More than snowboarding, skateboarding, rock climbing or any other extreme pursuit, surfing occupies a niche in our cultural psyche that extends far beyond its participants. It’s thanks to the blissful naiveté of Spicoli, and the no-holds-barred attitude of Bodhi, not to mention the marketing efforts of a multi-billion dollar industry, that surfing has achieved a romanticism that makes living in a van by the beach not just admirable, but aspirational.
Matt Titone’s new book, Surf Shacks Vol. 2, manages to simultaneously reinforce and defy surfing’s engrained ideals. Its 200-plus pages provide momentary views inside the homes of figures well-known and obscure who both shape and are shaped by wave-riding culture. Some exude cohesion in their construction, as if made for the pages of interior design magazines, while others unabashedly bear the charm of their mess.
The very existence of these homes challenges the image of the board-toting vagabond, and Titone is clear-eyed about that: “While I chase waves where and when I can, the truth is I spend most of my days at the studio in front of a computer screen,” he writes in the book’s introduction. It’s not hard to imagine that many of the occupants of these so-called shacks might echo that sentiment. Nevertheless, there’s something mystically inspiring about putting up walls and filling them with ephemera, whether the view beyond them includes an ocean horizon or not.
Jeff & Kara Johnson — Santa Barbara, California
There’s a lot to be jealous of at the Johnson’s refurbished California A-frame. Jeff attributes the interior to Kara, and it’s plain that the natural playground outside, which includes rope swings and a wall for bouldering, comes from Jeff, who spends much of his time photographing and storytelling for brands like Patagonia and Roark Revival.
Taro Tamai — Hokkaido, Japan
Taro Tamai‘s twin passions of surfing and snowboarding forced him to find a place where both are within reach. There are traces of both activities scattered throughout Tamai’s abode, which includes an indoor climbing wall and is situated above the workshop where he makes surfboard-like snowboards for his brand, Gentemstick.
Cole Barash — Cape Cod, Massachusetts
New England might be an unlikely home for a surfer, but it’s called back to photographer Cole Barash since he visited with his family as a teenager. An oversized window that functions like a garage door is a central component of a room that doubles as his studio, providing proximity to the elements outside. And in Cape Cod, embracing them is required: “If it’s freezing rain, or snowing, or blowing hard out of the northeast, you kinda just suck it up and go,” says Barash.
Lyndsey Lee & Marc Faulkner — Portland, Oregon
Before it was an apartment complex, Lyndsey Lee and Marc Faulkner’s home in Portland was a masonic temple, and before that, it was a factory warehouse. Without that history, the space probably wouldn’t have ceilings high enough to keep a stack of longboards upright in the corner. Outside the apartment, Lee worked to foster Portland’s urban surf scene at her shop, Leeward Surf.
Tatiana Barhar & Carlos Zubiet — Venice, California
If Tatiana Barhar and Carlos Zubiet’s Venice home blends into its surrounding community, that’s partially because the pair has designed both. The couple has worked on stores and houses in Venice and beyond and collaborated to make the space where they currently dwell (living in an Airstream trailer in the yard as it happened).
Charles Adler — Long Beach, California
Charles Adler is a surf industry veteran, working as a graphic designer, curator, historian, retail designer and art director. Perhaps it’s that variety, plus the common artistic thread that ties each role to the other, that lets surf photos, ukuleles, pinecones, a Buddha statue and a whale vertebrae function as unified design elements of a single room.
Scott Richards — Newport Beach, California
That Scott Richards’ Newport Beach flag-making studio occupies a loft formerly used for sail manufacturing is part coincidence. But the air of nostalgia that fills it is all Richards, whose retro surf flags are as equally influenced by his Detroit upbringing as they are by beach culture. They aren’t the only items that cover the studio’s walls, though; books, posters, trophies, skateboard decks and an eclectic collection of other items occupy any leftover gaps.
Geoff McFetridge — Los Angeles, California
Whether you’ve recognized it or not, you’ve seen Geoff McFetridge’s work. His designs have appeared in The New York Times and Target advertisements, and brands like Nike and Patagonia have contracted him to enliven their products. But you’ve never seen the inside of his 1950s LA home, which is perhaps best encapsulated by the long and very retro kitchen.
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