Tag Archives: surfboards

Classical guitar concert series comes to Payson’s Surfboard Room

“Welcome to our boardroom,” remarked Mark Roosa, Pepperdine University’s Dean of Libraries, in reference to the thirty-odd surfboards that lined the walls of the chapel-like space in Payson Library that would serve as recital hall for the evening. Dean Roosa was introducing renowned classical guitarist Christopher Parkening, whose students would be performing for this, the first in a series of Guitar Program concerts held the second Tuesday of every month in the Surfboard Room of Payson Library.

Maestro Parkening, who serves as Distinguished Professor of Music at Pepperdine University, set the tone for the evening by showing a short film about his guitar teacher, the great Andrés Segovia. In addition to introducing the themes of pedagogy, legacy, and musical inheritance, the film demonstrated how Maestro Segovia was a pivotal figure in elevating the status of the guitar, earning its place on the stage and in the classical repertoire.

Following the film, eight of Maestro Parkening’s students performed in succession, each framed by the colonnade-like rows of surfboards composing the John Mazza Historic Surfboard collection. It’s hard to say what role the surfboards played in the surprisingly pleasing acoustics of the room—both intimate and expansive—that served the guitarists so well. The repertoire ranged from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first, and was well received by the near capacity audience. The concert concluded with four guitarist performing Pachelbel’s “Loose Canon,” a humorous take on that famous (and overplayed) Baroque canon by Johann Pachelbel as arranged by the Los Angeles String Quartet. The familiar tune made its way on an unexpected journey of musical styles, including reggae, bluegrass, flamenco, and even punk.

The students in performance included Sergio Gallardo, Joshua Ivy, Roberto Hermosillo, Brig Urias, Sebastian Olarte, Joseph Peliska, Alexander Park, and Kevin Enstrom. The photo above by Patrick Park shows Sergio Gallardo beginning the concert with Saudade No. 3 by French composer Roland Dyens.

The next concert in the series will be Tuesday, October 8, at 5 pm.  Once again in the Surfboard Room on the second floor of Payson Library.


Guitarists warm up in the Special Collections Reading Room adjacent to the Surfboard Room in Payson Library





4th and 5th Graders Visit Payson Library

On March 12, 2013, twenty-six 4th and 5th grade students from Open Classroom Leadership Magnet in Thousand Oaks, CA visited Pepperdine University. During their tour of the campus, they stopped by Payson Library to look at the exhibit “Becoming America: An Exhibition of Colonial Documents” on display through the end of March. The students were able to connect what they learned in the classroom with the materials on display.

Katie Richardson, Archivist for Special Collections and University Archives had the following to say about the tour: “It was great to show the students the materials and see a few of them get excited about what was on display. We have a document with King George III’s signature on it. One student came up to me and asked, ‘Is that really his signature?’ At which point I responded yes. Her eyes lit up and she said ‘Cool!’  I’m so happy some of the students were really able to connect with the materials.”

The students also had the opportunity to tour the surfboard room. The room includes 30 historic surfboards on loan from local Malibu resident John Mazza.

“I think the students were really excited about seeing the surfboards. They asked some really great questions. How old are the boards? Why are they so big? How did they get their names? My favorite question was from a student who asked, ‘Are any of the boards based on Harry Potter?’ When I told her the boards were older than Harry Potter she seemed pretty impressed.”


For more information about exhibits or tours of the library please contact Katie Richardson at katie.richardson@pepperdine.edu or Ken LaZebnik at ken.lazebnik@pepperdine.edu.

Payson Library’s Surfboard on Display at Huntingon

The Huntington Library’s current exhibit, “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California,” includes a surprising element: a surfboard from Pepperdine’s own surfboard collection! This particular surfboard (pictured at left) represents the intersection between the development of surfboard technology and aircraft engineering in Southern California. The board was designed by Bob Simmons, a California surfer in the 1930s to 1950s who studied at the California Institute of Technology and worked as an engineer at Douglas Aircraft. Simmons experimented with both shape and materials in his surfboard design, based on his knowledge of engineering principles and newly developed aircraft materials. His innovation had significant impact on surfboard production and the surfing world.

