The Stories Behind The Boards

sneak peaks and snippets from the artists

MAGIC GARDEN / katie tool

Imagine a magical garden, with butterflies alighting on colorful leaves, fairies hiding in tree branches, mushrooms and wild flowers sprouting in the forest, and plumerias blossoming everywhere. When I paint, I create as I go, and as the canvas unfolds, the scene takes a life of its own. On this board, I blended the full-toned colors of purples and yellows for butterfly wings, bright greens for tropical leaves, soft yellows and browns for mushrooms, and a mix of pinks, blues, and purples for wild flowers. The canvas of the forest is bright pink, an entertaining color that suggests an imaginary garden setting. The board was very entertaining to paint, and I can visualize it underneath a tree, or set in a peaceful garden, patio or backyard.

GRIFFIN TRIBUTE #3 / chris pedersen

This board is a tribute to one of my favorite artists. Rick Griffin was a huge inspiration for me as a young artist. His work was featured in Surfer magazine and also on rock posters for The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. I was drawn to his flowing psychedelic style and creative imagination. Rick was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1991. As a tribute to this amazing artist I have painted a series of boards portraying his iconic style. I have also surfed these boards and gotten barreled on all 3 of them. Hopefully Rick would be proud of the boards and I hope to keep his spirit alive in and out of the water.

DOUBLE UP / cindy and sally lamas

Cindy and Sally Lamas – a mother-daughter duo from Atascadero and San Luis Obispo, CA – combined their artistic forces to create a one-of-a-kind Adirondack chair for two. The piece is aptly titled, “Double Up” – which describes both the chair capacity and the instance when two waves combine, doubling their energy. Cindy built the luxurious redwood frame and Sally painted the surfboard chair backs. Together they offer a lounging experience for any ocean-loving business or backyard. This surfboard painting was inspired by learning to surf at Palisades Beach in Shell Beach, CA.

EBB & FLOW / david sozhino

One day walking along the Embarcadero I spotted a bright orange jellyfish in the water. I kept pace with this beautiful specimen as the current carried it along the waterfront. Its graceful ebbing and flowing movement was truly a sight to behold. As I looked at my blank surfboard pondering what to paint in regard to our surrounding environment I was reminded of that jellyfish. And so, I started painting. I decided the art piece needed a kinetic element and that light would be a way to achieve this effect. I implanted twinkling lights within the board itself which glow through the fiberglass. The effect at times is subtle and soothing, or frenetic and exciting depending on the pattern of the lights.

HITCHED / janet allenspach

Janet paints what she sees, feels and believes. Many of her paintings are of the ocean, and the creatures in it. She often incorporates Aboriginal symbolism in her work to educate people how to help save endangered species. Living in Los Osos across from the bay gives her much inspiration, as do her trips to various locations. Janet’s painting came about out of curiosity and wonder. Reading about seahorses, and learning that the mate for life, as well as re-establish their bonds every morning, seemed perfect for this year’s surfboard. Their colorful and fancy details allowed for some creative freedom as well, and the final result meant to show caring and love between these beautiful creatures. Protecting them should come easily for us all.

SEE.HEART.SEA / john o'brien

My take on the graphic Heart & Eye symbol which I created a few years ago now integrated/expanded to the sea on this board. Symbols are the quickest communication and cut across barriers such as language with the most direct connection. See with your heart symbol is a simple reminder how to see and approach the world. Being the world is 3/4 water it includes all of and below as well. See and interact with all around you, seen and unseen with compassion… and heart.

SUNKEN RELICS / david garate

The board’s title is “Sunken Relics”; it’s a spaceship with three portholes showing earth and the moon. The edges and window trim are copper and the rest is iron with a touch of gold. There is a shipwreck rusted in, baring some gold and a medley of sea life scattered throughout the spaceship; muscles, starfish, sponges, sea anemones and a sea urchin. As it turns out, this ship came to earth looking for gold and it crashed into a galleon carrying tons; so there they sat next to each other in the bottom of the ocean.

SINKING SHIP / josh talbott

I have a running joke with a dear friend about the transience of the world. “All vessels are sinking ships.” It has inspired many of my artworks and continues to make the world a richer place for me. This is one of few boards I have painted with this theme. It seems appropriate to paint old boards to resemble rusty old hulls.

Impermanence, or the arising and falling away of all things, is the very fabric of our ever changing world. Artworks like this “Sinking Ship” remind me of this fact and help me not to take things for granted and to enjoy the present moment more fully.


The concept for this year’s board is to continue on my current theme of paintings which are influenced by life on the Central Coast of California, as well as my increasing interest in succulent gardening. I am drawn in by the layers, textures, and colors created in a succulent landscape. Each plant grows like a living piece of sculpture. When grouped together they create a visual riot of color and texture. My surfboard is a combination of images from photos of the San Simeon Coastline and Morro Bay in Bloom planter boxes.

CORDELIA / los osos middle school

For our surfboard, we wanted a different, trippy idea that no one else had ever done in the past. After brain storming and considering a buddha or a jellyfish, Coral and I came up with the idea of a jellyfish woman floating peacefully on the ocean floor. Everyone worked together to mix colors and meticulously paint the woman. We named her Cordelia because the name means “Daughter of the Sea”. After a lot of mixing colors for perfect skin tone and seaweed colors, we spent a little over a week painting and shading and adding detail. When we were done, the skin looked very realistic while the jellyfish cap looked whimsical and fantastic.


For this piece I decided to take a mindful, even cathartic approach. Layer upon layer of swirling thoughts and images are expressed as kinetic energy, applied with intent. Acknowledged and accepted, and then allowed to pass. Areas of muddied, internal chatter give way to moments of clarity and focus. Then, just as quickly as they arise, these intangible words and pictures fade into one another with each passing moment, in a steady stream of consciousness. Elements of ancient history, fused with a sort of modern industrial application, pay homage to tradition while simultaneously expressing gratitude for the gift of the present moment. With no clear beginning or end, the surfboard becomes a sort of physical representation of a mindful meditation. For someone, this work is a glimpse of beauty, amidst the chaos of modern life.

SHARK BITE / los osos middle school

For our surfboard design, we decided on doing a tropical theme at first. But then we thought we had to do something unique that people haven’t seen before. We finally decided on a shark with sort of a tropical ocean with seaweed, fish, and jellyfish. When we paint our design we will have the board have a shark bite will be colored in black.

Working together in a group was interesting. We were pretty much in agreement most of the time with our ideas. It was nice to work together on the painting. We feel like we did a good, group project and were happy with the way it turned out!

FIRE ROCKET / charlie clingman

The Fire Rocket Surfboard results from an accumulative wonder of motion and it’s opposing stillness. As objects change space once occupied, the dance creates an ever moving puzzle. I enjoy the dimension of the breaking waves where you view the back of a peeling breaker with landscape serving as backdrop. The rhythmic rising and falling of surface height give clues of energy rolling strong through miles of ocean. Finally this stored energy is forced upward and outward, plunging violently downward onto itself. The once still and flat water bursts to the sky gasping for light and air leaving behind a trail of the impact’s precise location. The disrupted molecules negotiate with neighbors figuring out where they belong. Soaring chunks of water smash, plunge, slam, explode, torque, rumble, jump, cycle, drop, churn, splash, bubble, swirl, ripple, flow, collect, settle, and finally become calm again. This surfboard is still a functioning surfboard that I have been riding in the Pacific Ocean for a few years.