Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers: Craft, Creativity and Cultural Heritage

Published 28 May 2014

MThe evolution of surfboards and surfing culture in three of the sport’s most iconic locations is the subject of a new book co-authored by avid surfer and human geographer at the University of New England, Dr Andrew Warren.

Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers: Craft, Creativity, and Cultural Heritage is the first book of its kind to trace the evolution of surfboards and surfing culture in Hawaii, California and Australia.

Co-authored with Professor Chris Gibson from the University of Wollongong, the book examines the origins of surfing and its popularity in Australia, the rise of craft surfboard makers and the impact of corporate juggernauts, such as Billabong and Quiksilver, on the local industry.

At the centre of the book are the board shapers who have attempted to retain the mythology and creativity of their art form in the face of mass-produced boards and corporate pressure.

“To a surfer, a board is more than a piece of equipment. It is a symbol, a physical emblem with cultural, social, and emotional meanings,” said Dr Warren, who travelled to California and Hawaii to conduct his research.

“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 local surf conditions.”

The book, published by the University of Hawaii Press, focuses on three integral locations: Hawaii, southern California, and the south-east of Australia, including Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the North Coast and South Coast of NSW.

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.

The book is available now through the University of Hawaii Press.