Sacred Craft in NorCal

The semi-annual surfboard expo takes over Santa Cruz this weekend

Sacred Craft brings the magic of the shaping room into a public setting. Photo: Ellis

Do you love staring at surfboards? Are you the guy who stops by their local surf shop for a bar of wax, only to leave an hour later contemplating spending next month's mortgage payment on a shiny keel-fin fish for summer? Have you ever thought about trying your hand at shaping your next board? If you answered affirmatively to any of those questions, then you may want to consider being in Santa Cruz, California this weekend for the Sacred Craft Consumer Surfboard Trade Expo presented by Santa Cruz Surfboards.

Surfboards may be the foundation of the surf community, but until Sacred Craft's arrival on the surf scene a couple years ago, the art of making surfboards had become a tertiary distraction in the multi-billion dollar business of surfing. But Sacred Craft has provided a semi-annual venue where surfboard fanatics, shapers, and laypeople can get together and talk about design, manufacturing, history, and the culture that was spawned by the craftsmen who gave surfers their most essential tool.

Set up like a tradeshow, scores of shapers and manufacturers man booths displaying their new lines of boards, there are non-stop live shaping demonstrations and competitions, and all day Saturday you can bring in that old board you got at a garage sale back in the day to be evaluated at the PBS Antiques Roadshow-style Surfboard and Memorabilia Appraisals. Star appraisers include Bird Huffman, Peter Noble, Randy Rarick, and former SURFER Editor Sam George. Who knows, you may just have a piece of surf history collecting dust next to the washing machine.

This year, Sacred Craft is also hosting the Billabong XXL Experience, a hands-on exhibit highlighting the surfboards, shapers, and surfers behind the XXL Global Big Wave Awards. You can check out videos, photos, surfboards, and possibly have a chat with legendary big waves surfers. Billabong will also be announcing this year's XXL Nominees at Sacred Craft on Saturday afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. With some serious swell on the way to Mavericks, there just may be some last-minute entries into the big-wave surfing community’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Sacred Craft is always a busy weekend, and among the activities, author Matt Warshaw will be on hand to sign copies of his latest tome The History of Surfing, and the Future of Surfing Consortium will be proselytizing about the advances in environmentally conscious surfboard manufacturing, including "green" resin, laminating, foam, and other products and techniques intended to lower surfing's impact on nature.

If you've never been to Sacred Craft, get ready for a rootsy, real look at the design, history, manufacturing, and use of the vehicles we all drool over.

Who: Surfers, Shapers, Designers, Craftsman, Manufacturers

What: Surfboards and the culture that flows from them

When: March 19 and 20, 2010; Sat. 10am-6pm; Sun. 10am-4pm

Where: Rittenhouse Building, downtown Santa Cruz

Why: Because surfers really only care about two things: waves and the equipment to ride them with

Admission: $10 at the door (kids under 12 get in free) includes a one-year subscription to SURFER Magazine and door prizes including surfboard giveaways