The Painted Surfboard

My largest project on the road so far was also the most unexpected and spontaneous. We were visiting my sister-in-law (Barb) and Stefan’s brother (Mike)’s family in Toronto, hanging out with our 3 nieces (Ellie, Jordyn, and Brooklyn), drinking in their busy fun lives. Time was flying by, and we had only a few days left when Barb and I became inspired into home decor mode. She had been thinking a long time about surfboard art for their dining room wall nook area. They’re both from Nova Scotia and miss home often. Mike’s an avid surfer, and they both love the ocean, so it was a fitting idea. But she wasn’t sure how to go about it. I threw some ideas out there, and one of them was that we make a wooden board and I paint it. It was an ambitious idea, but she jumped on it. By the end of the day, we had the thumb’s up and a new commission!

The next day Stefan and I called around to different lumber stores. We needed to find a sheet of 8′ Baltic Birch, a beautiful quality plywood with edging perfect for detail work. With lots of dead ends to 4′ sheets, we finally found what we were looking for. As serendipity would have it, one of Mike and Barb’s neighbours was a carpenter with a shed full of tools. He had a dream garage, well organized and stocked, albeit small, with a cool vintage car rebuild project on the go. Stefan got to work on his part of the project while I helped. We cut out 2 boards, to be ready for the next surprise commission.

Vintage Car in Garage

Once the board was sanded, I took over. Barb and I had gone through several design ideas and settled on a strong blue left Indonesian wave. Over the next few days I painted layer upon layer until the wave was built up to the point that it seemed to come alive. Before I had primed and painted, I had taped off a 1″ edge. Stefan had stained it. After several coats of varnish it was ready to hang. Stefan had designed a cleat-style hanger for the back for a seamless “floating” look to finish it off. The result was gorgeous and Barb & Mike were super happy with how it turned out.

Surfboard_shaping 1

Surfboard_shaping 2

Surfboard_shaping 3

Surfboard_shaping 4

Surfboard_closeup progress 2

Working in my makeshift studio space, taking over the kids’ play room.

Surfboard_closeup progress 1

Daina with Painted Surfboard

Canadian artist Daina Scarola with her custom 6′ painted surfboard on baltic birch. To inquire about a custom board, please email

Surfboard_wall 3

Surfboard_wall 2



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