Shaped to Ride – Designed to Display
“We are absolutely thrilled with our decorative surfboard, Refraction. It is a beautiful representation of the natural elements in our region and is a stunning focal point of our home decor. In addition, Mike considered the space where we wanted the piece and he came up with a very creative mounting solution that tied-in with the other design elements of the room.”
Barbara B. Olympia, WA
Surfboard, Refraction, installed at the client’s home.
“As a woodworker, surfer, surfboard shaper, and artist, Michael not only understands the ocean’s rhythm, a board’s feel, and how it complements nature and intention, but whose appreciation of the wood’s grain, texture, and malleability allows for the creation of something truly spectacular.”
Nicole B. San Diego, CA
A Few Words from The Artist on Artistic Inspiration
I tend to migrate towards the surfboard shapes that I most enjoy riding such as Bonzers, Stings, and classic guns.
And my surfboards don’t just “look like” you could take them off the wall and ride them, you actually can!
Since my work is about creating fine art – not about production – I get to spend “quality time” with each project. I listen to what the wood has to say. I enjoy discovering more about the life experiences of the tree from which the lumber originated, or how the dimensional lumber was originally milled or used. Inspiration can come from many sources.
Wood. Including, but not limited to, walnut, maple, curly redwood, padauk, poplar, pine, butternut, balsa, koa, teak, wenge, mahogany, flame redwood, paulownia, basswood, salvaged mango wood flooring, old-growth redwood reclaimed from decommissioned wine tanks, oak staves and cask heads previously used for aging whiskey or rum, twisted and gnarly dimensional lumber unfit for construction and destined for landfills, etc. As you can probably surmise, I’ll experiment with just about any kind of wood.
Occasionally, I will inlay turquoise stone, abalone, mother of pearl, or a single seashell as a decorative touch.
For the finish, I’ll use the finish best suited for the type of wood used in the piece. I most often will choose between one of the following three finishes; a hybrid clear polyurethane finish sanded to a matte finish, a clear epoxy resin polished to a semi-gloss shine, or traditional fiberglass cloth and resin polished to a high-gloss shine.
I’ve listed the specific elements (lumber species, stone, shell, finish, etc.) used for each individual surfboard on its accompanying web page.
To ensure the highest quality, I handcraft and shape my surfboards with proper rocker, dome, full-body rails, and tailblocks. These are not flat panels cut into the shape of a surfboard, nor is my art ever used as tables, bar tops, or for commercial signage.
All of my decorative surfboards are custom built using the “Strip-Build” technique along with my proprietary system of steaming, bending, strapping, clamping, glue-up, and multiple stages of rough sanding through finish sanding. The strip-build technique involves placing a single and very thin strip of wood over the top of a hollow wood frame. One strip of wood at a time. Similar to the internal construction of an airplane wing in which the center spar and ribs provide both shape and strength without adding weight. Also similar to how wooden boat hulls were handcrafted in the past.
Most of my surfboards include glassed-on fins. However, some do not because many of my clients are now requesting ‘finless’ surfboards in order to more easily mount my art against a wall without having to make mounting adjustments for fins.
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about my decorative surfboards:
Can I hang or wall-mount your surfboards as art for home decor?
Yes. The majority of my clients and collectors display my work as art.
Do you make tables, countertops, bar tops, or wood signs?
I don’t and I’m happy to refer you to a few different places that have this kind of production line, faster turnaround time, and lower price points, etc. My focus is one-of-a-kind original fine art and each piece takes approximately two to four months to complete.
Do you apply paint, tinted stain, veneer, laminates, or wraps to get all of those colors and designs?
Never. All color comes naturally from within the wood. The designs are created with hundreds of small strips of different types of wood. On occasion, I’ll inlay turquoise stone, abalone, mother of pearl, or small seashells as decorative elements.
Some other people just wrap a large photograph around a foam surfboard and call it “art”. Do you ever do that?
No. As far as I’m concerned, wrapping a pretty picture around something shapely does not qualify as original fine art. My clients appreciate the true artistry and master craftsmanship required for every one of my original works. Additionally, my clients can rest assured that they won’t see another like theirs anywhere else in the world. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, totally custom, and classified as original fine art.
Have you ever built your decorative surfboards from computer-aided-drafting software programs or any of those D.I.Y. kits?
No. Here is more information on my artistic process. You’ll see why it is impossible to use a kit to create my art. I’ve heard about the C.A.D. programs and types of computerized machinery that boost production, but my art isn’t about production. There are plenty of other places where people can buy production pieces. That’s not what I do. I create art. And artists are remembered and appreciated for the works created – not how much time goes into each piece or how many units were produced.
What is inside? Are your surfboards solid wood core, foam core, or hollow core?
Hollow. All are strip-built over an internal hollow wood frame – similar to the internal construction of an airplane wing or wooden boat hull. The wood spine and ribs provide shape, flexibility, and strength without adding weight.
Can I take your surfboards for a ride on the water?
Providing you hire a qualified professional to install a vent and fill the very small holes I’ve drilled to help regulate internal air pressure changes. It is important to work only with qualified professionals who are experienced in the art and science of resins. Most clients consider my work as art and choose only to display it as such.
I want to buy an original Michael Rumsey work of art. How much do your boards cost, how much do they weigh, and can they ship directly to my home or office?
There are many variables that go into the pricing of each original work of art. Although these do not weigh as much as most people assume, they do all vary in weight, but usually between 15lbs to 30lbs. The shipping fees vary based on the dimensions and weight of the item being shipped and the destination. If your destination is within my delivery area, I offer free delivery. If not, I’ve shipped my artwork to just about every corner of the U.S. and also to Canada.