiting work based in contemporary beach and street cultures followed by acoustic music performances by Matt Costa, Will Conner, Andrew Kidman & more.

As well as an unmissable opportunity to view original works of art by such some of the biggest names in the creative surf world such as Wolfgang Bloch, Jenny Bowers, Thomas Campbell, Jeff Canham, Joe Curren, Andy Davis, Harry Daily, Andrew Kidman, Alex Knost and Alex Kopps, to name but a few, the musical line up is great too.

I first saw Matt Costa perform live at a Jack Johnson concert in 2006 and was lucky enough to catch him again at his intimate Shepherds Bush Hall gig. The new album builds on his captivating debut and makes a perfect soundtrack to the exhibition.

Helping to raise money for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as well as a number of other non-profit organisations, The Happening is a collaboration between Brushfire Records, The Surf Gallery and Woodshed Films, the creators of The Moonshine Festival. The first event took place at Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, Calif. in January 2007, followed by a second show at Milk Gallery in New York City.

This is the first time The Happening has travelled outside of the USA and the stop in Cornwall on 4 July is the third location on a world tour that has already taken in Bondi Beach and will also visit Tokyo, Paris, New York and San Francisco. Timed to take place during the same week as Jack Johnson's Watergate Bay gigs on the 5 an 6 July I wouldn't be surprised if Jack makes an appearance on stage as he did earlier this month in Australia.

Having seen the video that was uploaded to the event website late last week and also on YouTube I can't wait to be a part of it when it visits Newquay this summer.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Club of The Waves

Early on in my explorations I came across the Club Of The Waves website This virtual surf club is home to a seriously talented collection of surfers, surf artists and photographers from every corner of the world. There is a great list of profiled artists and photographers, the largest I have so far found on the internet. You can also read articles on the history of surfing, its pioneers and heroes and the culture associated with the sport.

The website profiles over 100 different artists and has some amazing images that I whiled away a few hours browsing. Artists on the site that caught my eye include Cornish artist Lamorna Penrose, American, David Bogart from New Jersey, Celine Chat from France and Calfornian painter Jeff Yeomans to name but a few. There are some articles written by artists such as Spencer Reynolds as well as interviews with Ron Croci and Wolfgang Bloch.

In addition to being a goldmine of info with links to various artist homepages it also has a forum section. The topic 'what is surf art' interested me most. Can non-surfers be good surf artists? Can people who don't surf have a true appreciation for surf art? Why are the majority of paintings depicted from the perspective of the observer on the shore rather than the surfer? It set me thinking. What makes good surf art? For me, it has to convey the emotion, whether that be joy, exhiliration, awe, anticipation or elated exhaustion. A picture that transports you into the moment, one that conjures up the smell of the saltwater and and feel of the sea breeze.

Here's to finding as much of it as I can.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Paddling Out

So here they are... the first words of the first post of my first ever blog. This is a blog about surf culture - art, photography, literature, music and lifestyle. What qualifies me to write on the subject - nothing in particular. The coast, the beach, the sea and the waves have always been a big part of my life and although I can't claim to be a surfer (of any talent or dedication whatsoever) I continue to be endlessly fascinated by the sport and I have experienced the thrill of it, the joy you get from it, I understand the passion people have for it and the neverending adventure there is to be had on the journey to find the 'perfect' wave.

I first became introduced to the term 'surf culture' whilst working at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth. In 2005 the museum hosted the largest ever dedicated surfing exhibition in the UK. Displaying boards, wetsuits, posters, films, photographs and artwork it was an impressive collection of memorabilia and was the starting point for my desire to learn more about the history of the sport, the personalities who have become important along the way and how it has spread in popularity around the world.

This is a blog about the culture surrounding the sport, its purpose is to document events, festivals, exhibitions, books, other blogs, artists, musicians, surfers, manufacturers and retailers that interest me and inspire me and reflect the love I have for the sport of surfing and the coast. So this is me, paddling out into the unknown, starting to discover more about surfing and to uncover just a few of the talented artists and individuals whose life is ruled by the waves.