Posts Tagged ‘Rennie Yater’

Significant Presence

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

In my morning rush to ply the pixel seas today, I ran across a notable piece of reading from Seth Godin. It gave me pause, as I looked at the laundry list of crazily diverse imagery in front of me. He writes about “Hard Work on the Right Things“. I highly recommend it, for a number of reasons. Principle one being, that the world at large, will endeavor to convince an Artist, that they have chosen poorly, and what is produced, will never be of any real significance. It does that with good cause and to appropriate affect: to weed out the insignificant.

Preparing for life

With most vital creatives, who operate in a space time continuum different from the diverse cultures that they can be found within, this is rarely true, in the context of a long view.

To illustrate, here in this post, is a little sampling of what was on my desktop this morning.

The depth of what could appear to be little reality grabs to the uninitiate, will prove to be far greater as time passes. I know that.

Which brings me to a key point. You need to know if your presence will be significant and obvious to all, on that day you leave the room. It ought to be.

The last note I read in my e mail this morning was from Scott Bass, on the passing of surf Industry Veteran designer and Shaper, Terry Martin, from Cancer.

Terry is significant.  You can ask any whose life he touched with his work. It all resonates still, in the ocean corridors, far beyond immediate kin and friends. He mattered. His work was significant.

Yater and Ancell

Two great craftsmen and artists

Your’s should be as well.




A California Opus

Saturday, July 9th, 2011
Napa Orange Gold

Napa Orange Gold

Chapter 5 in the California Series.

I have not always lived in California. My Dad was going to college on the GI Bill in Milwaukee Wisconsin, at Marquette University. I had never asked him why, being from Hawaii, he chose the Mid West. He met my Mother there. That was where my two Brothers and I were born.

We were sick a lot as infants. The family pediatrician had told my parents that our Hawaiian genetics may have been to blame, as we did not tolerate the cold of  hard, Midwestern Winter very well. In fact, I ended up in the hospital. I remember the experience vividly. It was a bleak time of laying in an oxygen tent in a ward, and staring out a third floor hospital window, looking at the City, watching.

Eventually, the family moved to California where my Father explored his career as an Engineer. My parents bought a home in Whittier California.  The design of the first computer, as well as launch of the Space program, became a regular part of our household, via my Dad’s work.

In some ways, we were healthier in the warmer climate of California. However, a problem arose. I developed allergies. Those caused a lack of energy, and attendant respiratory problems. I began getting injections twice a month (one in each arm), which helped alleviate the symptoms. I still get a phantom muscle ache, when I think about those shots.

I recall days where one could not see the nearby foothills, which created the basin in which Whittier is located, such was the density of the smog prevalent in California in the 1960’s. It had been around this time that the massive citrus groves disappeared from the area, being replaced by housing tracts and strip malls. Part of a methodical, concreting over of the Los Angeles area.

I was already a swimmer at this point, having learned to bodysurf, ride foamies, and inflatable mats, at the beaches in and around Newport, Huntington, Palos Verdes and South Bay. I swam for a local AAU team. But those allergies were a persistent problem. The only time I had true respite, was when we were at the beach.

Due to my diminutive size, and sort of sickly nature, my parents decided that I needed to wait to get a surfboard. By this point, it had been a topic of discussion for a couple years. But my water activities, which included fishing and diving, kept me pretty busy.

I craved those idyllic long days at the beach. I have fond memories of ten hour days in the water,  a piece of chicken, or a few rice balls, snatched on the run, from the picnic lunch my Mom would have made, very early that morning, as she loaded up the white 1955 Chevy wagon, for the long (to me) drive to the beach. I had fallen for California.




Sacred Craft 2010: A Cultural Backmarker

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Sacred Craft

Sacred Craft

This morning I woke up from a nightmare-dream at 3:30 am. In the dream I was glossing boards, and had lost the hot batch of finishing resin. I found it in the nick of time, and was just completing the last board as it went off. I even had the acrid smell of an over catalyzed hot batch in my nostrils as I hopped out of bed and felt my feet hit cool wood floor in the blackness. Yeesh, surfboard subliminals. I built surfboards for about 20 years. They have been on my mind a lot lately, obviously.

What makes a¬† thing sacred is found in the root meaning of the very word. Sacred refers to the setting apart of something for a special purpose. So it follows that Scott Bass would call his surf culture show which retains primary focus on the surfboard and it’s creators, Sacred Craft.

Yesterday I saw an un named shot of an old guy at the Sacred Craft tribute, which was held in Ventura at The Fairgrounds April 10th and 11th and that honored one of the surfboard industry’s founding Fathers, Rennie Yater,. The un named shot of the old guy in the shaping room was of Dennis Ryder, who along with Bill Hubbina, started one of the first surf shops in Ventura, (William-Dennis), which still exists today, as Ventura Surf shop.

