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Surfboards on Parade now on auction

When all is said and done, when the last exclamation of “Sold!” rings out Saturday night at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, Paul Frechette will be left with a bittersweet feeling.

The sweet part, of course, will be the conclusion of the Surfboards on Parade campaign, which aims to raise thousands of dollars for charity. The bitter part, though, will be having to part with the eight surfboards that have decorated the lobby and restaurant of the Shorebreak Hotel, where Frechette serves as general manager, since mid-August.

“We get quite a bit of notoriety for it,” he said Tuesday in the Shorebreak lobby, surrounded by mounted boards whose designs range from a portrait of professional surfer Kelly Slater to a three-dimensional shark crashing through the foam. “It’s funny because everyone has a different outlook on the boards. For example, the fun shark one over in the corner, all the kids really love it, and then there’s some of the kind of high, hip kind of style ones that we have in [the restaurant] Zimzala.
“So we get a lot of traffic, particularly on the weekends, just for people to come take a look at them and find out what they’re all about.”

Since January, Surfboards on Parade has been an ongoing exhibit across Huntington Beach, with the boards on display at hotels, the central library and elsewhere to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city’s surfing culture. (Hawaiian surfer George Freeth, who demonstrated his sport at the Huntington Beach Pier in 1914, is considered to have introduced surfing to the town that later became officially known as Surf City.)

Now, the Rotary Club of Huntington Beach, which organized Surfboards on Parade, plans to send the boards on to their new owners. Saturday at the Hilton, auctioneer Zack Krone will take the stage and solicit bids for works that feature an all-star lineup of artists and shapers: Wyland, Robert August, John Van Hamersveld, Chuck Dent, Bob “The Greek” Bolen and many others.

The 28 entries in Surfboards on Parade, each designed by a different artist-and-shaper team, come in so many sizes and dimensions that a casual onlooker might take a moment to realize the thread that unites them all. One board displays a shark emerging from the water, its mouth agape as if yawning after a hearty meal. One takes the form of a wooden Tiki sculpture. One features a mannequin of a mermaid — topless originally, and since given a bikini — riding a longboard of her own.

Kim Hamrock, the artist who worked on that surfboard, said she added the bikini upon request from the Shorebreak, where the piece occupies a window spot in the lobby. As of Tuesday, the top had gone missing, and Frechette suspected that someone had made off with it.
Still, if the board’s ultimate buyer prefers a top, Hamrock will gladly comply.
“If they request that they want one, I’ll have one available,” she said.

For all the surfboards’ variety, the organizers hope they’ll add up to one thing when they land on the auction block Saturday evening: a sizable chunk of money. The bulk of the proceeds from the event, which also includes a silent auction, dinner and live music, will benefit the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, with the remainder going to Rotary, the International Surfing Museum and the Huntington Beach Art Center.

Dori Holnagel, executive director for the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, said the funds will go toward the hospital’s recently founded melanoma program. Among the areas of need are research, staff development and a clinic for skin cancer patients.

“We have been in the process of developing it, and when they called us, it was a perfect fit,” Holnagel said. “They didn’t know that we were beginning the development. We were absolutely stunned, and when things like that happen, you know you’re doing the right thing.”


What: Night of a Million Waves Gala and Art Auction
Where: Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, 21100 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $125 general admission, $175 for VIP tickets. Information: (714) 337-9176