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Exhibit celebrates surfboards
by Vanessa Katz, A&E editor

Wood, plexiglass, and foam. The current exhibit at 1132 Bishop Street is a first of its’ kind in downtown Honolulu. “Nalu,” which continues through Sept 6 showcases 40 years of big wave boards.

“Surfing is something that many people share here,” said Raina Grigg, co-curator of “Nalu.”

Click on image for larger view.

“This is a way to get people to stop thinking about art only as representational images. The boards themselves are very abstract and elegant, but they are also a part of our daily lives.”

“I grew up loving (surfboards) as beautiful objects and sculptures,” Grigg added. “When people surf, they’re actually feeling the wave and transferring information from their body to their mind. These [board] shapers took this information and created a whole new object that would allow you to ride on these massive sources of energy. It’s really beautiful.”

“There’s art in the board and in the soul of the artist who makes the board,” said Raina’s father, Ricky Grigg, surfer, author, and oceanography professor.

Nalu means wave, and Hawai‘i is famous for its tradition of big-wave riding. “Nalu” presents dozens of rare boards from well-known board shapers. Including Dick Brewer, Pat Curren, and Mike Diffenderfer.

The exhibit concentrates on boards specifically shaped for the colossal waves of O‘ahu’s North Shore. Many of the boards were donated from the private collections of Mark Fragale, Randy Rarick, Marcus Child, Joe Green of Surf and Sea, Greg Lui Kwan, Johnny Moore of Strong Current, Andy Taam, Roland Tang, and the University of Hawai‘i.

Fragale first began to collect surfboards in 1968. “Back then, boards were worthless,” Fragale stated. “Some people would just leave them on the beach to be taken. Some you could get for $25, some for a case of beer.”

“I always thought of them as art,” Fragale added. Today, these art pieces are very valuable.
Big-wave boards, also known as “guns,” can be traced back to the late 1940s. “Surfing originates from Hawaiian culture,” said Raina. “We wanted to focus this exhibit on the North Shore so there would be no question about the boards being uniquely from Hawai‘i. The “guns” are distinctly North Shore.”

Boards from each of the major periods are represented in the exhibit. There is an example of an 11-foot “elephant gun” from when surfers migrated to Waimea Bay in the early 1960s. The ‘70s were known for their lightning bolt designs, the ‘80s for their colorful, commercialized boards, and the ‘90s for their big-wave hunting longboards.

“There’s basically significant examples of every big-wave era,” said shaper and collector Randy Rarick. “And having it down[town] here, I think, brings this

Quotes from the Guestbook

Radical Dude! — Brad Coates
Surf’s up dude! — Tom Barta
Unique stroll down memory lane! — John Edmunds
It’s about time, I love it. — Greg Nelson
These boards are art. I would have liked more text to describe the art — Charlene
Need more! It’s a beautiful thing — Nathan Moody
Maika’I! Very nice exhibit — Kevin Seitz
Ho’omaika’I! — Therese & Jojo
Great exhibit but expand descreption (ie dimensions). You need to make a photobook with stories, etc. of these boards! — Mitch Garcia
Mahalo Penty — Brandt Vanderbalt
Out-a-sight! — Chester Nakamura



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