Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cher Pendarvis: Part Three

1969-70, shaped by Tom Threinen, with glassing help by Cher. The 5'8" Arch Tail Twinny preceded Cher's first fish.
Photo by Tom Threinen

What an amazing time that must have been for you, experimenting like that and surfing with all of those greats. Can you tell us a little about working for Surfing Magazine? What did you do there?

When I worked at Surfing, it was a bi-monthly and I was the only woman on staff for quite awhile until they hired a receptionist. The staff at the time was about 5 people then it grew. I was an Art Associate and became an Advertising Designer; this was in the late mid-late 1970s.

How many surfboards do you suppose you've had, Cher? What is your current favorite?

I worked on surfboards in Ocean Beach in the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. In 1974, our friend Mike Casey was head shaper at Channin, and he introduced me to Tony Channin and Mike Diffenderfer. Channin has always been known for their quality and precision. Tony sponsored my surfboards for more than 15 years, and he commissioned me to design logos for his brands and also had me work part time at the factory if I needed more freelance work.

7'1" swallow tail shaped by Mike Casey; Channin built it for Cher's first surfing trip to Oahu to visit Rell in 1976. Shaun Tomson gave Cher hints on the design for tube riding - and she still has this board.
Photo by Tom Threinen

This was a creative time, and Mike and I worked on designing boards. It was an honor to work with Tony Channin and the crew. Mike Casey moved to Hawaii in 1978 and we continued to work together, and I rode his boards until Steve began shaping my boards.

Looking back and doing some counting, I think I've had more than 150 boards. It's been very fun, and an honor to ride each and every one. I still have some favorite boards that date back as far as 1970.

Currently my favorites are:

- Juvenile Garribaldi, 5'10 old school keel fin fish
- Frisky, 6'2 EPS quad swallowtail
- Queen Angelfish 4, 6'4 twinnie with trailer
- Kelp Slipper, 6'7 high aspect twin fin for heavier water
- Firecracker, 5'4 chambered balsa fish
- Leopard Spots, 6'10 chambered balsa high aspect fish
- Mother Garribaldi, 6'9 Skip Frye fish

I love how you name all of your boards. What is your current homebreak?

Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach (Southern California).

Your husband Steve Pendarvis, is a well known shaper. Can you tell me what defines a Pendoflex board?

A Pendoflex has a high speed torque tail design that Steve shapes into the board. After glassing it, he finishes it with a light foam decking. The Pendoflex allows you to subtly change the rocker of the board to get more speed out of your turns. Steve's Pendoflex design also helps the board to subtly conform to the wave face and tap more of the available energy.

1999 Pro Masters, riding Angelfish 3, PendoFlex, built by Steve
Photo by Jim Pigeon

Did you meet Steve while surfing?

Yes, Steve and I first met while surfing at the Cliffs, as acquaintances. Many years later, our close friend Janine formally introduced us, and we are very grateful to her.

What are you working on right now that you are most excited about?

Oh, I'm grateful to say it's many things. Being a self-employed artist, it helps to have a broad base of work that can be done. Right now, I'm working on a new edition of The Painter Wow! Book, which is an educational book which combines art and technology.

During the past 4 years, I've been working on and off as a producer on an independent documentary film, and my work included researching, organizing and conducting more than 20 interviews, and contributing photography among other things, for the project. It was an honor and labor of love to do the interviews and other work and hopefully the project will be completed someday.

Right now, I'm working on a painting commission of some Ginger flowers for a client, and helping Steve with his surfboard business. And a favorite on-going photography series involves photographs of surfing people and scenes. Steve and I are grateful to do creative work and we love the work we are blessed to do.

Cher, in all the riding you have done, is there one wave that is more memorable than others?

Thank you. Two waves, one was at Sunset on the North Shore, off the point in the Spring of 1982, the waves were about 6-7 feet. I got a long wave that had an incredible barrel so wide and dry that you could stick out your arm, out and not touch the waterfall. It was long and fast and so wonderful to emerge from the dry barrel.

The second wave was after Rell passed away in 1998. Rell used to say, "The ocean is the blood of the Earth and it keeps us connected, So if she was in Makaha and I was surfing the Cliffs, we were still surfing together."

I was surfing alone at my favorite reef in the spring after she passed away and riding an old Lis fish for fun. I felt her on the little board with me, and when I hopped near the nose to trim on the inside section, I felt her come through my heart and ride the wave with me to the beach. It was so wonderful and thrilling to share, and after that I floated on my board in the tidepool and cried happy tears, but missing our dear friend so much.

That is incredibly beautiful, thank you for sharing that. As our last question, I’d like to ask what advice would you give to a girl today, who wants to learn to surf?

If you have friends that surf, ask them if you can come along and watch and when you're comfortable, ask if you can try a board. You may even ask for some pointers. It's important to learn how to swim first, if you don't know how already. And nowadays there are classes and surf clubs in many junior high schools and high schools. YMCA's close to the coast offer surfing classes and camps.

I would love to encourage young women with the ocean to stick with surfing if they are inspired.

Cher with her new, 6'7" high aspect twin fish
photo by Steve Pendarvis

Thank you, Cher! This has been an absolute honor. You embody the spirit of aloha and are an inspiration to so many.

Cher is in the the current issue (Vol 18, No. 6) of The Surfer's Journal, where she penned an article on Walter Munk (pg. 92).


Glenn said...

An absolutely beautiful interview with a beautiful lady. Thank you.

Surfsister said...

She is incredible. And, unfortunately, it just goes to show you how much women are overlooked by our sport. We should all know about Cher and the woman like her who literally blazed the trail for the rest of us. Thank you again, Jamie, for the interview with Cher.

lee said...

really nice interview loved it

Jessica Nichols said...

Again kudos on another excellent interview! I really love how it ended with the questions about memorable waves and advice for girls who want to learn to surf. I especially liked that one. Jamie, may I come watch you & Jay surf sometime?

Danimal said...

Great interview Jamie! Keep 'em coming! said...

Ciao from Italy

Jenny said...

Hey Jamie! I came across your site while working on my dad's blog. Love it! Keep up the good work and the interview with Cher was great!!

Beetlejuice said...

great stuff!

Erik Hakon Olson (EHO) said...

Just discovered this series of interviews. Really enjoyed these. Thanks for sharing.

RMcKnee said...

Thanks for these three interviews, really good work. Cher is a beautiful person with some beautiful stories to tell. I enjoyed the few here immensely. Cher, you're an inspiration, much aloha to you and Steve. Long may both of you ride.