Check out this short YouTube video for talk by the exhibit curator, Peter Westwick, which includes a glimpse of Pepperdine’s surfboard in the exhibit and more explanation about the connection between surfing and aerospace. If you haven’t seen the exhibit at the Huntington, there is still time to do so. The exhibit closes on January 9th, 2012. More information about the exhibit can be found on the Huntington Library website.

The Bob Simmons board that is on display at the Huntington is from the John Mazza Collection of Historic Surfboards, a collection that is on long-term loan to Pepperdine University Libraries and can be viewed in Payson Library (pictured at right). If you would like to see the collection, please contact Melissa Nykanen at melissa.nykanen@pepperdine.edu or at (310) 506-4434. The surfboards, including the Simmons board, have also been photographed and described and can be found in the Pepperdine Digital Collections.

Gidget’s surfboard: Today’s featured digital object

There’s a certain corner of Payson Library, somewhere near the 19th century English literature, where the astute visitor will notice a scent in the air that seems out of place. Fiberglass and surfwax? Yes, somewhere up above in its second-floor sanctuary resides the John Mazza Collection of Historic Surfboards, a secret room populated by over thirty surfboards, the earliest of which are nearly 100 years old. A part of our Special Collections and University Archives’ Malibu Historical Collection, the surfboard display represents part of the cultural legacy of that famous coastal community.

Although the “surfboard room” (as it is informally known) can only be accessed during special occasions, you can see all of these surfboards up-close and from multiple angles in our John Mazza Historic Surfboard Collection online. One of these boards—born of balsa wood in 1951, standing 9 feet, 4 inches tall—found fame when Hollywood discovered surf culture. It’s none other than Gidget’s surfboard.

Originally a novel about his daughter’s coming-of-age in the Malibu surf, Frederick Kohner’s Gidget would do as much as the Beach Boys to popularize surfing. Picked up by Columbia Pictures in 1959, Gidget became Hollywood’s first surf film and many sequels followed, including a short-lived television series on ABC starring a young Sally Field. This surfboard was originally shaped by celebrated Southern California board-maker Dale Velzy as one of his “rope logo” balsa boards. In 1964, the board found its way onto the set of the surf film Ride the Wild Surf, where it received four coats of paint, a logo reading “Surfboards by Phil,” and was ridden by a character named Eskimo. The next year, Sally Field used the board in the Gidget television series. Field’s autograph, along with that of Dale Velzy and Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman (aka, the “real” Gidget), is visible on the board’s deck. The original Velzy logo has been exposed at the very base of the tail.

Pepperdine Digital Collections now online

Pepperdine College CheerleaderPepperdine University Libraries announces the opening of its new online digital collections. Through the digitization and display of rare or unique materials, each extraordinary collection provides a unique perspective on the history and scholarship of Pepperdine University and the cultural legacy of Malibu.

View the Pepperdine Digital Collections here.

Inaugural collections include:

The Pepperdine Yearbook Collection: A complete and searchable collection of the Pepperdine University yearbooks through its various incarnations as a bound publication (1939-2006).

The University Archives Photograph Collection: This ever-growing collection presents high-resolution digital renditions of the thousands of photographic prints, slides and negatives that compose the Pepperdine University archival image collection, dating from its founding in 1937.

John Mazza Historic Surfboard Collection: Featuring over thirty surfboards from the personal collection of Malibu resident John Mazza, this collection represents the evolution of surfing and surfboard technology in the twentieth century. Examples range from the 1910’s to living legends; even Gidget’s surfboard is represented. Digital imagery allows the viewer to focus on various angles and aspects of each board.

The Bruce Herschensohn Collection: This expanding collection features the personal papers of this important politician, scholar, and filmmaker, including his notes, correspondence, media clippings, films, and other ephemera.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations: The ETD collection includes recent graduate level theses and dissertations from a variety of schools and programs within Pepperdine University.

Pepperdine Digital Collections are open to the public to encourage discovery and scholarship at the widest possible breadth. Furthermore, the materials that compose our digital collections are optimized for online information seeking and archived for long-term digital preservation.