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Prehistoric flying creature lands on Cardiff surfer statue

August 13, 2011 |  5:06 pm

Statue The vandals/critics/guerrilla artists who do not like the official civic statue along Highway 101 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea are at it again.

Officially named “Magic Carpet Ride,” the statue has provoked controversy, mockery and late-night redesigns virtually from its installation in 2007.

The subject, a young boy on a surfboard, would seem perfect for this northern San Diego County suburb, known for its surfing breaks.  But surfers and artists say his dainty look is an insult to a macho sport.

The name “Cardiff Kook” has replaced “Magic Carpet Ride” in the public consciousness. Bumper stickers have proclaimed “Dump the Cardiff Kook,” but officialdom has been unmoved.

Under cover of darkness, various groups and individuals have bedecked the statue as Michael Jackson, Oprah, a British royal bride, a witch (at Halloween), Vincent Van Gogh (on his birthday) and more. It has worn a bridal dress, baggy shorts, a red bra and a military uniform.

The most spectacular of the redesigns was a year ago, when a canvas-and-cardboard shark was built around the statue, seemingly devouring the surfer -- like in the movie “Jaws.”

The joke has worn off at Encinitas City Hall. The city recently spent $2,000 to repair damage done to the statue. A stern letter was sent to one of the artists thought responsible for one of the pranks.

But on Saturday, early-morning joggers, surfers and power walkers spotted the most elaborate redesign yet: a huge prehistoric flying creature, a pterosaur maybe, swooping down over the surfer, with a painted backdrop of a volcanic eruption for context. Also, small palm trees and two velociraptors.

Crowds gathered within hours in amazement and bemusement, many people posing for pictures.

As always, no one has yet claimed credit.

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-- Tony Perry in Encinitas

Photo: Cardiff statue with latest redesign. Credit: Mike Perry

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