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
"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 theHoag 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."
IF YOU DO
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 ticketsInformation: (714) 337-9176