This painting is kind of a look back at the early days of surfing, which for me began in 1963 when I was in high school. Three or four of us would get up at the crack of dawn, hit the beach in Bay Head and surf for an hour or so, and then go to school. We were considered the weirdoes. In those days, long boards were, as old Gordy Surfboards ads proclaimed, “The Only Way to Travel.” Short boards were unheard of.
Surf shops in those days were often in old buildings or run-down shops along the beachfront roads and were small operations that sold mostly surfboards, wax, swim trunks and t-shirts, unlike the huge surfing “emporiums” of today, where clothing and accessory sales far outnumber surfboard sales. On the other hand, while a top of the line 60’s surfboard sold for less than $200, a high end board today can cost several thousand. Leashes were also unheard of and if you lost your board to a wipe-out, a long swim was inevitable.
The shop in this painting was an old converted gas station near the beach. It could be any beach, but as any East Coast surfer knows, if the waves are glassy, a “west wind” is probably blowing. The surfboards in the painting are mostly classic long boards by makers like Hobie, Yater, Dewey Weber, Surfboards Hawaii and others. I wish I still had a few of these old boards!
Joe Seme 2018
Giclee print on canvas
16 x 12”