Surf Art – All You Need To Know

surfart surfboard

Surf art is the most contemporary form of marine painting. It represents surfing, beaches, surfboard and the entire world that revolves around surfing. It is distinct and vibrant due to its right blend of bright colors. Until a while ago, marine painting was all about beaches, fishing, and waves. It wasn’t that easy on eyes like the captivating surf art. But as soon as surf art gained prominence due to its striking colors and vibrancy even marine painting was being appreciated by people.

What makes Surf Art special?

Surf art

Surf art is unique in its very own way. It adds more energy and life unlike the rest of the painting. It non verbally talks to the viewers about the surfers’ experience, exudes positivity and energy while surfing. In short, it gives you a glimpse of the surfer’s life. It cannot be expressed in any other better way.

Surf art is primarily done on oil paint, it is also done using watercolors. When technology advanced it got printed on a wide variety of fabrics too.

History of Surf Art

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It was John Severson who popularised surfing in the late 1950s through his films based on surfing. Until then people weren’t that acquainted with surfing. Later, he decided to take a different swerve to advertise his films. He created a book with a lot of illustrations on surfing. The success and the warm reception of his book coaxed him to make it a quarterly magazine. Thus, the most popular Surfer Magazine came into existence.

So many artists began illustrating for the magazine. This was how the most famous comic character Murphy was born. Murphy was a surfer and in no time held a place very close to the hearts of the people.

Many artists were inspired by the new wave created by surf art. Even they ventured into this stream of art and some were competitors to the main Surfer Magazine.  This is how it all began, it was a major turning point in marine painting and people started raving about surf art.

Surf Art Now

Unlike other popular artwork, surf art is not dormant. There are so many artists who are only specialized in surf art. Many are known to the world as surf artists. Rick Griffin, Drew Brophy, Jay Alders are a few of the most prominent surf artists known for their exquisite pieces of surf art. They all have a style of their own.

As times have progressed web designers and graphic designers work on desktops and use various software for doing surf art. Some are brilliant 3d illustrations that take your breath away.

Surf Art Exhibitions

There are numerous surf art exhibitions that are popular across the globe. These exhibitions only have illustrations and paintings related to surfing.

Some are real pictures taken in the 20th century. It shows real-life great surfers who are considered as the stalwarts in the field even today. Most of the exhibitions reveal how surf art has evolved over the years.

It is through these exhibitions some people become aware of surf art and various intricate aspects related to surfing.

Surf Art museums

surf art
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In the late 1970s and 1980s, surf art did not gain much worldwide recognition like how it is now. By 2019 even people in the remotest of islands know about surfing. As a result, several countries are now opening museums and galleries exclusively for surf art. The finest of paintings and illustrations are being sold for millions of dollars.

You can find some amazing surf art in museums such as the California surf museum, Santa Cruz Surf Museum, Huntington Beach International Surf Museum etc.

Surf Art on e-commerce sites

Due to its wide popularity, different forms of surf art collections are available on e-commerce sites such as Etsy, Amazon, etc. These collections are on high demand and look stunning on walls.

Most of the artists sell their work on e-commerce sites. Therefore, the visibility of these artworks is really high. Gone are those days when a surf artist couldn’t get much money from his piece of work. If you want to sell your work and earn money then there is no other better way than e-commerce sites.

Surf Art on surfboards

surfart surfboard
Photo by Joe Pregadio

Surfboards are extremely popular for having surf art on it. Some local surf artists do their paintings on surfboards. This is highly in vogue these days.

These are not just done by local artists but also by people who do not call themselves artists. There are so many DIY surfboard art tutorials on the internet that motivate a common man to create one on their own without much effort.

Surf Art on clothing

surf art on tee shirt
Photo by etsy


Surf art can be widely seen in clothes too. It is mainly found on men’s tee shirts. Such tee shirts have become the perfect beachwear for most of the frequent beachgoers. As technology advanced, with the help of various types of fabric printing, surf art has become more rampant and quite frequent on attires too.


These are the various fields in which we find surf art these days. One thing is for sure, as technology advances surf art is going to be more and more prevalent. It is a form of art that is really captivating and wonderful for the eyes. It is full of life and due to that reason, surf art will be used in some way or the other.

As long as surfing exists, surf art would stay. Due to the adding popularity of surfing and its influence on people surfing has become a passion for many across the globe. The rapid innovations happening in technology has changed the style of surf art, yet it is really captivating for people. Hardcore surfers are able to relate to the art so much, whereas others love the brightness and colors exuded by surf art. Therefore, it is a known fact that surf art will never be morbid or dormant.

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