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Behind the scenes - Painting the 2015 Jimmy Buffett Surfboard

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Keeping up with Nelson isn't always the easiest thing.  When he isn't jetsetting around the world or skiing up in the mountains, he's entrenched in relaxing while painting.  Keep up with all the awesomeness going on right here.


Behind the scenes - Painting the 2015 Jimmy Buffett Surfboard

Nelson Ruger

December 14th, 2015 - We were through the crazy, holiday rush of orders, and things were just starting to slow down.  As an online art business, I've found that the first week or two after Thanksgiving is absolutely insane, then there's a lull, then it picks up again the day or so before Christmas.  So when I woke up that Monday morning I was relieved and ready to kick back a little and enjoy the holidays.

Except there was that email from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, waiting for me.

In short, they were looking for someone to paint a surfboard for Jimmy Buffett to be given to him on New Years Eve at a concert he was playing at the Barclays Center.  Once the initial shock and disbelief passed, we kicked into high gear, and after an insane nine days we shipped it out on Christmas Eve (and then they asked me to do another one for Jimmy's manager, a shorter board...but that's another story).  Did I mention I'd never painted a surfboard?  Nope.  Never. 

Let's hear it for learning on the fly.

Enjoy this little peek behind the scenes of the week before Christmas.  From early designs to Jimmy holding the final product.

We (namely me, Leigh, and Amy Wilson, who has been nothing less than amazing over the last year in every aspect of growing our business) knew we wanted to present at least a few designs to the Barclays Center.  Some of the early concept designs for the board (all art created with ArtRage on an iPad Pro) :

Once the final design was chosen (the Tiki board), I drove over to Kennedy's Surf Shop on Ventura Blvd.  Amy had actually been on the phone with them all week as we figured out which kind of board we wanted.  The folks at Kennedy's (Lee Kennedy in particular, you rock) were ridiculously helpful, and we chose a board made by The Man - Glen Kennedy - himself.  Once we got the board home, I sanded it, and used a projector to draw the image onto the board with washable markers.

By the time it was sanded down, it was Saturday morning, and it was time to get to painting.

We started to lay in final details on Monday night - logos, the design for the Polynesian sun, etc.  At this point I'm running on basically no sleep, pizza, and Mai Tais.

The board was, for the most part, finished by Tuesday night - the 22nd.  It still needed to be sealed.  I spent all day on the 23rd outside in a parking lot spraying a gloss sealer (because of the lack of time, there was no way we could get the board professionally glassed).  I started sealing at 6am, and did six coats, finally finishing around 6pm.  Not much to take pictures of there, but hey it was a pretty sunset.

Not a bad way to spend a day.

Not a bad way to spend a day.

We got it home, and let it air outside all night.  On Christmas Eve, well before dawn, we got up, drove down to Topanga Beach State Park, and Leigh, being like the best photographer ever, took a few shots of it.

After one long look at the ocean, we headed over to the UPS store, and with their expert help, we got it shipped up and enroute to the Barclays Center.  It arrived in perfect condition a few days later...



Then I went home and did this for a while.

I got this far before I enjoyed the feeling of carpet on face for a good solid hour.

I got this far before I enjoyed the feeling of carpet on face for a good solid hour.

Before I finally got up and did this.  Better late than never.  I've never had a more crazy and fun holiday in my life.

Not a bad way to spend the holidays, right?



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