A new book co-authored by Australian academics, Professor Chris Gibson and Dr Andrew Warren aims to trace the evolution of the surfboard from regional cottage industry to its integral role in the billion-dollar surfing machine.
The new book published by the University of Hawaii Press ‘Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers: Craft, Creativity, and Cultural Heritage in Hawai’I, California, and Australia’ traces the journey of surfboard manufacturing, and its place in the culture of surfing, across three integral locations: Hawaii, southern California, and the south-east of Australia.
Professor Chris Gibson is a human geographer at the University of Wollongong, and Dr Andrew Warren, a human geographer at the University of New England.
According to Dr Warren, who, along with Professor Gibson, travelled to California and Hawaii to conduct his research, a board to a surfer, is more than a piece of equipment – it’s a symbol, a physical emblem of cultural, social, and emotional meanings. He adds that surfboard workshops are hives of creativity where legacies of rich, cultural heritage and the local environment combine to produce unique, bold board designs customised to suit prevailing waves.
Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers follows the story of board shapers who have attempted to retain the mythology and creativity of this art in the face of mass-produced boards and corporate pressure.
Surfing Place, Surfboard Makers: Craft, Creativity, and Cultural Heritage in Hawai’i, California, and Australia was launched at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival in Honolulu recently.