A shimmering warmth radiates from the baking sand as a gentle sea breeze wafts its salty freshness together with hints of sweet coconut sunscreen. To the muffled roar of crashing surf, sunshine sparkles brilliantly off the curling waves seemingly lined up to infinity, emanating from where the deep aqua green of the sea meets the brilliant azure blue of a sky punctuated only by sea gulls racing over the roiling sea foam, and glowing cotton puffs of clouds rolling across the far horizon.
Ron Kaplan was far from any such experience that frigid night in Athens, Ohio, mere days after the Great Blizzard of 1978, as he methodically hand-screenprinted t-shirt after t-shirt upon a metal desk in an empty Ohio University dorm room. Carefully slipping a metal hanger into each so as not to smudge the images he had earlier birthed on a sketchpad, Ron would hang dozens of them mere inches apart to air-dry on clotheslines that cris-crossed overhead.
However, under the glare of a bare lightbulb shining from the ceiling, with the odor of mineral spirits barely being pushed by a rattling box fan through the screen of the small room’s lone window, with each pull of the ink-laden squeegee, the mind’s eye of the young graphic design student was obsessed with but one inspiring, hypnotizing, even comforting vision – SURF OHIO.
Little did he know his vision would go on to be embraced and shared by thousands, span generations, cross the globe, and be celebrated four decades later as a lasting icon of the beach life.
Aloha, friend – we’re glad you stopped by. Welcome to SURF OHIO, and enjoy!
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