Ride a Wave Through Time in Ward Village’s New Summer Surfing Exhibition

“Summer Slide” pays homage to Hawaiʻi’s favorite pastime through vintage surf photography, three surf documentaries from around the world and a collection of surfboards.


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Every surfer tells a story, but they’d be the first to tell you that nothing beats a surf photo for evoking a time and place. At Ward Village’s new photo, film and surfboard exhibit opening this Thursday, one of those featured shots shows a young Derek Ho early one morning at Ala Moana Bowls. You want to reach out and splash him. (On second thought, maybe not.)

 

That’s the spirit of Ward Village’s photo and surfboard-design exhibit, Summer Slide. Centering around surf photography of Oʻahu’s south swell season and surfboards inspired by the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the exhibit also follows the progression of Hawaiʻi’s favorite pastime, from longboards to high-performance thrusters.

 

“We wanted to pay homage to the surfers, shapers and photographers of those eras,” says the former Hawaiʻi editor for SURFER Magazine Jeff Mull, who co-curated the exhibit with former Surfing Magazine art director Noa Emberson. The two asked current SURFER Magazine art director Grant Ellis to search for “photos that showed the movers and shakers of the eras.” Wave-riders themselves, Mull and Emberson looked at Ala Moana Bowls as the focus for the exhibit, but included other south shore breaks as well.

 

Free to the public, Summer Slide runs from June 28 to July 25 at the IBM Building, with gallery hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Surf enthusiasts can also enjoy outdoor screenings of three surf documentaries happening throughout the summer, with the first film, Beyond the Surface, premiering this Thursday, June 28, at 6 p.m.

 

Summer Slide exhibit

Summer Slide showcases photography and surfboards from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Galvin

 

The exhibit features photography from icons David Darling, Steve Wilkings and Warren Bolster. Those who grew up surfing the south shore won’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu walking through the gallery—whether viewing Darling’s ’60s classic of Diamond Head peeking out from behind a wave ridden by a young Stanley Park, or Wilkings’ signature barrel shot of Gerry Lopez grazing the lip with his hand.

 

Derek Ho, Dane Kealoha and Larry Bertlemann are among the many surfing pioneers captured in the exhibit. A photo at the 1964-65 state champ shows Town’s youthful crew: There’s Bon Ching, Randy Rarick, Ben Aipa, Sharon Weber and Jock Sutherland (all with the lean physique of a hungry wave-hunter) and then Conrad Canha—the man who owned Bowls in the ’60s—sporting an impressive belly. (He may have indulged in an occasional beer and Spam musubi, but the man could surf too.)

 

Summer Slide

Darren Tatsuno and friends make the walk over the reef to surf spot Concessions in the ’80s.
Photo: Courtesy of Warren Bolster

 

“Many of the people in the photos, in their 20s and 30s when they were taken, are still out there in the lineup. That’s one of the great things about surfing—you see people in their 80s still doing it,” says Race Randle, The Howard Hughes Corp. senior vice president of development, who oversaw the exhibit’s installation.

 

For the younger generations, Summer Slide can feel like a time machine that revisits the stories of some of Hawaiʻi’s surfing progenitors.  

 

“The exhibit isn’t just an exercise in boomer nostalgia,” says Mull. “Any surfer worth their salt grows up knowing about these people and eras. Surfing 101 is to respect and understand all the hard work” that goes into creating the boards and the scene.

 

Ric Parker

Ric Parker rides the south swell under a D-3 in the ’60s.
Photo: Courtesy of David Darling

 

As a section of the two-part homage, surfboards inspired by the three decades decorate the rim of the open-window gallery. Recreated by local shapers Bret Marumoto, Arthur “Toots” Anchinges and Glenn Pang, each one showcases the evolution of board designs.

 

A replica of a 1967 Town & Country is one of them. Described by Mull as “making all the earlier boards obsolete,” the 7-footer (which was considered a shortboard at the time) was orginally shaped by T&C Surf founder Craig Sugihara and required a serious investigation to revive. Pang recreated the board Sugihara rode in the winter of ’69—known as one of the greatest winters for surfing of all time in Hawaiʻi and the West Coast.

 

Each board not only demonstrates the technical structure of boards of the time but can stand for the lifestyle of the decade. A 9-foot-6-inch pintail log recreated by Toots captures the ’60s endless summer vibe. Shaping a board inspired by Donald Takayama, “Marumoto even played music from the era to get into the vibe,” says Emberson.

 

To complement the exhibit, outside screenings of three surf documentaries will take place throughout the summer. Beyond the Surface follows India’s first female surfer Ishita Malaviya as she and others show how surfing fuels change for people and the planet; it premieres June 28. Given—featuring Kauaʻi’s Aamion and Daize Goodwin as they travel to 15 countries searching for surf and a deeper understanding of life—screens on July 12. On a pilgrimage to test the Mediterranean, not known for its surf, environmentalist Chris Del Moro returns to Italy in Bella Vita on July 19. All surf-inspired, each lifestyle piece shows “how the ocean changes people’s lives throughout the globe,” says Randle. “And how that connection to the ocean elevates life, health and wellness.”

 

The gallery is located on the lobby floor of the IBM Building, minutes away from its inspiration.

 

With the long summer days upon us, bringing warm nights, less traffic and south swells to ʻOahu, there’s no better timing for Summer Slide.

 

Summer Slide begins June 28 at the IBM Building, 1240 Ala Moana Blvd. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and entrance is free. For more details and to RSVP for free film tickets go here.

 

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