It’s 2 PM on a September afternoon, the waters are getting choppy 500 yards off Pillar Point, North of Half Moon Bay. A Rescue Yamaha Jet Ski heads to the beach to move back paddlers trying to make their way out to the surf break. This is Mavericks and the Jet Ski operator is former competitive big wave surfer and artist Vince Broglio. Vince is working water safety on location for the filming of ‘Chasing Mavericks’. Vince worked on locations while filming and spent 8 days at Mavericks providing water safety for both on lookers and the crew during the shooting of the challenging Mavericks surfing sequences.
Vince is no stranger to Mavericks. He has surfed it’s big waves many times and was introduced to the spot back in the 70s by Dave Schmidt and Jeff Clark long before it was familiar to most of the surfing community. Vince’s passion for surfing has allowed him to make his living as a surf board ‘Glasser’ applying resin and fiberglass to pre shaped foam boards giving the board it’s durable and unique exterior. Vince has worked with some of the best surf board shapers in the world, many of them residing here in Santa Cruz.
Surf Board making was a booming business in Northern California until the mid 2000s when a shake up in the industry lead to one major manufacturer closing it’s doors and the mass manufacturing of cheaper boards moving overseas.
Even though the industry has changed, Vince continues to glass boards, but in 2005 the change in his business prompted him to repurpose his resin into other forms. Sculpture. Since then Vince has taken the excess resin from thousands of boards and cut, sanded, and polished them into incredible works of art. His work is now shown in galleries from Caramel to Oregon to Laguna Beach and the good news is art enthusiasts are buying them. Along with his recent exhibits he was recently profiled in Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine.
I caught up with Vince at his studio remotely tucked in between Santa Cruz and Davenport to talk about surfing and his work as an artist.
Kirby Scudder: Where did your passion for surfing come from?
Vince Broglio: I started surfing in 1971 in Hawaii. I visited my Aunt and Uncle on O’ahu for summer vacation and ended up staying for about a year because it was so much fun. I have been surfing ever since. When ‘Endless Summer’ the movie came out it had a huge impact on everyone including me. I surfed completively for quite a few years, but I hated doing the contests and I stopped around 1981. Later, Dave Schmidt and Tom Powers introduced me to Mavericks. I remember they came back from surfing it that day and they were telling me about this huge wave and I said “really?”. Next day we drove up and met with Jeff Clark and we were watching the waves and nothing was happening and then after a while this one wave came through and ”just unloaded” and I couldn’t believe it. That next year I started surfing ‘Mavericks’.
KS: How did you make the transition from surfer/glasser to artist?
VB: In 2005 when Clark Foam who supplied 80 percent of the world market of surfboard blanks closed their doors all of us in the industry were immediately impacted. Looking around in my studio were large deposits of resin from all of the boards I had glassed over the years. I thought that I should cut it up and make something from it, so I made a small wave sculpture for a friend of mine. The response to the piece was overwhelming. I then began to make larger and larger pieces. At one point I made an entire surfboard of solid resin. Probably the hardest sculpture I ever made. As I began to show and sell my work I realized that this was something I really enjoyed and all my years of working with resin allowed me the skills to make these pieces. I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature and as a surfer I have a great appreciation of the individuality of each wave. Much like each of my sculptures. You asked about the transition and for me it was easy because I have always considered each one of the boards that I work on and individual work of art.
As I made my way out of his studio I stumbled on what I thought was a rock. It turned out to be a small chunk of resin in the shape of a wave.
For more information about Vince Brogliogo to http://www.theresinartist.com/
Kirby Scudder is the director of the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art. Details: www.scica.org