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Surfboard exhibit opens at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum opened a brand new exhibit this weekend for those fascinated by the history of surfboards.

The unique exhibit contains 11 replicas of historic surfboards shaped by Renny Yater and painted by Kevin Ancell and John Comer.

The display traces the history of surfing and the evolution of surfboard design alongside text and historic photographs of the early years of the sport.

"Most people look at those boards and say well they're not being used today. Well they were used thirty, forty, fifty, even a hundred years ago in some cases," said Yater.

"There's nothing else like these boards, I mean people paint on surfboards but these are really different," explained Comer.

A 31-page book called Heritage, Craft & Evolution: Surfboard Design 1885-1959 includes pictures of the entire exhibit and was self-published by John Comer and Suzette Curtis this year. Copies are available in the SBMM’s Museum Store for $28.

The book and the exhibit are the result of a unique collaboration between three important figures in the California surfing community: Renny Yater, one of the first commercial surfboard shapers of the 1950s; John Comer, plein-air painter; and painter and surfboard shaper, Kevin Ancell.

The exhibit will remain open for viewing through October 30 and is free with museum admission.

The exhibit was sponsored by the George H. & Olive J. Griffiths Charitable Foundation, Mimi Michaelis, Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, and Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.

The SB Maritime Museum is located at 113 Harbor Way in Santa Barbara and is open Thursdays through Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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Blake DeVine

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