5 Surf Artists to Check out Now

These five creatives have a passion for two things: surf and art. Here’s a little more about the creative rippers in the lineup.

Ethan Estess

San Francisco, California

Medium: found art using ghost nets and rope, block printing Santa Cruz, California

Best Known for: 2018 Triple Crown of Surfing Plastic Free Wave in partnership with WSLPure; exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Bishop Museum, and Turtle Bay; Exhibit; Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi collab; Working summers on a research vessel in the seas near Japan, Estess collects ghost nets and studies fish.

The Santa Cruz surfer with a passion for the aquatic environment sees first-hand the ways in which the fishing industry can contribute negatively to our ocean’s balance. The San Francisco-based surfer brings about awareness through his art. His work has been seen along the Seven Mile Miracle from Turtle Bay to Shark’s Cove. He is a supporter of all things conservation and has donated to the following: the Oʻahu Surfrider Foundation; the North Shore Community Land Trust; Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi; and Kokua Hawaiʻi Foundation. In between sculptures and partnerships with Vans and the WSL, Estess catches waves at Black Point, Santa Cruz, and Ehukai Beach Park, just bordering Banzai Pipeline.


Nick “Welzie” Wells

Maui, Hawaiʻi

Medium: cartoonish painting, block printing

Best Known for: Murals around Hawaiʻi; Pow Wow Hawaiʻi; surfboard artwork collab with Two Crows; Greenroom Festival artist;

With a backdrop of droplets large and small in soft pinks and baby blues, the black outlining of cartoon-style pictures pop. The surfer’s signature style draws inspo from a range of aloha images, from shakas to sharks, surfboards, squids, and Haleʻiwa’s Rainbow Bridge on the North Shore, Welzie’s art has a distinct Hawaiʻi theme. Collaborating with longtime friend and shaper Carl Olsen of Waialua Sugar Mill’s Two Crows, Welzie creates vibrant board art that has been seen on boards ridden by Honolua Blomfield, Rosie Jaffurs, and other notable noseriders.


Jeremy Harper

Santa Barbara, California

Medium: oil on canvas

Best known for: landscape portraits of Southern California
His love of the beach is reflected in the passion he puts into each plein air he produces.

The talented Jeremy Harper was raised near the famed point break Rincon, in Santa Barbara, California, so naturally, the surfer has painted almost every inch of this wave-rich coastline – and surfs it too! His time spent seaside has allowed him to capture these Southern California scenes in every season. The surfer and artist also shows off his watercolor abilities through the illustrations in ​The Great Canoe Adventure​, a book written by Jon Pyzel, shaper for John John Florence.


Steven Kean

Haleiwa, Hawaiʻi

Medium: block printing

Best Known for: Vans World Cup of Surfing poster art; Merchandise collab with Pyzel Surfboards and others; Art teacher at the North Shore’s Sunset Beach Elementary School (alma mater of John John Florence, Jack Johnson, Koa Rothman, Eli Olson, and more)

Kean, a North Shore artist, is regularly spotted ripping at Rocky Point on Oʻahu’s North Shore. His black and white imagery reflects his passion for the ocean and his eye for waves. Vans and the WSL took note, approaching Kean in 2017 to use an image for the poster art of the Vans World Cup of Surfing. “Hands down, one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Still humbled and honored to have been a part of that,” reminisced Kean on his Instagram in 2019. Kean’s wave-centric prints come naturally to the surfer who spends as much free time as possible shortboarding the waves of the North Shore.


Hilton Alves

Kahuku, Hawaiʻi

Medium: murals

Best Known for: ocean murals, 101 Perfect Waves project, Surf Art Kids;
The large scale mural artist who loves to stand up paddle the waves on both the north and south shores of his current place of residence – Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.

Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, this water-focused artist has made his mark on walls across Hawaiʻi and the world, including murals in Europe, South America and more. Since 2013, Alves has been pursuing his personal and professional goal of painting over a hundred walls with beautifully cresting waves in “101 Perfect Waves – International Mural Project”, working this March on a wall in Uluwatu, Bali.