Sometimes all an old board needs is a coat of paint to be transformed into something completely new. Surfboard art is really interesting to me because it involves decoration of a functional item. There’s not many sports where you can paint your equipment, without it looking strange. Tribal golf clubs – no. Mandala tennis racquets – not if you want someone to play against you.

However surfboards just beg for a creative touch – and we surfers often find delight in painting our watercraft to make them uniquely our own. However, too many surfboards remain plain white, or with no artistic flair (in my opinion).

My partner grins and bears it when it discovers yet another of his surfboards has become a tribal masterpiece. His fins don’t escape the  artistic treatment either. He says he feels like a proper jungle warrior walking down the beach with his freshly painted equipment.

The story of an old mini-mal

For quite some time I’ve been contemplating a circular design for my trusty old mini-mal. The board has asymmetrical fins (after a botched repair), is waterlogged, and the bottom deck has the remnants of a shark stripe pattern I drew a few years ago.

But I love my mini-mal because it flies down the line and has given me some of the best days of my surfing life. I can’t imagine a better board, except, perhaps, for the Firewire Greedy Beaver, which I really fancy.

So instead of leaving my trusty old board to gather infinite layers of wax and watch the red finish become yellow with age, I decided to draw a surfing mandala upon the top deck. The artwork is part tribal, part dreamcatcher, part… my imagination, I suppose.

If you’re interested in creating this kind of artwork, it is easier than you might imagine. You just need a few tools (like a Posca pen, sandpaper and varnish spray) and a good idea.

I invite you to join me for my latest surfboard art experience.