Jon Wegener on Past, Present, and Future of Surfboards

"During Captain Cook's journeys, they had people on the boat drawing pictures of when they came to Hawaii. Their pictures show people surfing, standing up, and riding waves on their bellies, which is proof that they were surfing in the 1700s. The pictures show that the beach was full of people surfing; men, women, kids were all together riding waves. So when the first Westerners came there, surfing was full on – to think about that is amazing.

Looking back at all of these ancient surfboards [alaia, paipo, etc.] it's easy to think that old times were kind of barbaric, but then you realize how well the things work. What's funny is that people thought foam boards were the greatest thing, but coming back and reworking some of these ancient designs out of wood you find, oh man, we have more fun on this seemingly simple piece of wood than a lot of the foam boards.

Alaia-inspired finless surfboard, 2009. Shaped by Jon Wegener. Paulownia. Part of Surf Craft Exhibit. 

Alaia-inspired finless surfboard, 2009. Shaped by Jon Wegener. Paulownia. Part of Surf Craft Exhibit. 

Surfing is growing like never before – China, Brazil coming up with new world champions, India – theres all this stuff happening. I don't think we've seen anything yet. We're probably not going to be the next innovators, it's going to be these people who are new to surfing who don't know the history, and they're gonna be like, let's do this, and everybody is gonna go, why didn't we think of that? It's gonna be great. Hopefully everybody won't go to the same old products that we've always used, and with some new designs there will be some new concepts."

This quote is taken from the Shape Heroes Forum at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on July 16, 2016. The Shape Heroes Forum was an event in conjunction with the Surf Craft Exhibit. Panelists included: Danny Hess, William "Stretch" Reidel, Griffin Stepanek, Joh Wegener, and Dave Parmenter. Moderated by Christian Beamish.

Jon Wegener Surfboards