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Surfrider Foundation snags artists to interpret some epic waves

September 28, 2009 |  7:15 am


Some of the world’s best-known waves are getting an artistic makeover.

In celebration of the Surfrider Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Gala, which will be held Oct. 9 in downtown L.A., the organization has asked 25 contemporary artists to interpret 25 of the world’s most legendary surf breaks. The artworks will be part of the third installment of the nonprofit’s “Art for the Oceans” auction series.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the ocean,” said Jim Moriarty, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “These are iconic waves in surf culture. What better way to celebrate our 25th anniversary than by celebrating them through art?”

From Hawaii’s Pipeline and Puerto Rico’s Rincon to Australia’s Kirra and Tahiti’s Teahupo’o break, the gnarly surf spots -- many of them facing environmental threat -- are depicted by artists including Shepard Fairey (known for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster), Billy Al Bengston, Barry McGee and Raymond Pettibon.

Additionally, the event will feature the presentation of the foundation’s Keeper of the Coast Award. The award -- given out once every five years -- is presented to “celebrities who have made significant contributions toward helping the Surfrider Foundation fulfill its mission of protecting the world's oceans, waves and beaches." This year’s recipients are musical acts Incubus and Pearl Jam, along with actor David Chokachi. They join previous winners including Jack Johnson, Perry Farrell, and Bruce Johnston and Mike Love of the Beach Boys.

To purchase tickets for the gala, view the complete list of lots and register for “Art for the Oceans III,” visit

Below is a look at some of the other artworks featured in the auction.

--Yvonne Villarreal




Images: (top) Shepard Fairey's interpretation of "Jaws," a big wave surfing reef break on the island of Maui. (middle) Billy Al Bengston captures Waimea Bay. (bottom) Thomas Campbell's interpretation of the Pipeline surf reef break off Ehukai Beach Park in Hawaii.  Credit: Surfrider Foundation