Surf Story Project, the hard-cover book, was just finally released. It's 440 pages of 88 of the most renown surf artists and pro-surfers on the planet. So needless to say, it's a huge honor to be included amongst such legends as Gerry Lopez, Phil Roberts, Joel Tudor, Art Brewer, Ken Auster,Rob Machado, Bill Ogden,Rick Rietveld, Drew Brophy, Rick Griffin and Aaron Chang to name just a few.
It takes a very spiritually grounded human being to consciously and diligently bring together a group of talent that many people outside of our circles might see as showcasing your biggest ‘industry competitors'. But that is not what Surf Story Project is about. As Robb told us, “..it's a book of love stories”, referring to our common obsessive passion for surfing, the ocean and art.
This driving force inside each of us is what we are paying homage to. It is bigger and more powerful than any individual involved. Only as a collective group can it's historically significance begin to be realized.
So when Robb told me that the book release & group Art Exhibit was going off on Dec 18th 2009 in Costa Mesa, California at the Hurley HQ, I quickly booked my flight. I would have been kicking myself in the ass for years if I missed such an opportunity to rejoice amongst some of my most respected & talented artistic peers and surfing icons.
Robb and his wonderful wife Patrice and their 8 month old gorgeous daughter Marin were my gracious hosts for the first few days of my trip, unselfishly opening their doors to me. Their Aloha spirit overwhelmed me with warm-hearted brotherly love from the first moments I walked in the door and was greeted with hugs and smiles.
LA LA LA LA
I had a couple days before the big event and used every available moment to catch up with buddies in LA. I had a chance to meet up with our friend Cassie Hero in Manhattan Beach who's one of our favorite adrenaline junkies and used to work for FuelTV. I convinced her to eat vegan food with me at Veggie Grill after we ‘attempted' to surf 10-12ft closeouts in Manhattan Beach.
Another highlight of the trip was meeting up for a surf with my friend Sunny, co-owner of 9:Fish Surfboards. We had much cleaner conditions on Friday at Sunset in LA. It was a fun point break with a super nice local crew. I'd say it was worth the 2+ hours of traffic on the 405 I had to deal with going back to Orange County.
SURF STORY PROJECT: THE OPENING
The event was held at Hurley HQ in Costa Mesa and when I arrived, I was in awe of how this exhibit had come together. Most of us there said how this event was history in the making and we couldn't believe what Robb was able to accomplish. Reminiscent of the last day of senior year, we all had our books under our arms swapping signatures and well wishes in ink on our respective pages.
When I was a teenage grom doodling in class and frothing over surf magazines, I remember gazing in awe at the old Maui & Son's Surfing ads which Rick Rietveld painted. Close to 20 years later and thousands of miles from home, I was drinking brewskies and acting like a goofball with that same guy, my buddy, Rick. He signed my book, “To my new best surf bro artist friend! Thank you for your inspirational, distorted creativity”.
And thus, the mood of the night was set. That of accomplishment,humility, sharing,amazement and camaraderie . This was a selfless & beautiful celebration of love for our oceanic muse that we have in common. Because as the night proved, we who contributed to the pages in this book and the walls in the exhibit are all both fans,creators & friends.
Bill Ogden is quite a character and his work is purely breathtaking. He is commonly referred to as one of the founding fathers of ‘Surf Art' and from what I hear, is rather reclusive normally so getting to share wall space with Bill at this event meant a lot to all of us. We chatted for a little bit and he told me how ‘he dug how tripped out my art is'. I couldn't ask for a bigger compliment!
THE SURFING HERITAGE GALLERY:PAINTING DEMO
When my friends from The Surfing Heritage Museum found out I was coming into town, they graciously asked me to be a featured artist for a live painting demo. They opened a new gallery location just minutes from where I was staying in Costa Mesa,CA. I was stoked and of course agreed happily!
To my complete delight and honor my friend Phil Roberts (who is one of my favorite illustrators and surf artists) came in to hang out with me with his adorable daughter Portia. He is responsible for sculpting the epic Pipeline Masters Trophy as well as painting this years Pipeline Master's Surfbord Trophy.
Portia is such a character just like her Daddy. She sat down and painted alongside of me and told me jokes while Phil and I talked about art techniques and laughed about some funny stories from the exhibit.
SOME TIME WITH FRIENDS
Skateboarding has been a part of my life since I was about three years old. So about a decade ago now, I chased a dream and I co-founded a skateboarding company called Seed Skateboards. The company didn't last, but my friendship with one of our pro team riders, Joey Pulsifer did.
Joey used to be one of the most technical street skaters I'd seen and I bet if he stopped drinking so many peppermint mocha lattes and watching MTV's “Jersey Shore” that he would still kick some butt in a game of “skate”. Regardless, whenever we have the opportunity and visit each other's coasts, we keep in touch and shoot the shit.
Joey is now co-owner of Resource Distribution, home to Riviera Longboards and they just got this dope new warehouse which I got to check out in the morning before my flight home. Riviera was one of the first big licensing deals I got years ago and it's really nice to see how far we've both come since then. I love seeing friends have success.
ONE OUT OF TEN
I read an interesting tid bit in a Robert Kiyosaki book years ago about how 1 out of 10 business ventures fail. Kiyosaki goes on to comment that to the success-minded person this only means you may need to try ten different dreams, but eventually, it will work.
I try and always keep that advice in my consciousness. And this trip further solidifies it's deeper meaning to me. Whether it's compiling a 440 page book or being a Professional Fine Artist or starting a skateboard company or meeting your childhood heroes. If you try hard enough, have faith and go with the flow, you will eventually succeed.
A huge Mahalo to Robb and Patrice Havassy for providing me with a home away from home and inspiring me in so many ways.