Dennis Ryder

Dennis Ryder

Dennis shaped what is probably the first incarnation of the shortboard, when he worked production at Morey-Pope and was doing the McTavish split vee in the 60′s. Having him back in Ventura after living for many years in Hawaii is very cool. One of the best guys around, along with Gene Cooper, and Yater, in terms of craftsmanship. All three live here on California‚Äôs Golden Coast

Gold Rincon

Gold Rincon

The Tribute involved shaping a replica of a Yater spoon, which aside from a six channel bottom, is probably one of the more difficult designs to build.

Local shapers Todd Proctor, Matt Moore, Dennis Ryder, Wayne Rich and Michel Junod along with Nick Palandrini from Nor Cal, were the invitees.

The shaper who got the nod for doing the best replica of the Spoon was Wayne Rich. That was very cool, since he broke his neck surfing El Cap a few years ago, and almost did not make it back. An incredible come back, when you consider that he shapes surfboards for a living. Surfboard shaping is physically quite arduous, and demands a very high skill level and depth of experience. Master surfboard craftsmen are a dying breed. Quite literally, as the industry has changed so dramatically and the normal cottage industry apprenticeship chain, disappeared years ago.

Surf Art

Surf Art

There was a hall way formed by two rows of Yaters, and each board had a picture and date on it. Pretty remarkable that Rennie is able to document so much of his and surfing’s past. Just mind blowing. I shaped around 16k surfboards over a 20 year period, and could not even think about accomplishing that. The Surfing Heritage Museum played a large role in this fantastic back marker. The organization had both Curator Barry Haun and¬† head, Dick Metz, on hand the entire week end.

Dick Metz in the Surf Story Hall

Dick Metz in the Surf Story Hall

Surf Story by Rob Havassy (two different site links)

The¬† entire second hall at Sacred Craft was about the book Surf Story, and the book tells the story of its own existence pretty well. Most surfers, if they read about what happened, will probably get a bit pissed off. The actual tale goes all the way back to when Abercrombie purloined one of¬† the legendary Leroy Grannis’ images of a bunch of surf icons and used it in an ad campaign. And when the surfers took exception to that, and having their names and likenesses used to promote a company like A&F (and Hollister), were blown off, they sued A&F and forced the issue on an intellectual property rights violation basis.¬† A&F ran a nationwide ad campaign of a monkey holding a¬† surfboard, as their response to surfing and the people who had a large hand in making the sport what it is after the fact. (Got to admire having enough money and humor to do what they did, but it was a very obvious statement about what they really think of you all)

Then, when Rob’s art was taken, and duplicated in similar fashion, he went after them as well. Since A&F was buying somewhere around 10000 mags a month, the surf publishing industry ignored Rob as he sued A&F, not wanting to piss their vendor off. (It appeared as if surf publishing had sold out the sport, by not supporting one of their own, and instead, going with A&F by their silence, in some industry observers opinions)

So the book uses that as a catalyst. Everybody was invited to contribute, as this is the first of a likely series. So the people not IN the book this time around, are conspicuous in their absence. What that means, is they did not want to be in it, or like me, just did not really understand completely what the book was all about.( Rob would have included them.) I had been very busy when Mary Osborne first told me about the book project. I almost did not get my submission in.

Once again, surf publishing sort of ignored Rob, so he wound up self published the biggest, most comprehensive book on surf culture ever. It was both an independent creative statement to surf publishing, and his war to take back our culture from the people who had whored it out, and have a history of contributing little or nothing to the sport’s existence. (Commercial fashion and the rag business)

Rob's Salute to me for not manning my post

Rob's Salute to me for not manning my post

That is the gist of the story on Sacred Craft 2010, from where I stand. But the ‚Äúlesser details‚ÄĚ are rather fascinating.¬† I intend to write about it in greater detail. Or you can simply ask Rob Havassy or Scott Bass.

The Surf Story Hall housed shows-work, from twelve of the books 88 contributors, as well as a phenomenal selection of highest end Yaters, done as a collaboration between Kevin Ancell and Rennie. Many of the artists were on site plying their disciplines live. Pretty remarkable to watch.

Here are a few images from the show. The pleasant looking guy is Craig Peterson, who along with Kevin Naughton, was among the first surf photojournalists- adventurers from the US, and pioneered much at Surfer Magazine.  Rob Havassy, Craig and I were along the back wall, side by side. I consider that quite an honor. Glad I returned Rob’s call. I had a lot of stories to share with him.

Here is an addendum of sorts, as he just posted it. Seth Godin’s blog, that is a must read for every artist. Glad that Rob Havassy has this part down.

Craig Peterson: Pioneer

Craig Peterson: Pioneer

Get Surf Culture’s book. It is a very profound effort by all. Pure is in short supply these days, and Authenticity is something to be both lauded and supported.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.