Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurley Sponsors The Shortboard Revolution at Santa Monica's California Heritage Museum

When Bob Hurley started the Hurley brand of surfboards in the 1970s, his love of the beach and surf culture soon turned his company into one of the most successful brands to celebrate the burgeoning Southern California ethos. The company has expanded into a brand that celebrates youth, music, surfing,  skateboarding, and all things cool. Its extensive product line extends to clothing, purses, backpacks, sun glasses, and so much more. It is only fitting that Hurley is now sponsoring an historic look back to the early days of the shortboard, when the sport of surfing became the symbol of Southern California youth culture. Hurley's The Shortboard Revolution opened at Santa Monica's California Heritage Museum to a packed group of surfers, hodaddies, peelers, salty sisters, and a fair share of pula kahulas.

The event and exhibit celebrates the history of the shortboard, a more maneuverable, high-speed surfboard that had its birth in the late 1960s. Surfing had gained a huge popularity in the early 60s with the movie Gidget, "Malibu Chip" boards, and the surf music of the Beach Boys, but its popularity was beginning to wane, when the McTavish/Young Sam short board brought new life to the sport.

Setting up for the Hurley Opening in the courtyard of the 
Victorian Santa Monica California Heritage Museum

The Shortboard Banner

As the sun sets, the event begins, and the crowds start to form to get into the Museum

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, short boards had become more common. In the seaside area called Dogtown (south Santa Monica, Venice, and Ocean Park beaches - a poorer neighborhood on the westside of Los Angeles), an aggressive and fearless band of young surfers road the waves of "The Cove," a secluded area near the deserted Pacific Ocean Park amusement center.  They had mostly grown up poor and some were even local gang members. Surfing became their life.

In 1972, the Jeff Ho Surf Shop opened for business, and Ho, Craig Stecyk, and Skip Engblom created Zephyr Surfboard Productions.  Then came the Zephyr Surf Team,  made up of young local surfers, who grew up tough and whose in-your-face surf style fit the atmosphere of their often violent neighborhood.  Craig Stecyk designed boards with graphics inspired from graffiti, not the traditional idyllic scenes of Hawaii on long boards. 

The Z-Boys of Dogtown: Cris Dawson: center and Jay Adams: right

The Zephyr team, known more commonly as the Z-Boys followed revolutionizing surfing, by reinventing the skateboard. Skateboards in the 1950s were made in garages from wood and disassembled roller-skates, but these clunky boards had basically disappeared by the time of the Z-Boys.  When urethane wheels were invented, the Z-Boys turned skateboarding into a form of "surfing on concrete."  They would search out empty swimming pools to invent more and more exotic stunts.  Craig Stecyk, in the then newly republished Skateboarder  Magazine of 1975, created a series of articles called the "Dogtown Chronicles," and when the Del Mar nationals hit in the same year, the Z-boys became gods to skateboarders across the world.

left: Artist, photojournalist, Craig Stecyk III. Stecyk painted many of the early
Jeff Ho boards.  His fine arts sculpture and painting is world renowned.  
Craig's influence on the art world has been compared 
to that of Basquiat, Larry Clark, and Raymond Pettibone.
He was a major influence on graffiti artists such as Shepard Fairey and Banksy.

Many of the Z-Boys were in attendance at the opening of the Hurley Shortboard Revolution exhibit to check out the boards that they once rode in the 1970s.  The slums of Dogtown have changed, and the event at the Victorian-style  California Heritage Museum was a laid back, yet elegant tribute to the pioneers of the shortboard.

Original Z-Boy Cris Dawson

left: Z-Boy legend and original Zephyr Surf Team member Allen Sarlow, 
Pat O'Connell, famed surfer featured in The Endless Summer, 
Pat is currently head of the Hurley Athletes Team, and friends

right: Skip Engblom,  one of the creators of the Zephyr Surf Team and 
Skateboard team.  He is currently the owner of the 
Santa Monica Airlines skateboard company.  Skip and the Z-Boys' story was told
in the movie, Lords of Dogtown.  The late Heath Ledger played Skip in the film.

