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My Favorite Surfboard

Richard Podgurski Jr.


Behind the Shot

In 1907, Hawaiians George Freeth and Duke Kahanamoku accepted an invitation from Henry Huntington to bring a surfing demonstration to Southern California. With them, they brought their solid wood boards, which weighed nearly 200 pounds each. The boards were designed mainly for large, gentle waves and were much longer and thicker than boards today. Locals and national press attended the series of events. Onlookers were hooked, and surfing quickly gained popularity. Soon boards became lighter and faster. By 1935, the design and performance capabilities improved with the addition of the fin. After World War II, materials and techniques used in aircraft construction were adapted to surfboard design—fiberglass and resin replaced heavy woods, and the round-nosed, square-tail board took on the shape we know today.

Richard, a lifelong surfer, pays homage to those surfers before him with this photograph of his favorite board. “I wanted to highlight the shape and the California vibe of the sunset and single-fin board. I wanted to do justice to the board—the environment it was in, the vibe it gives off. This is a shot I’ve wanted to take for a long time. I bought this surfboard because I loved the look of it, and I wanted to get a retro shot of a retro board with the sunset before I put wax on it. I love this board still and surf with it often.”