From a new bronze statue of Steve and Barrie Boehne to the arrival of the Hawaiian voyaging canoe ‘Hōkūle’a,’ there’s much to celebrate in our local waters
Celebrating the latest addition to the collection of epic bronze surf statues at Watermen’s Plaza in Dana Point, the city and local surf dignitaries last week unveiled an exquisite piece of art and engineering featuring Steve and Barrie Boehne of Infinity Surfboard Company.
For over a half-century, the Boehnes, along with their two sons, Dave and Dan, have run Infinity. Fixtures on the Orange County surf scene, whether providing local stars with lovingly shaped surfboards or giving hungry groms a summer job, their operation is everything a surf shop should be.
The new statue, artist Bill Limebrook’s latest masterpiece, features the couple riding tandem on a skateboard, and joins a world-class group of bronze sculptures of other legendary surfers, including Hobie Alter, Phil Edwards, Bruce Brown, Joyce Hoffman and John Severson.
Steve shaped the first Infinity Surfboard in 1970 and hasn’t stopped since. Consider this stat: there have now been more than 50,000 surf craft created by the Infinity family, an average of more than 1,000 a year.
But as staggering as those numbers are, what’s most telling about the business is how the stoke remains the same after all these years.
“My dad’s still doing it, my mom’s still doing it, my brother and I are there; it’s still the same family business it’s always been. We’ve been blessed to be able to do this for as long as we have,” Dave Boehne explained during the shop’s 50th anniversary celebration.
In other big surf culture happenings, on Saturday, Nov. 4, the iconic Hawaiian voyaging canoe, Hōkūle’a ,is set to arrive at the Ocean Institute in the Dana Point Harbor.
At 4:30 p.m., the vessel is expected to enter the harbor and will be ushered to the dock by a fleet of local canoe clubs. The celebration at the Ocean Institute kicks off at 5 p.m. and will feature speeches, cultural tributes, and ceremonial dances.
From Sunday, Nov. 5, through Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Hōkūle’a will be docked in Dana Point and be open for public tours. Other special events include a screening of the Disney film Moana on Sunday evening and meet-and-great sessions with the crew.
The arrival of the Hōkūle’a is part of the Moananuiākea Voyage, an expedition that began in 2013 and seeks to circumnavigate the globe using traditional Polynesian sailing techniques.
Built in 1975, the traditional Hawaiian wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe) was named Hōkūle‘a after an important star used in Polynesian navigation. Translated, it means “Star of Gladness.”
Besides playing an instrumental role in rekindling Polynesian sailing traditions, the Hōkūle‘a holds a unique place in surf history. On March 16,1978, the craft set sail from Oahu on a 30-day, 2,500-mile voyage with Hawaiian lifeguard and big-wave legend Eddie Aikau onboard.
As the Hōkūle‘a passed by the island of Moloka’i, one of the hulls began to leak, and the boat capsized. Aikau famously set off on his surfboard to paddle for help and was never seen again.
Finally, on Saturday, the first event of the new U.S. Board Riders Clubs season kicks off at Church. National champs San Clemente Board Riders will host crosstown rivals Dana Point Surf Club, as well as clubs from Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.
A community surf contest for all ages, the team-style contest will run all day, so head to Church and support your crew.
That’s a whole lot of amazing surf culture jammed into one week. Have fun out there and enjoy all the goodness happening in our local waters right now.