Hurley with the help of the peakPRgoup supplied great food and drinks to the attendees.  Sponsors supporting the event included, Cocoa-Cola, smartwater, Justin  901, Ultimat, the ONEHOPE Foundation, Honest Ade, Honest Tea, and Patron.  

Honest Ade and Honest Tea helped supply the refreshments

Annie Imamura sips a Coke Zero

A feast fit for any Surfari

Treats with a Hawaiian flavor

The Hawaiian music meets the Surf beat with an electric ukelele

It was fun for this family taking the pause that refreshes

Modern-day Gidgets 

peakPRgroup Christine Peake, Annie Imamura of 
Noted Communications, and Hurley's Courtney Skiba

Hurley's Courtney Skiba with date Jeff Utrton and Justin Biel from 901

Oliver Peake and Nicholas Landis.  Oliver will have his head-shaven 
next month to support St. Baldrick's Children's Cancer Research.  Don't
forget to contribute by clicking here.

Actors Jeff Woodrow and Domenic Ricci

Writer/Director Shanna Sosin and Director/Producer Susan Dynner

Laura Wasser, VP of Marketing at Hurley and 
Evan Slater, VP of Brand Communication at Hurley

 Jason Maloney, Directory of Art, Hurley; Scott Patt, VP of Art, Hurley;
 Taylor Brigandi, Marketing Coordinator, Hurley; 
Madison McMains, Hurley “Icon”; 
Greg Teal, Music Marketing Manager, Hurley

The beautiful Museum grounds at night

The exhibit of short boards from the late 60s to the mid-80s was curated by one of the original Z-Boys, Nathan Pratt.  From the earliest Vee Bottom boards of the 1960s to Pintails, Guns, Super Shorts, and Wingers, this exhibition offers a variety of boards and images that spotlight the innovations that changed surfing forever. 

Terry Hendrick's Isurus board from 1976, with its highly customized
design had a flex tail and double knee-well deck and spoon nose

A collection of Surfer Magazines bring back memories of 
the shortboard's golden age.

Kit Rice poses next to a board she used to ride- the dual fin Joe Roper board
from La Jolla's Windansea beach

Kneeboards and Papios were boards used more for body surfing
rather than standing surfing.  The popularity dwindled about the time
of the skateboard revolution

A surfboard and early Surfer Magazine poster from the Nathan Pratt collection

Vistors check out a pair of mini guns for riding the steep hollow waves.
Boards by "Da Cat" of Malibu

Big Guns used for the large waves of Hawaii

Board designs go from solid colors to elaborate graffiti-influenced airbrush psychodelia

A reconstruction of a shaping room, much like the ones used by
renowned shaper Bob Hurley and Nathan Pratt in the 1980s

Historic photographs by Art Brewer, Jeff Divine, Steve Wilkings, Bernie Baker, Tony Friedkin, David Darling, C. R. Stecyk III and many others document the movement and its personalities.
Nearly 70 rare and antique boards by surfing legends and visionaries such as Tom Blake, George Greenough, Dick Brewer, Miki Dora, Jeff Ho, Mike Hynson, Horizon’s West, Tom Curren, Bob Hurley and Al Merrick—assembled from the world’s finest collections including Bird’s Surf Shed, the Jason Cohn Collection, the Hischier Family Collection and the Surfing Heritage Foundation—illustrate the timeline and development of the shortboard.
This exhibition was funded, in part, by a major grant from Hurley, and additional funding from Wells Fargo, Copyland, the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department, The LLWW Foundation, The Fairfield County Foundation, The Victorian/Calamigos Ranch, Dawson Design, as well as generous corporate, foundation and private individual donations. The exhibit runs through April 22, 2012, and is a must see for anyone visiting Santa Monica. 

The museum also had an exhibit of Hawaiian Chic decor popular in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, which complemented the Hurley Short Board Revolution event nicely.  The California Heritage Museum is located at 2612 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Dressed in a beautiful Hawaiian coat, a California Heritage Museum Docent
welcomes you to the museum

Hawaiian Chic Decor

The Museum exhibits, in the words of one Surfer/guest, were

Aloha nui loa!
photos by Allan Peach ©2011


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