In 2010, Santa Cruz, California-based surfer and marine biologist, Martijn Stiphout, embarked on a three- and half-month paddling trip with his father, Herman, around the Sea of Cortez in kayaks they built themselves. On deserted beaches and in isolated coves, Stiphout devoured Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez and, by the end of the trip, had decided to make building ocean-faring craft his life’s work.
Upon returning to Santa Cruz, Stiphout formed a business using reclaimed wood and materials to create some of the most beautiful and well-crafted surfboards in the world. Each board is a performance work of art.
The evolution of Stiphout’s company, known as Ventana Surfboards & Supplies, is well respected for its focus on sustainability. Working with the Western Flyer Foundation, Stiphout and his business partner, David Dennis, have been incorporating into their surfboards and other ocean-centric products white oak and Douglas fir boards removed from the Western Flyer during the renovation project, as well as Alaskan yellow cedar offcuts from the boat’s reconstruction.
Over the last several years, Ventana has been collaborating with other artists and artisans to utilize the wood and pay homage to Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, and the Western Flyer, and we’re grateful that they’ve donated some of the proceeds from their sales to the Western Flyer Foundation. Martijn is even building a dory from Western Flyer wood to retrace the boat’s 1940 route through the Sea of Cortez.
Some of our favorite Ventana products and collaborations created using Western Flyer wood are pictured above, including:
- A surfboard with a matching snowboard created in collaboration with Colorado-based businesses Haven Skis and Reason Board Co.
- Wooden portholes made with inlayed stained-glass art created by Wavehaven Glass
- Surfboard fins embellished with art from artists across the United States
- Wooden bookmarks
- Pens and pencils
- A banjolele
- Mini surfboard art pieces with frames, including a woodburning collab with Jennifer DiArenzo (read about Jennifer in our earlier artist spotlight).
Learn more about the ways Ventana has upcycled Western Flyer wood.
Contact Martijn and David with questions, to discuss custom projects, and to learn more about their incredible collaboration with the Western Flyer Foundation.