SACRED CRAFT - Consumer Surfboard Expo

Hope to get some of you involved in this.

Thanks for your time.


… it was all about the surfboard. The only thing that mattered. From ancient Polynesia to the ASP World Championship Tour; from Waikiki to Maverick’s; from The Endless Summer to Surfline; as the eras passed what we’ve worn or said or listened to or traveled to or read or watched are just sidebars on surfing’s timeline. Because the history of our sport is the history of the surfboard. Nothing has defined the surfing experience more than that on which we ride the waves. Nothing defines the surfer more than his (or her) surfboard. So much more than a tool, the surfboard has become a philosophical icon, a sacred craft, a culturally pervasive symbol of freedom, adventure and enduring youth.

This is why the surfboard builder was once the primary arbiter of surfing culture, from those early Hawaiian kahunas to the first wave of board manufacturers in the early 1960s. Think back: Hobie, Hansen, Bing, Weber, Noll. These labels-the surfboards they produced and the way this product was marketed-shaped surf culture, both literally and figuratively. It was all about the ride-what you wore came second.

Yet as the decade passed, the emphasis shifted away from the surfboard. The surf magazines became the main cultural hub, establishing ethical and aesthetic boundaries and ultimately marginalizing the role of the surfboard in their increasingly narrow portrayal of the sport. According to the surf mags throughout much of the 1980s and ‘90s there was only one way to surf: a mono-board culture.

At the same time the burgeoning surf wear industry began to eclipse all other commercial elements of the sport. Riding a swell of endorsement-based marketing, these soft-good companies became our cultural leaders, creating the imagery and feeding it to a media who, in turn, fed this pre-digested vision back to us: a mirror with no backing, that only reflects outward.

This is not to say there’s been any sort of deliberate attempt to commoditize our passion; the surf media and surfwear manufacturers are not evil, they’re just off track. It is all about the board; has always been about the board. We at the CONSUMER SURFBOARD EXPO feel it is time to reassert that philosophy. To put the surfboard-and the modern-day kahunas who craft them-back at the forefront of surf culture. To place that influence, that importance, that responsibility, back in the hands of the artisans who shape our sacred crafts-and ultimately our future.