"The Art of Wave Riding"
Prototype Press Book Release with Photographs by Kanoa Zimmerman
Saturday, September 28th 7pm - 10pm
Mollusk San Francisco
We are excited to announce a book release show of The Art of Wave Riding and a gallery show with photographs by Kanoa Zimmerman. The book was originally self published in 1931, and was one of the first books written about surfing. Mark Sarigianis, of Prototype Press, decided an artist pressing was in order after discovering the book. This limited edition pressing features: handset type that was cast by him in his shop, custom made blue paper with a wave watermark, custom made cover, hand-bond binding, ten 35mm prints from Kanoa Zimmerman, and a foreword by Mark Renneker. To compliment the release of the book, Kanoa Zimmerman will also be showing a collection of prints from the book in the gallery.
Thoughts on The Art of Wave Riding by Mark Renneker:
No book on surfing is more famous than “The Art of Wave Riding.” Written and self-published in 1931 by an enthusiastic 24 year-old Los Angeles surfer named Ron Drummond, in a scant 26 page booklet– with several charming black and white photos, he communicated how wondrous it is to ride a wave, using just your body.
Among surf book collectors, “The Art of Wave Riding” is something of a Holy Grail: it is considered the first book ever published on surfing, and, with estimates of as few as 200 or as many as 500 copies printed, it is quite hard to find and expensive to acquire, commanding prices upwards of $5000.
When I was a young body surfer in the 1960s and first heard about the book, I knew nothing of how rare it was, but I fell deeply in love with its title. Yes, I thought, surfing – any form of surfing - is indisputably an art (though to be clear, I did not then, nor now, think of myself as an artist – oh maybe just once, on a hairball 25-footer at Maverick’s awhile back.)
Years later, in 1988, I was stunned when a surf historian friend of mine, Gary Lynch, presented me with an original copy of the book, with a 2 personal inscription to me by Ron Drummond, then 81 years old and still surfing! Among the 1000s of surf books in my collection, it is my proudest possession.
Never mind his prowess as a body surfer, Ron Drummond is actually best known for his ability to ride waves while standing in a canoe, hence his nickname: Canoe Drummond. While big wave surfing has always been associated with Hawaii, for California surfers back in the 40s there was the Tijuana Sloughs, at the border between the US and Mexico, where once or twice a year enormous winter waves broke more than a mile from shore. It was there that Drummond’s legend was made, when he alone ventured all the way outside, and, lining up on the border markings, he caught and successfully rode a wave he estimated at 40 feet in height, which included his getting fully tubed. Yep, in a canoe.
Drummond favored an open-shell Canadian style canoe, and, standing bare-chested at 6’6” with, on smaller days, a tongue-hanging-out Newfoundland dog, named Surfer, happily sitting in the bow, Drummond exemplified an unselfconscious style of wave riding unmatched by any surfer since.
It was an appreciation of that “Drummond Style” that I could see in the eager faces of bookmaker Mark Sarigianis and photographer Kanoa Zimmerman, who’d heard I had a copy of Drummond’s book and had arranged to come meet with me so as to bear witness to the actual book. I was immediately enthusiastic about their project, to take the book to a still higher level of art, by creating a high-quality limited edition of “The Art of Wave Riding,” using Drummond’s original text but with Zimmerman’s luminous modern photographs.
So, here it is – perfect Drummond, though lacking in one essential feature: gotta have a dog in the bow."
Join is opening night from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm for an evening of good times, cold beverages, and tunes from Ben of Tunnel Records.
Find the work here.