News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday June 26th 2019

Surfers and artists splash out for charity

I have no factual evidence for this view, but I wager that decorating surfboards has been going on since the first Hawaiian’s paddled out on floating logs before scurvy-stricken white men sailed over the Pacific horizon. You can draw a nifty outline on wood with a hot poker. What is certain is that by the 1970s, finding a board without some kind of artwork on it was about as rare as seeing a non-tattooed torso at a hard-rock concert circa 2010.Unfortunately the majority of art airbrushed onto surfboards is mostly about as original as the prints you get on a t-shirt from Edgars. Rare is the board with a one-off hand crafted design by a real dirty-under-the-fingernails artist.

Which is why the Wavescape Surfboard Art Exhibition is such a hit. It brings back the ethos of that Hawaiian with a wooden board and a red hot poker.

In fact for the first time in the exhibition’s seven-year history, there is a hollow wooden board in the eleven-board line-up, painstakingly crafted by journalist and part-time garage wood wizard Patrick Burnett, enhanced with a blue (in both the erotic and literal sense) nude painted by Kelly John Gough.

When I asked Burnett how he came to have one of his bespoke hand-made boards on the art auction I was hoping he’d tell me a story involving an obtuse conversation filled with long pauses as he and Wavescape founder and chief editor Steve Pike (aka Spike) sat astride their boards and stared at the horizon during the lulls between heaving sets of 15-foot monster waves at the famed Dungeons big-wave break.

But surfers are a strange mix of the pragmatic and idealistic. He does indeed occasionally meet Spike on the backline of Atlantic surf breaks but the reality is more prosaic.

“I called him up and asked him if he wanted one,” said Burnett, who makes hollow wooden surfboards under the label.

The line up of eleven boards featuring an eclectic mix of artistic styles was a mix of actively approaching certain artists and people offering to take part, said Spike.

But while organising the venture is pragmatic, its aim is idealistic.

The boards/artworks are to be auctioned off – where comedian Mark Sampson is to be the auctioneer, a spectacle worth seeing on its own merits – with all proceeds going to ocean based charities and NGOs such as Ticket to Ride.

One of the boards on show was decorated by some of the Ticket to Ride surfers – children aged 8 to 11 living in the Masiphumelele informal settlement close to some of the most cherished surf breaks on the peninsula.

Artist Claire Homewood collaborated with a group of five of the township surfers and now budding artists, guiding them through the process of making collages and painting with old paint donated by eco-friendly paint making company Pro Nature to create a board that stands proudly alongside those created by professional artists.

Artists such as illustrator Andy Mason, top-notch graffiti artist Ice7 (Tony Coetzee), hip-hop poet Ewok, Matthew Pinker, Kim Longhurst, Black Koki, Osnat de Villiers, Chip Snaddon, Bones, Scott Robertson, 35.ten.73, and the aforementioned.

The likes of these brought in R168 000 at last year’s auction, proving that Spike, who keeps the South African surf community stoked with accurate surf forecasts, news and stories on his Wavescape website, manages to also make a significant contribution by organising the whole lot despite being distracted every time a decent swell marches in from the horizon.

In fact he also manages to pull the Wavescapes Film Festival together but you can go to to find out more about that. – West Cape News

The surfboards will be on show at the Depasco Café, cnr Kloof and Buitensingel in the Cape Town CBD, from 7am – 5pm from the December 1 – 7.

The auction will take place at Depasco at 7pm on December 8.

Entrance is free. — Steve Kretzmann, West Cape News

Tags: art auction, art exhibition, cape town, groundswell surfboards, hollow wooden surfboards, hollow wooden surfboards south africa, steve pike, wavescape

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