Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Much-maligned surf statue dressed by pranksters

In a new development pertaining to this earlier post on a controversial surfer statue in San Diego County, pranksters dressed the statue. See the before and after below:

Much-maligned statue dressed by pranksters
By Michael Stetz

August 7, 2007

ENCINITAS – The statue of a male surfer recently unveiled in Cardiff is having one rugged ride.

First came harsh comments.

Then, over the weekend, came the fashion makeover.

“I think it was tacky,” Jim Clark, president of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce, said of the vandalism.

Someone dressed the surfer in a pleated pink skirt, bikini top and lucha libre mask. Passers-by noticed the getup Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon, the statue was back to normal.

The $120,000 statue, “Magic Carpet Ride,” was created to celebrate Cardiff's surfing legacy. Commissioned by the Cardiff Botanical Society, the statue stands along Coast Highway 101, near Chesterfield Drive.

It has been under siege since it was unveiled July 22, with critics saying the bronze likeness of a young man surfing is too effeminate and that his body position looks comical.

Somebody tried to drive that point home over the weekend. And the job couldn't have been easy, Clark said. The statue stands 16 feet tall.

“Whoever did it had to have a ladder,” Clark said. “I'm sure somebody saw them and let them do it.”

When a photograph of the dressed-up surfer was posted on Web sites, some wondered if the vandalism could escalate. One person wrote on the Surfer Magazine Web site:

“It would be a shame for someone camping at San Elijo to go sleepwalking in the vicinity with an acetylene torch.”

Another person added: “I hear great beauty can be achieved with modern explosives.”

The artist, Matthew Antichevich, 55, of Hemet, said he is at a loss to explain the criticism.

“I'm not happy about it,” said Antichevich, a surfer himself. “I didn't expect it.”

But his confidence is not shaken.

“They don't know what they're talking about,” he said of his critics.

Surfers weren't exactly shocked that the statue got the makeover, given the angst in their ranks over its posture and physique.

“No, I'm not surprised,” said Chris Ahrens, who has written several books on surfing and lives a couple of blocks from the statue.

Ahrens doesn't have a problem with the artistry, but does take issue with the concept itself.

“It's like having a picture of the ocean at the ocean,” he said.

This isn't the first time a statue of a surfer didn't wow the surfing community.

In 1963, two local artists created an image of a surfer for Scavenger magazine, according to the book “Surfing in San Diego.” This one had a big nose and beer belly. They built a statue of its likeness and placed it at Windansea.

Two weeks later, it was “attacked, mutilated and decapitated,” according to the book.

The culprit? Legend had it that it was a Windansea surfer.

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