One year, 80,000 words, 7,384 emails, 3,000 miles and 600+ surfboards later, 365 Surfboards is off the boat from Hong Kong and on the truck to Minneapolis for a short turnaround in the warehouse before it explodes onto bookshelves in a blaze of color and history – just in time for Christmas (hopefully).
365 Surfboards is exactly that – a mish-mosh of begged, borrowed and bartered-for surfboards from a wide range of collectors and aficionados, presented in full color with colorful captions that explain the story behind every board, but also show where that surfboard fits into the evolution of surfboards from the koa and wiliwili, alaia, and olo of old Owyhee to the modern carbon fiber, epoxy, wood and fiberglass variety of the 21st Century.
This is the 16th book I’ve written, and I worked with fotografista Lucia Griggi on it. Assigned on December 19 of 2012, the original goal was to collect 365 surfboards and write 40,000 words on them in three months with a four-figure photo budget. A tough mission, and the production of 365 Surfboards began with a winter 2012 photo road trip from Seattle, Washington to La Jolla, California. Along the way, Lucia Griggi photographed a portfolio of surfers, shapers and collectors that was on for young and old: Matt Warshaw, Gerry Lopez, Greg and Laura Noll, Dale Webster, Jeff Clark, Wingnut, Randy French, Skylar Peak, Allen Sarlo, Zuma Jay, Randy Hild, Drew Brophy, Mickey Munoz, Gary Linden, Bird Huffman and Fernando Aguerre.
With the road trip completed, I drove back to Seattle where I spent a long, cold rainy winter, watching CNN, breathing in my brother’s cigarette fumes and gathering, collating, researching and writing about hundreds of donated surfboards, with dozens by collectors Fernando Aguerre, Griff Snyder, John Mazza and Hawaiian gun collector Greg Lui-Kwan. Mark Fragale sent two dozen of Jimmy Buffett’s best boards from the Honolulu Surfing Museum, and I put out appeals from Swaylocks to Club of the Waves for surfboards, any surfboards, to include in the book.
Those boards came in like a tsunami from all over the world, and it was 10 hours a day, every day, through the long Seattle winter, the Boston bombing, a lot of oatmeal and standup paddling Green Lake and Lake Ballinger – after Homeland Security kicked me out of the Edmunds Ferry dock area.
The result is a colorful kaleidoscope of surfboard history, which details the evolution of the surfboard in 365 boards. I didn’t have the time or money to buy all the most important boards, so this isn’t the 365 Most Historic Surfboards, although there are a lot of evolutionary boards in the book. This is 365 Surfboards I Could Throw Together With Little Time and Less Money. I was stressing for months, but I am pretty happy with the end result. Although I wish they would have let Dave Carson or Joni Casimiro design the cover.
The first printing was pre-ordered and sold out completely, with a backlog of 1000 books and counting. I was lucky to get 300 copies of the book for a slideshow and book signing tour for December, leading up to Christmas. The slideshow will be funny and informative and feature the photography of Lucia Griggi, with a travelogue of that road trip we took, some glimpses into the lives of surfers living well, and a painstaking explanation of the pains taken to put the book together.
I know only too well that there is only so much interest in authors and a bit more in photographers, so I’m hoping to attract as many of the surfers, shapers and collectors featured in the book to these signings, and have them sign copies of the book. I did that with the Skateboard book for Wentzl Ruml. I had one copy of the book and got as many skaters as possible to sign it. I thought: ‘Why didn’t I do that for moi?’ So that is what I am doing with 365 Surfboards and I’m hoping a lot of famous shapers and collectors will be at the signings to sign books. A lot of people helped me with this book, and I want to thank them personally.
The schedule for the 365 Surfboards tour is a little tentative right now, because as of the day after Thanksgiving the books weren’t quite to Minnesota, and it was questionable whether the publisher would be able to deliver books to California in time for the first showing at Jed Noll’s Surf Shop in San Clemente on December 6.
The tentative dates for the 365 Surfboards Book Tour are:
FIRST WEEKEND (FINGERS CROSSED)
Friday December 6: Noll Surfboards in San Clemente.
Saturday December 7: California Surf Museum in Oceanside, starting at 6:00 PM.
Sunday December 8: Bird’s Surf Shed in San Diego.
Friday December 13: Santa Barbara Surfing Museum.
Saturday December 14: Zuma Jay’s Surf Shop, Malibu, CA
Sunday December 15: Bank of Books, Malibu from 2:00 to 3:00.
Sunday December 15: ZJ Boarding House, Santa Monica starting at ???
Verve Roastery and Coffee Bar in the Cannery on Seabright Avenue, Santa Cruz from 7:00 on.
Tune in to the 365 Surfboards Facebook page for updates on the tour if you want to show face and swoop up a great Christmas gift.