Sun sets on 1000 Surfboard Graveyard

It was a big moment for Minnamurra artist Chris Anderson when his long-awaited art installation, 1000 Surfboard Graveyard, started taking shape on the sands of Garie Beach on Saturday morning.

But it was when the sun went down that the experience became truly special, almost spiritual. 

Mr Anderson, a surfer, spent 2 years collecting the broken boards of friends and strangers. At dawn on Saturday, he and his father, Ron, crammed all the pieces into a three-tonne truck and headed for the Royal National Park beach.

Throughout the day, friends and supporters helped part-bury the boards – headstone style – until a massive, haunting installation stood in tribute to the tragedy of a broken board – cherished, full of stories and suddenly rendered useless. 

The installation was a logistical feat for Mr Anderson, but he took a moment around nightfall to stop and enjoy what he had created.

The reflection of light from small candles at the base of each board grew stronger as the sky grew blacker.

‘‘People were having a picnic and just enjoying the moment. When it got dark the boards started to slowly light up. It was just sensational. Even in the photos you can’t really convey that experience.’’

Mr Anderson slept in his car at the beach and woke to see the morning light creating a whole new spectacle. 

‘‘The light changing over the whole thing was just spectacular,’’ he said. 

The boards were installed with the permission of authorities but were removed by Mr Anderson, as agreed, late on Sunday. 

Mr Anderson, who hoped the work would draw attention to the quantity of waste being sent to landfill, has salvaged foam from many boards for use in his handplane-making business, Ecto Handplanes.  A set designer has taken 100 of the boards for an coming play in Sydney. 

Mr Anderson has re-purposed another 200 for use in the surf art exhibition now at Wollongong Gallery, Green Cathedral.

‘‘They’ve been skewered into a four-metre stack, like a kebab,’’ Mr Anderson said.  ‘‘Those same 200 will probably be re-used again to create another surfboard graveyard for Sculpture by the Sea in Perth, so the boards are really doing the rounds.’’ 

See more of Ben Marell's photography here.

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