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|The Bishop Museum, your one stop shop for surf craft old and new alike.|
Hawai'i's Bishop Museum is displaying their extensive collection of surf artifacts and images in a new show called "Surfing: Featuring the Historic Surfboards in Bishop Museum's Collection." This exhibit is on display until Sept. 6, 2010, in the Castle Memorial Building and features everything from woodend boards owned by Hawaiian royalty to a video surf simulator that is like Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer video game with an actual board for a controller.
This exhibit is an extension of the Bishop Museum Collection Manager DeSoto Brown's book, "Surfing: A Collection of Images from Bishop Museum Archives." Brown is the museum's resident surfing scholar and posses a wealth of knowledge and immense respect for these wave-sliding artifacts. According to Brown, the Bishop Museum put together an exhibit with framed, enlarged pictures from the book, and the next logical step was show the museum's surfboards.
"You can say we're making strong use of our collection, not only with the images, but with the actual artifacts themselves," says Brown. "The artifact itself is important because it managed to survive. I mean we can treasure it just because it's old, and old surfboards are made of wood. Wood is organic and therefore subject to deterioration."
|Check out this lumber. Dave Rastovich eat your heart out.|
This display is an Alaia-sliders dream come true with the wide-range of rare wooden boards in the exhibit. While these ancient surf crafts are a source of inspiration for modern-Lala-surfers, they are also a glimpse into ancient building techniques says Brown.
"We can look at the actual boards themselves and see the technology that was used in the design," he explains. "We can see how these things were made. We can see how they were shaped based on what our knowledge of the tools was, but also on the basis of the cut marks on the wood."
One of the most impressive artifacts in the new exhibit is a board that was owned by Victoria Ka'iulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiu I Lunalilo Cleghorn, a.k.a. Princess Ka'iulani. The princess was alive during the turbulent times when the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown. Despite attending boarding school in England, Ka'iulani still maintained her spot in the Hawaiian lineups, and her equipment is show in this exhibit.
"If it was something that belonged to ali'i (royalty) that of itself is really major," says Brown. "That is something you have respect for, and to me is kind of awe-inspiring. If you think of who had it, when they had it, what they did with it and who those people were -- it's a very big deal."
In addition to the royal surfboards, there is also a large part of the exhibit dedicated to Tom Blake. According to Brown, Blake is a "fascinating" icon in surfing because of his contribution to modern surfboard design.
"He was from the mainland, came out here, and was the guy with the idea to make the boards hollow so they weren't so heavy; let's invent the skeg so the boards are a lot more maneuverable; let's make them shorter," explains Brown of Blake's contribution. "Even though he doesn't have a Hawaiian name, the thing he did for the sport are really significant. Plus, he was not only accepted by, but was a legit Beach Boy. He was not an outsider. He was one of the guys."
This Bishop Museum exhibit is one of the most comprehensive views of surfing's history from antiquity to present. Surfing: Featuring the Historic Surfboards in Bishop Museum's Collection will be gone with the summer south swells in September so go check it out soon. Bishop Museum is open everyday of the week from 9:00 to 5:00, except Tuesdays.
"We have a fantastic collection that is not usually on exhibit," says Brown. "The fact that the boards are out and people can see them in the context with the original historic images to me is really amazing."