Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The California Surf Project

I really love artworks that speak to a broader range of experiences and deeper resonances of the wave riding life. Some of them are best expressed in words. For others, words fail, but a single picture tells the whole story.

I'm lucky someone special made sure this book found it's way to Santa, and that I haven't been too naughty. Because it contains an abundance of drop dead gorgeous photography, interlaced with some really lovely writing and stories.

The book's young creators used the prize money from a photo contest to propel a 50-day top to bottom California surf trip in a 1978 pop-top VW van. The California Surf Project documents their thousand mile journey, containing the kind of honest stories (from surfer and writer Eric Soderquist) that have the unmistakable ring of truth, with the ups, downs, ambiguous and often funny experiences of the vagabond. It also glints a bit of a reflection of America itself, from the mystical and wilder corners of the north coast, through green barrels, odd characters and more frequent run ins with authority in the densely populated south. Chris Burkard's photographs are the highlight, evoking a vivid sense of place and spectacular range of the ocean's moods, many in lonelier corners of the state that can't help but tug at the emotions and longings of an urban dweller and lost country boy like me.

The book also includes a companion DVD with some off-the-cuff super 8 and video footage of the trip, set to a fittingly quirky soundtrack, which ends, in a nod to Mexico, with a very funny "Mariachi" skateboarding sequence. Thanks Santa, I'm stoked.

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