OPENS JULY 31, 2015 at LongHouse Reserve

SURF CRAFT - Design and the Culture of Board Riding will open at LongHouse Reserve on July 31, 2015. This new exhi­bition, curated by surf historian Richard Kenvin, will occupy the Pavilion, presenting 45 surfboards built from the late 1940s to the present day in their historical context of craft and design.

Standing alone, surfboards are often striking examples of functional design. To­gether, over time, they tell a compelling story about the evolution of an important art form in America and around the world. SURF CRAFT will be a unique surfboard design exhibition, capturing the influences behind design in board riding, from the alaia boards of ancient Hawaii, to obscure surf bathing boards of England, Japan and Africa, to post-war hydrodynamic planning hulls from Southern California.

The surfboard, historically a handcrafted object, ultimately gave rise to foam and fiberglass board construction, often produced on a mass scale. However, many contemporary shapers are now recognizing and tapping into the design principles found in the traditional boards. Cutting-edge engineering and minimalist art will converge in this exhibition. Innovative board-shapers and surfers from San Diego’s past and present will be highlighted, including Bob Simmons and Carl Ekstrom. The exhibition will be on view until October 10, 2015. Guest curator Richard Kenvin has authored a 176-page hardcover book of the same title, published by Marquand Books and MIT Press. The book includes 150 historic and contemporary photographs.


Richard Kenvin grew up in Southern California in the 1960s. He learned to ride a skateboard in 1967 and learned to surf in 1970. In 1979 he won the Stubbies Pro, a professional surfing competition held at Blacks Beach in San Diego. By the age of 19 he had been to Hawaii several times and traveled extensively in Australia. He worked for various independent apparel designers in California in the eighties and nineties. He was curator of the 838 and Cassius King art galleries in San Diego from 2000-2005. Since 2002 he has worked with surfing historian John Elwell and de­signer Carl Ekstrom on the Hydrodynamica Project. In 2011 he participated in the Getty Research Institute’s Pacific Standard Time initiative as curator of Remember the Future, an exhibition of Bob Simmons’s surfboards shown in the context of mid-century California modern design. His writing has been published in the Surf­ers Journal and Surfer Magazine. Mr. Kenvin surfs every chance he gets on a variety of craft. He lives in downtown San Diego.