Stepping inside the Huntington Beach Art Center on May Day, the anticipation of nearly four months of awaiting the complete "Surfboards on Parade" collection tugged at the corners of our mouths and hiked our heartbeats. We made a beeline for the gallery floor to view the 22 remaining boards—we'd experienced all five unveilings prior—and were met with black cloaks. It was a smart move and had us on edge for 45 minutes leading up to the grand reveal. In the meantime we embraced friends, begged for sneak peeks from artists, sipped on Beach City Brewery's Overcast Summer Wheat and PCH Pale Ale and nibbled on eats slung by Duke's.
A local movement in itself, "Surfboards on Parade" has been in the making for the past 2.5 years, the brainchild of the Rotary Club of HB and former Rotary president and parade "torchbearer" Scott Smith. With the graceful guidance of Event Fusion, spearheaded by the lovely Jodi McKay, the ongoing exhibition unveiled its first board in January and pulled the cloaks off four more over the course of several weeks. Pairing artists with shapers, the collaborative project has ignited the local community, uniting businesses, groups and people with one crucial mission: to help eradicate skin cancer. It also honors the centennial of surfing at the HB Pier.
Thursday's kickoff reception at the HB Art Center wrangled all but one of the boards in one place for an epic unveiling with shapers and artists present. Artist Sam Bernal's Chuck Dent "Bubble Board" and artist Dave C. Reynolds' Chris Carrozza "Century of Stoke" board blew our minds, as did many others.
Here's a look at 27 of the now 28 boards, which are currently on display at their sponsor locations through August. The final board is a Gordie Duane model featuring a gold 45 record of "Surf City" by Jan and Dean inlaid in the board. It will be unveiled on June 8 at 1 p.m. during Surfin' Sundays.
Come Thursday, May 8, you can pick up a hard copy of the "safari guide" at all sponsor locations, parade stops and at the HB Visitor Information Kiosk outside Duke's Huntington Beach.
If you missed your chance to meet the shapers and artists on Thursday, watch Matt Liffreing's 13-minute video below to find out just how much love went into each board.
To find out where the boards are going in September and when they'll be auctioned off, check out our 100 years of surfing events guide.