More than 250 art and surf supporters attended the Board Art Benefit on Saturday, January 21st, at the Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery in Solana Beach, California. The gallery showing provided the unique opportunity to view 15 boards crafted by some of America’s leading surfboard shapers and surf artists. The collection, unveiled for the first time to the public, consisted of an eclectic array of designs and imagery.
Every board displayed during the event bore its artist’s unique style, medium and story. Some boards carried their own history, some called upon surf history and culture, while others encouraged the viewer to ponder their meaning and message. All boards are one-of-a-kind masterpieces, lovingly created by artists willing to donate their time and talents to SurfAid.
Host and artist Wade Koniakowsky was very excited about the event and the opportunity to support SurfAid. “What a brilliant charity SurfAid is - to become aware of the people who live in the exotic places we surf. It's like finally looking just below the surface. If my art can inspire people towards this cause, or raise a few dollars, I'm stoked!” Wade said. Wade’s board, “Grace” was the first sold prior to the auction at the Buy Now price.
The event also provided a rare opportunity to watch the artists at work during a collaborative, live-art exhibition. During the collaboration, each artist cheekily negotiated for space as their creative ‘images’ were enhanced by other artists on the 9’ surfboard donated by Firewire. As the evening progressed, paints donated by San Clemente Art Supply kept the artists busy, shifting and shaping the artistic direction. The final piece is a fun, visually exciting board displaying a unique “finger-print” of each artist. This special, collaborative board is signed by all of the artists and will be added to the collection for future showings and auction.
Event goers were not only wowed by art, but also satiated by delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods Encinitas, and kept well-hydrated with tasty brews provided by Kona Brewing Company.
SurfAid greatly appreciates the contribution of the artists and shapers who made the Board Art Benefit event possible. Phil Roberts & Jerry Lopez, Rick Rietveld & Jed Noll, Damian Fulton & Tyler Hatzikian, Wade Koniakowsky & Mike Hynson, Erik Abel & Robert Weiner, Spencer Reynolds & Jeff “Doc” Lausch, Matt Beard & Yohei Shiraishi, Ron Croci & John Birchim, Robb Havassy & Rusty Preisendorfer, Drew Brophy & Ron House, Matt Long & Brian Heritage and Heather Ritts, Norman Daniels, Peter Pierce & Firewire Surfboard.
A big thank you goes out to Matt Beard, the founder of the Board Art Benefit, Wade Koniakowsky and Aaron Chang for allowing us to use their gallery, and a special thanks to all our volunteers, in particular Saya Nodera for her tireless coordination of the event.
Here’s what the artists said about the event:
“Surfing is about enjoyment. I think too many miss that point. Joy itself is a reward for giving. Giving art, giving a wave to another, or giving back to the locals of a spot - there are great rewards reaped from such acts. As an organization, SurfAid is able to give back to the real locals of the world's great surfing destinations. That lifts everybody up, and I've enjoyed that I could help so with my art.” Peter Pierce
“It is always a great opportunity to share my art and also help people at the same time. It is a great bonus to help within the surf community.” Heather Ritts
“I cannot think of a greater way to use the gift that God has given me than to bring happiness to others. Painting this board for SurfAid was a blast, and the knowledge that its sale will bring clean water and good health to the children in Mentawai Islands, is pure joy.” Norm Daniels
“When I began this project, SurfAid to me was just one way to make a real difference in people's lives; like kids living instead of dying, which is always cool. I've never been to the Mentawais and on my dirt-broke, artist’s budget, I don't know if I ever will. So the people there, at first, were a bit abstract and impersonal to me. But after pouring myself into creating the Board Art Benefit, and seeing its potential to raise significant support for the work of SurfAid, I find that it’s also changed my life. I've realized a new and surprising sense of connection to folks I've never met, but whose lives have been truly improved through SurfAid's work in the villages of the Mentawais." Matt Beard
"At the heart of SurfAid is people; people serving people. I know my contribution goes directly to help save lives; making a lasting, meaningful change. SurfAid directly affects the lives of people. I trust these folks to use my contribution in the most effective, compassionate manner; and that means saving lives.” Damian Fulton
"I have been a longtime supporter of SurfAid because I've experienced firsthand the Indonesian people, and appreciate that there is a group dedicated to helping them have a better lifestyle. From helping with malaria aid to tsunami relief they have become an important measure in improving these people's lives.” Rob Havassy
“Using my art to work with SurfAid International gives me an opportunity to help families in a way I would not have thought possible. It’s as though my own hand were reaching out across the South Pacific Ocean to personally touch those in need.” Ron Croci
“As an avid artist, surfer, and outdoor enthusiast, I find great strength and value in the physical, mental, and behavioral wellbeing of individuals and natural communities in need. I have had the opportunity to support a handful of charitable causes, and I think it’s outstanding that SurfAid International can act as a bridge, structure and healthy foundation to deliver ideas of relief, burden-reduction, education, positive change and healthy practice, and to help develop those who are aware into better global citizens.” Matt Long
“I chose to donate my time and talents to help raise money and awareness for SurfAid because it's a respectable cause.” Erik Abel
“I first discovered SurfAid when I was asked by Matt Beard to be part of the Board Art Benefit at last year's Sacred Craft show in Del Mar, California. I was impressed in their mission and a unique way of helping people help themselves through health programs involving education in nutrition, hygiene, healthy environments, and disease prevention - including mosquito net distribution. This is a gift that will keep on giving through generations as this vital knowledge will multiply among the people who aren't as fortunate as us. We take so many simple things for granted, clean water, environment, food, health care, etc. I hope my God-given talent and small contribution can make a difference in someone's life and I trust SurfAid is doing that with their unselfish, hard working, heroic staff that make all of our contributions as well as yours count.” Rick Rietveld
"SurfAid's commitment to helping the islanders of the Mentawai make it a perfect cause for surfers. They share their exotic islands and perfect waves with us, it's the least we can do to help." Drew Brophy