San Clemente Surf Gallery Has 'Most Historic and Most Valuable' Surfboard, Which Belonged to Duke Kahanamoku, Restored

Categories: Wax On, Wax Off
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​The Surfing Heritage Foundation (SHF) has a bunch of old and historic surfboards. They lines the walls and racks of the gallery room, which is located in San Clemente. Some are made of wood, some fiberglass. One belonged to Laird Hamilton, another is emblazoned with a swastika (it's actually a logo from a pre-Nazis board manufacturer, Pacific System Homes). Nearly every generation of surfboard apparati, dating back to the late 1800s, is represented. 

The SHF gallery has been missing one of its most significant pieces for several months now. The board that once belonged to Duke Kahanamoku, who's known as "the father of modern surfing," was out of service while being restored by Ardenia Capannelli, a Newport Beach fine-art conserver.

The board has a painting of a Hawaiian tribal chief on its deck and is said to be SHF's "most historic and most valuable," according to the gallery's curator, Barry Hahn.

The board dates back to the early part of the 20th century (or quite possibly earlier), and in recent months, the varnish over the mural of the chief was beginning to seperate from the board, and the painting was chipping. The painting had also begun to yellow. Capannelli was able to fill in the chips and restore the entire painting, making for a much more vibrant image. 

The 11-foot, 6-inch wood-and-balsa board was purchased by Dick Metz, the founder of SHF, from the Kahanamoku Family and foundation in 1970. It has been on display at the gallery since it opened. 

Hahn expects the board will go back on display in the coming months. 


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