Creators Gathering 2020: the story
–– Shop the Collection ––
Blanks were ordered, materials were shipped, tents were packed, checklists were checked. All in preparation for what is one of the most significant trips of our year celebrating a pillar of our surf world––the process of creating surfboards.
This year marked our 3rd annual Creators Gathering, a gathering of ‘creative kin.’ We spent our first trip in the isolated outskirts of Fort Bragg in Northern California, then headed South for our second go-around in search of inspiration from our neighboring country of Mexico. This year, we got a call from Danny inviting us to join him on his property in the hills outside Santa Cruz. The location couldn’t have been better: an existing shaping bay and woodshop nestled amongst the redwoods and ready for us takeover with the goal of a finished batch of boards in 7 days. The scene was set. Central California was about to be the gathering place for a congregation of the most creative craftsmen, artists, musicians, filmmakers, builders, shapers, laminators and videographers in our surf world…
What we eventually created was a commune for the imagination. Everywhere you looked something magnificent was happening –– shaping, photographing, chainsaw chair-making, podcasting, painting... The mountain hideaway we occupied immediately turned into a world of wonder.
Joining the crew for the first time this year was Alex Lopez. Alex flew down from Bend looking to build a 7’6” 1970’s era lighting bolt gun-esque single fin… a silent nod to his lineage as his dad had to have ridden hundreds of similar shapes in Hawaii and Indo back in his day.
The week was filled with creative happenings that each deserve their own story. Travis bit the shaping bay early, knocking out a 8’9” mini glider in record time getting everyone stoked to start their shapes; Cliff (with Travis’ assistance) shaped his first ever hand-shape: a “Sting” outline with a massive fin box and retro resin color work by Superwolf, all built in honor of the Hawaiian shaper Ben Aipa for his innovation of the Stinger shape; Donny took a pass in the mobile shaping bay that resulted in a beautiful triple stringer asym, complete with a woodworking inlay built from scrap laminate that was filling Danny’s firewood bin; Diz sanded away at some wooden side bites before getting in the shaping bay to bust out a twinzer; Nick facilitated a group therapy exercise by letting everyone cover his board with chalk art; McCallum and Woodside collaborated on a quad that’s officially Jason’s favorite; Travis & Superwolf got trippy with tie dye colorwork on his mini glider; Chad put time in on a beautiful agave board; Thomas painted what came to be the backdrop for Tommy G and the bands mind-melting set of musical vibrations; and Superwolf threw color on boards in ways we’ve never seen before.
Finishing a quiver of boards in 5 days is no easy feat (as we’ve learned over the past few years). Getting everyone in the cue and giving them a reasonable amount of time to finish a board, getting the first side laminated, lamming the other side, hot-coat, fins, sanding, finishing… It’s a massive amount of work. None of it would have been possible without the help of Travis, Bryce and the rest of the crew down at Travis’ shop, the Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild. He knocked his board out right off the bat then got everyone else’s into the queue just in time to be able to ride them by the end of the trip.
On one of our last nights, Thomas put in a few calls that resulted in a private show by Tommy Guerrero, Josh Lippi and Matt Rodriquez for our group and some of Danny’s luckiest neighbors. Watching the band play to the sound of the wind howling through the colossal redwoods was a sight to behold. If you haven’t melted your brain to the sound of their chords before you’re missing out on some serious energy-altering experiences…
With a striking crescendo, we ended the week with a final surf with the entire crew on their freshly cured boards. Everyone was full of Christmas morning jitters as they waxed up their boards on the dunes and anticipating getting the fresh foam under their feet. We found an empty beach out of town as to not impose on anyones session with an insta-crowd of 10. The A-Frame was the perfect testing ground for the freshly glassed crafts, serving up plenty of opportunity for the guys to evaluate their handy-work. Before we knew it, all was said and done and we parted ways on high vibrations. Boards were built, ideas boiled into successful experimentation, everyone got waves and everyone made plans to keep in touch & carry on the stoke ‘til we’d all get together again.