Each year, The Boardroom Show fills a 70,000-square-foot convention hall in Del Mar, CA with gorgeous surfboards, the fine craftspeople who make them and surfers who drool while fondling rails. While mingling at the most recent Boardroom show earlier this month, photographer Todd Glaser noticed that the beautiful boards and people were juxtaposed against the unpleasing photo aesthetic of cardboard boxes and other convention-esque distractions. It wasn’t making for good pictures.
So Glaser came back the next day with a minimal rig and set up a makeshift portrait studio. It was an idea inspired by Danny Clinch, who’s known to for his backstage photo studios at concerts where he’s caught Bob Dylan, Bowie, The Beastie Boys and more in front of his lens. “Anytime a shaper or someone that I knew or recognized would walk by,” Glaser said, “I would talk to them and ask them if they would sit-in to snap a quick portrait. All these portraits were shot in a two-hour window where most of the subjects only sat for 30 seconds to a minute. I wanted to create a set of images that isolated these shapers from the busyness of all the booths and focused on the people themselves.” Below are Glaser’s portraits of some of shaping’s rock stars.
Each year, The Boardroom Show pays homage to a shaper that’s left an innovative mark on the history of board design. This year’s show honored shortboard revolutionary, father of vertical surfing and outspoken environmental advocate Wayne Lynch (above). Part of the festivities include the Icons of Foam Shape-off, where a group of shapers replicate the honorees design. “Lynch was really warm to the camera,” Glaser said. “At first he was like, ‘Isn’t getting your photo taken really weird?’ It’s totally weird. But he said afterward that he appreciated what I was doing because it’s really rare to have people together like this.”
Lifelong surfer, shaper, artist and writer Cher Pendarvis was SURFER Magazine’s first female employee. Cher was SURFER’s art associate and designer from 1974-1978.
Shaper Steve “Pendo” Pendarvis, originator of the Pendoflex, currently has a broken arm. His doctor told him he should hold off on shaping until his arm is healed. Pendo is currently shaping, arm cast and all.
“Maurice Cole came up to me and he was like, ‘What’s your plan here? What are you doing?'” Glaser said. “I told him I was shooting portraits and then he was like, ‘Mate! Let’s make it weird!’ He fro’d out his hair and started giving me different looks each time the flash went off. He got it.”
No, that’s not Tom Araya from Slayer. It’s legendary shaper Maurice Cole “making it weird” and having fun with it.
A man who knows a thing or two about making high-performance craft, Al Merrick’s scion and Channel Islands Surfboards’ lead foam mower, Britt Merrick.
Foam and fiberglass mastermind, Dick Brewer. Surfboard design would not be where it is today without Brewer’s designs. He’s been the most influential shaper in surfing for the better part of 60 years. When Glaser saw that Brewer had made it to the Boardroom Show all the way from Hawaii, he knew that he had to get him in the booth.
Asymmetrical surfboard pioneer, Carl Ekstrom. Ekstrom has mentored fellow asymm aficionado Ryan Burch and was excited to watch him try his hand at recreating one of Lynch’s Evolution designs in the Icons of Foam Shape-off.
(L-R) Jeff Clark, Wayne Lynch, Wayne Rich
Mavericks pioneer and shaper Jeff Clark. For the record, Clark didn’t surf Mavericks by himself for 17 years because he was keeping it a secret. It took him 17 years to find someone crazy enough to paddle out there with him.
Whether it’s a car or surfboard, Dick Brewer (left) and his former employee Chris Christenson (right) like to build things that go fast. Brewer and Christenson took a break from the Boardroom Show to go checkout Christenson’s hotrod in the parking lot.
Icons of Foam Shape-off winner Ryan Burch (left) and Lynch (right).
“Steve Brom (above) came up to me,” Glaser said. “We’d met once before but I didn’t really know much about him. He handed me this sticker, it was a photo of the Hollywood sign changed to “Hollyweed.” Him and his buddies jumped the fence and changed it in the ’70s. I had no idea about that. Him and his buddies have changed it four different times.” When Brom wasn’t busy vandalizing the Hollywood sign, he was cranking out fishes in Huntington Beach at Dyno Surfboards in the ’70s, the iteration of the shape made popular by David Nuuhiwa.
Quite possibly the most useful novelty check ever presented to a winner. What will Burch carve out of that thing?
The Boardroom Show gives attendees a chance to watch a surfboard materialize at the hand of an experienced shaper. Dan Mann takes his turn in the fishbowl-esque shaping bay as a competitor in the Icons of Foam Shape-off.
Roy Coffman runs Patagonia Cardiff. Coffman is an asset to the San Diego surfing community with the various board swaps, slideshows and film screenings he curates at the shop.
Chances are this woman has either saved your board from a minor ding and/or your body from a rash. Julie Klein of Julie Designs makes board socks and is the inventor of the rashguard. Julie has been sewing contest jerseys since the ’80s and several World Titles have been won while wearing her lycra.
Surf Prescriptions’ lead foam and fiberglass physician, Jeff “Doc” Lausch.
Shaper Wayne Rich is no stranger to the Icons of Foam Shape-off. His rich shaping lineage and thoughtful attention to detail has lead him to a victory in the challenge before. “The underground lives” is Rich’s personal mantra that he writes on each custom order.
“I’m kind of known as a water photographer but I’ve always admired the portrait side of photography,” Glaser said. “I’ve always appreciated the work of guys like Steve Sherman and Art Brewer. Kind of like how all the shapers at the Boardroom Show are well-rounded in their craft, I want to be a well-rounded photographer. I thought it would be cool to challenge myself and also kind of pay homage to everyone that’s there with these photos. Especially Lynch, it was really cool to have Wayne Lynch (center) and to be able to spend a bit of time with him.”