Surfboards on Parade collection to be unveiled at Art Center

April 30, 2014|By Michael Miller
  • Artist Wade Koniakowsky stands by a board he created with Bill Stewart for an exhibit at the Huntington Beach Art Center.
Artist Wade Koniakowsky stands by a board he created with… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Bill Stewart and Wade Koniakowsky used chance to determine which of them would paint the front side of their board for the Surfboards on Parade exhibit in Huntington Beach.

Still, by the time the public sees the board, any notion of "front" and "back" may be moot.

At the Huntington Beach Art Center, where the board will be displayed Thursday as part of the Rotary Club of Huntington Beach's citywide art exhibit, Stewart and Koniakowsky's work will rotate slowly on a 2-foot pedestal. It will appear the same way when it moves to Duke's Huntington Beach the following day. And if a private buyer takes it home later this year, Stewart is willing to punch a small hole in the tip so the board can hang like a mobile from the ceiling.

Call it a compromise between longtime friends — who met a decade and a half ago when shaper Stewart traded one of his boards for one of artist Koniakowsky's paintings.


"I called him up and I'd shaped a board, and it was all ready to be painted," said Stewart, who owns Stewart Surfboards in San Clemente. "And I thought, 'OK, should I just start painting this? Because I wanted to paint the deck, and I thought, 'Well, that's not fair to him.' So I called him up and I said, 'Hey, wait, I'm sure you want to paint the deck. I want to paint the deck. Let's flip a coin.'

"So I said, 'You flip it. I'll call it.' He flipped it, I called heads, and I won."

As a painting competition, perhaps it's a draw. Stewart's side features a beach scene with a wave crashing on the shore and a background of mountains and clouds, while Koniakowsky portrayed a woman in Polynesian garb standing before the tide amid tropical vegetation.

Stewart and Koniakowsky's board will be among 28 displayed Thursday at the Huntington Beach Art Center as Surfboards on Parade unveils its full collection. In the first third of the year, the Rotary Club released a handful of boards, including one by artist Wyland and shaper Tim Stamps and another by shaper Robert August, one of the surfers featured in the 1966 documentary "The Endless Summer," and artist John Van Hamersveld, who designed the film's poster.

The organizers originally intended to display 25 boards, but response from artists and shapers proved so strong that the number shot up by three, according to Jodi McKay, the event's co-manager.

"There were some that we couldn't live without, so we let them jump in," she said.

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