Thursday, February 5, 2009

Surfing, Hot Rods and the aesthetics of Foam and Glass

On the coasts of Southern California, surfing and cars has always been synonymous. In the earliest photographic history of the region there is always the inevitable image of the jalopy loaded with planks parked by the beach side.

During the late 50's early 1960's this was more prolific than ever. Hot rodding and surfing went hand in hand as can be referenced in the beautiful portfolio of photographer Leroy Grannis.( see Rodders Journal #9 )

Pioneer surfer and shaper, Dale Velzy was a classic example of the cross fertilisation of these two genres. Velzy up till the time of his recent death always pursued his interest in cars when the swell was flat. This fabulous legacy is continued today with the likes of logger and shaper Tyler Hatzikian. Tyler is an avid advocate of this tradition and many of the aesthetic elements of Hot rodding permeate his artistic approach to the finishing of his boards. His store at El Segundo California is a testament to this fact. His front window features the most decoratively beautiful sign writing. Here we see his name executed with flourish in what appears to be gold leaf outlines filled with the most gorgeously flamboyant psychedelic 60's paisley fill that pays direct homage to Hot rod decorating of the same period. Tyler is drawing direct parallels for us that are imbued with a legacy and soul that draws inspiration from our rich ocean side history.

As an entity who is also much inspired by all things visual, The Papa draws much pleasure from Tyler's unique take and outlook and encourages his readers to explore options off the beaten path from the generic single layered glass jobs and homogeneous surf craft.
Michelangelo was credited with saying, 'Where there is no hand, there is no heart", and applied to the craft of surfboard manufacturing this resonates louder than ever.

In the tradition carried on by these two influential and significant surfers we should try to approach our outlook with a renewed and rekindled interest in the art of design, shaping and glassing. By viewing our next purchase with a sense of history and appreciation we ensure that there will always be an avenue open for those unique artists who continue the evolution of our sport. Drawing parallels from the past to the present encourages us all to arrive at a place of deeper understanding, belonging and appreciation of where we are and how we got there.


  1. Hello Papa Nui :) I enjoyed this post! I am in the process of writing a post on OC that I will put on my Blogger page possibly next week and was wondering if I could have your permission to include a link to this post/your page in my OC post? Thanks! ~ER~ (in SoCal!)

  2. Thanks Elizabeth, go to it girl!!!