Artist Cher Pendarvis flares with original girl-school cool
Liquid Salt Drops in With Surfing Pioneer and Artist Cher Pendarvis
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 22 June, 2012 : - - Cher Pendarvis is the living embodiment of more recent surfing history than can be squeezed into one interview. She has shaped boards, foiled fins, competed in the first professional women’s tour, and been one of the first surfers to ride a fish. We talked to her about her life as a surfer and artist.
What was your life like growing up?
My family lived in San Francisco when I was born. My mom was an artist who always sought out beautiful places. Then, when I was about five years old, Mom and I moved to the South Shore of Oahu, as my father (a Navy officer) was deployed on a ship in the Eastern Pacific. Living in Honolulu in the 1950s was beautiful and sweet, a highlight of my young life, and this is where I first saw surfing. I was mesmerized by the grace of the surfers as they glided toward shore singly or sharing waves together.
Travels took us to the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, and then eventually back to San Diego, California. My parents divorced and my mom remarried. Life became hard for my mom and me when my stepfather (another Navy officer) came into the house. We continued to move, this time for a short time in Newfoundland and then to Florida for a few years. My father stayed in San Diego, but was out of contact. My mom and I longed to come back to San Diego, as we loved the dynamic landscape and the Pacific Ocean.
Cher was part of the Fish development in the early '70s
Surfing is something you were determined to do whether you had permission to do it or not. Why do you think you were ready to figuratively go to battle in order to be able to surf?
Surfing is beauty, oneness with nature…the blessing of riding moving energy on the ocean…freedom, inspiration, and creativity . My stepfather had grown up in the Depression and he did not approve of the bohemian life of many surfers. He was determined that there would be no surfing: “No daughter of mine is going to surf!” I think he was threatened by a kind of joy and freedom that he did not understand. There was alcohol and violence in the home. I kept my head down, studied hard at school, and escaped to friends’ homes when possible.
Mom dreamt to surf too and we quietly talked about the beauty of the waves. After school, I loved to ride my bike to the beach to watch the surfers. In 1964, she and I were at the beach on Easter weekend. I was 13. After asking permission, I borrowed the lifeguard’s paddleboard and rode my first wave standing. From that day on, I mustered up courage to ask to borrow boards when people were finished surfing. I learned to surf on my own by watching others.
When did you get your first surfboard?
In the summer of 1966, I helped out at a surf shop — patching dings — and earned $45 to pay for an old 9’7″ that had been broken in half and repaired. It was heavy in the tail and I thought the added weight helped me get longer noserides! This board weighed about 30 pounds, and I walked about three miles to the beach carrying it in all kinds of weather.
“Downstream Weather” by Cher Pendarvis
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
The incredible free feeling of riding moving energy swept me away! A wave is energy made visible! Riding waves was a dream come true as I had longed to surf for years.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young woman?
The people I looked up to were my mother and teachers who were encouraging and kind at school. Mom was a talented artist, free spirit, and entrepreneurially minded businesswoman.
The first photos that I saw of surfing women in 1960s publications were of Shelley Merrick, Linda Benson, and Joey Hamasaki, I was so stoked. At Ocean Beach in the late 60s, I met Judy Dibble and Joyce Hoffman, who lived in OB at the time. It was inspiring to see them out surfing. I am also inspired by special men that we’ve surfed with since the 1960s, including Thomas Threinen, Skip Frye, Ricky Ryan, Steve Lis, Jeff Ching, Larry Gephart, John Brockway, Bunker Spreckels, Ben Ferris, Larry Duff, Jon Riddle, Steve Pendarvis, and others.
Read the full article by Mary Mills at Adventure Journal
Source: Adventure Journal
Author: Mary Mills / Liquid Salt
Tags: Cher Pendarvis, Steve Pendarvis, San Diego, Surfboard Building, Art, Culture
Surf Art: Surfersvillage