Friday, March 9, 2012

The Dot in Words

My resin circle is a nod towards my intentions, process and history.

Around 2009 I had built roughly 250 surfboards and was finding myself struggling with my work; I enjoyed it but was shaping what I thought people would want to buy vs. what I wanted to build them. I followed trends and watched other shapers to define my direction; it was a well rounded education in following my curiosities, but it lacked originality and true inspiration. I had been shaping a few displacement hull designs and extremely experimental boards for myself and was enjoying the heck out of them but I didn't quite trust that I could support myself with boards like that since they were relatively under represented in the surfboard design world at the time. I took a few months off and surfed my brains out with a handful of friends and like-minded surfers (Morgan Maassen, Trevor Gordon, Kyle Albers and Kyle Lightner) in the hopes of figuring it all out.

I couldn't repress my desire to build surfboards for all that long, and I had one blank left. I wanted to shape another experiment for my buddies. I gave myself a lot of freedom and shaped the most extreme version of what I had been surfing up to that point. I built it quickly and let my imagination and hands run free, getting more excited as it progressed an following random sparks as they came into my mind while I shaped.

I rushed to glass the board, and when installing the fin-box I added a hefty amount of catalyst (the chemical that makes resin cure and subsequently makes resin heat up as it sets) in order to get the job done quicker; Morgan and I had a standing date to shoot a few photos of the new craft before sunset that evening. I poured the resin into the board, pushed the fin box in, set the cup down on the board and let it rest. After an hour or so of curing I came back to the board ready for the final sanding work. I reached to take the cup off of the board and everything came to a screeching halt. The cup was fused to the bottom of the board just above the fin box! The excess resin in the cup had heated up so much when it set that it not only bonded the cup to the board, but delaminated the dark-blue fiberglass from the board also, leaving a gigantic bubble in the glass-job the size of my fist.

I was dumbfounded.

I called Lightner and frantically explained what had happened; we decided that the best course of action would be to sand off the bubble, exposing the white foam circle, and glass over it with a fast-curing clear resin so I could make my date with Morg. I signed my name and the date inside of the white circle to make it look somewhat intentional, and pushed on as I watched the sun slowly lower through my shop door. Morgan and I met at the park, got the photos he wanted, and waited for the next day for it's maiden voyage.

That board was the first She Hull. It worked like gangbusters and expanded our minds to new understandings of trim and speed in the next few weeks of razor sharp surf. It seemed like a perfect storm of inspiration, design, improvisation and community. I figured there was something to that process and especially that magical little circle. The She Hull quickly changed the face of my work as I decided that in pushing forward I would follow my own path, and put my trust in my own design and application.

Since that experience I've put a resin circle on all of my boards, surrounding my signature and the board's particulars. That event and process has shaped my work and my motivation every day, and serves as a constant reminder in the power of creative freedom in my work.

Ryan Lovelace & She Hull #1, the evening the resin dot was born.

Shot by mr.Morgan Maassen, 2009


zeltzerm said...

thanks for sharing that. Following inspiration is the only way to be an artist. Time spent worrying about trends is time wasted. Thanks for the inspiration!

GuyDaddy said...

lightners a total douche. go tag more rocks with your .com kookdaddy

Ryan said...

please keep negative comments about things that have nothing to do with me off my blog. This isn't a place for that, thank you.