Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Post 3 Susie Beame -Is There Such Thing As a Surfing Tattoo?

Is there such thing as a surfing tattoo?  Surfing and tattoos do go hand in hand, you see surfers with tattoos almost every time you hit the beach. But it is hard to pin down a certain tattoo style, shape or motive that could be called a surfing tattoo.

Of course there are wave tattoos, dolphin tattoos, then various tribal tattoos, anything related to Hawaii, anything a bit more spiritual or just plain and simple words that represent the essence of surfing, words that represent your feelings towards surfing. Then you have tattoos that represent localism - tattoos of surfing "tribes" and brotherhoods . Then you have tattoos that are made their way to T-Shirts and boardshorts and other surf wear. 

Brotherhoods & Tribes

Brothers Koby and Sunny Abberton are two of the founding members of the Bra Boys, a tribe of surfers from Sydney's Maroubra Beach. Members of the group are recognisable for their tattoos - members of the group often tattoo 'Bra Boys' and the Maroubra postcode (2035) on their back.
Sunny remembers that the group originally formed to combat violence that was taking place at the beach... "it was just a whole lot of chaos happening and there was no one there, so the only thing we could do was form together as a group, to get through it all."

Maroubra has always had something of a reputation for being a 'rough' area- Long Bay jail, a huge sewerage plant, one of the biggest youth populations and housing commission populations, one in four people earn less than $200 a week, the rubbish tip, the rifle range - "so it was almost an infrastructure that was destined to fail I think," says Sunny.

Bondi had and has a similar but smaller surfing sub-culture. Bondi was known as the sewerage beach, "The Valley" to the locals, unlike it's reputation now.  The Bondi boardriders have various tattoos also. Nothing really essentially in common, but maybe of Jimmy Hendricks, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, etc. and armbands.

Locally, there is a surfing sub-culture around Palm Beach Currumbin with similar style tattoos to the Bra boys but of their last name tattooed across their shoulder blades in the Old English style font.

You often see Billabong or other surfing brands with the actual brand name in the Old English style font and tattoo style prints on surf ware.

1 comment:

  1. interesting and insightful post. well done.