Photocloth turns surfboards into art

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SAN DIEGO – The bond between a surfer and his or her favorite board could get even stronger now that an Encinitas man developed a way to turn an ordinary surfboard, into an extraordinary work of art.

Jerry Anderson, an active surfer, developed the HG Photocloth that allows him to print a high-resolution image that later gets adhered to surfboards.

“There are other companies, but they can’t get the resolution and the detail that I do,” said Anderson of Headline Graphics.

Anderson’s prized products include short boards with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, which appeared in February’s Swimsuit Issue; a longboard that looks like it’s made of balsa wood and a longboard commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks from 9/11, with names of fire fighters who lost their lives.

“Jerry had showed (the 9/11 board) to me and when I first saw it, it was unbelievable,” ” said surfer and firefighter Brennan Savage. “I got so emotional, I dropped to my knees and got very chocked up when I first saw it.”

About two years ago, Anderson came up with the method that allows him to print a high-resolution image. The cloth then goes to a surfboard shaper who adheres the cloth to a board.

“Once it wets itself, it hardens and works almost like another layer of fiberglass,” said surfboard shaper Marcio Zouvi of Sharp Eye Surfboards in San Diego. “So the boards that have this applied on, they don’t dent as easy.  The surface is harder.  The board lasts a little longer.”

Anderson said the best thing about the HG Photocloth is he can put anything on a surfboard. For instance, if you take a picture with your friends and you want to mount that on a board, he can do that.

“There’s nothing I can’t do,” Andreson said. “It’s endless.”

Surfers shouldn’t worry about using these boards because Anderson guarantees the images for life – almost.

“It’s a 100-year life on the inks I use,” Anderson said.  “Honestly, it’s a 100-year life on the cycle that’s within the sun.  So, I have boards that people ride daily they’re out there and they look and they’ve got them two years ago and they’ll ride them and they still look as good as when they first picked them up new.”

A longboard Photocloth sells for $100, plus the cost of the board, short-board Photocloths go for between $60 to $80. Some surfers believe it’s a small price to pay to have a lasting image on the water.

“I love this board,” said surfer Keri Endich. “It’s awesome.”

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