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Decorated surfboards honoring Surfing Walk of Fame inductees to be unveiled at Huntington Beach party

Decorated surfboards honoring Surfing Walk of Fame inductees to be unveiled at Huntington Beach party
San Clemente-based artist Joshua Paskowitz designed portraits of surfers (including the one above) on a surfboard handcrafted by Huntington Beach shaper Duke Aipa. (Courtesy of Jodi McKay)

Meticulously decorated surfboards honoring Surfing Walk of Fame inductees will be unveiled Wednesday during a fundraiser presented by the Rotary Club of Huntington Beach.

The biennial “Surfboards on Parade” display will feature 20 boards designed by 20 shapers and 20 artists.

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Professional surfers and others from the industry are expected to attend the unveiling party at 5:30 p.m. at the Kimpton Shorebreak hotel in downtown Huntington Beach.

The surfboards will be displayed through Oct. 6 at locations throughout Huntington Beach, including Pacific City, Duke’s restaurant and Main Street.

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An online auction will start Wednesday, when guests at the unveiling party can begin bidding for the boards in the collection. Bidding will open to the general public Aug. 9, and the boards will be auctioned Oct. 7 during the Night of a Million Waves gala at the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach.

Money raised will benefit Operation Surf — a nonprofit that offers surfing to wounded veterans — Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and the Huntington Rotary Club.

“Surfboards on Parade” organizer Jodi McKay said the event seeks artists and shapers who will “stay true to our vision of having soulful, layered collaborations to keep a ‘talk story’ vibe.”

Artist Joshua Paskowitz included several notable surfers on a board that will be unveiled Wednesday in Huntington Beach.
Artist Joshua Paskowitz included several notable surfers on a board that will be unveiled Wednesday in Huntington Beach. (Courtesy of Jodi McKay)

“For me, it’s always such as soulful thing,” said Duke Aipa, a Huntington Beach resident and surfboard shaper whose father, Ben, will be inducted into both the Surfing Walk of Fame on Aug. 2 and Surfers’ Hall of Fame on Aug. 3.

Duke Aipa said he crafted a Hawaiian surfboard that he envisioned his father would use if he were 25 years old. The board, which is covered with portraits of surfers designed by San Clemente-based artist Joshua Paskowitz, is called “Past Forward” and took Aipa five hours to shape.

Ben Aipa, 77, is a board builder and surfing coach who is credited with inventing the surfboard swallow tail and adding the “sting,” a wing along the rail ahead of the tail, to make the board go faster.

“He’s been pivotal to surfing,” Paskowitz said. “We wanted the board to depict some of that.”

Paskowitz spent nearly 200 hours using the stringer, or thin strip that runs down the center, on the “Past Forward” board as a “big storyboard” to paint scenes of Ben Aipa’s “greatest moments.”

Other notable surfers inspired by Ben Aipa also are included in the design, including Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm in a 2003 shark attack.

Paskowitz said he hopes the project will embody the spirit of “aloha,” in which people give freely without expecting anything in return.

“Surfing has almost a religious quality to it,” he said. “It’s often overlooked or misunderstood. A lot of people know it as a competitive sport where people are trying to get more radical than the next guy. But in classic surf culture and Hawaiian style, it’s more about the communion with the ocean and Mother Nature.”

General admission to the unveiling party is $40 in advance. Tickets at the door are $50. For more information, visit surfboardsonparade.org.

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