Phil Goodrich lives a life most can only dream of. The 44-year-old Florida-born artist, traveler and surfer extraordinaire recently checked-in with Slingshot from a remote bungalow compound off the coast of northwestern Indonesia, where he has been on hiatus, trading artwork for accommodations and surfing some of the best waves on the planet.
Humble and eloquent on land and a world-class shredder at sea, Goodrich has the unique talent of being able to ride barrels like a grand master, then return to the beach and paint his perspective in exquisitely colorful detail. Although it’s often on a shoestring budget, he has traveled the world many times over thanks to this cycle – surf trips funded by his artwork, inspired by his surfing, and so on.
“Tomorrow I will wake up early and hopefully get barreled on my birthday,” Goodrich wrote this April, a day before his 44th birthday, from a rustic Sumatran resort called Surfing Village. “The future I hope involves more of the same: surf, travel, paint, spend time with my beautiful wife and three dogs. Sell more art. Stay positive and never get jaded.”
Goodrich is a trained artist with a degree in Studio Art from Point Loma University in San Diego. He began his career focusing on portraits, mainly of women and blues musicians, but eventually discovered he had a knack for surf-centric art, which he also discovered appealed to a larger audience and sold better than portraits.
As his style evolved and demand for his work grew, Goodrich was able to travel more and more in search of the world’s best breaks, and inspiration for his next paintings. Of all the places Goodrich has traveled, he says Indonesia holds a special place in his heart, both for the quality of the waves and for the inspiration he gets from the landscape and culture.
“I started to travel to third world countries with great waves because it was affordable, but then I started to appreciate the beauty found within their cultures,” he said in a 2013 interview. “My art is an expression of what I find to be beautiful, but it has also become a form of currency to fund my traveling to surf spots. I have traded huge bodies of work to various resorts in many countries.”
On a surf trip a few years ago, Goodrich traveled to Indonesia armed with several boards, including a kite-specific surfboard made by Slingshot Sports, which he had never used before.
“My childhood friend Mark Puchaty (we grew up on the same street in Florida) was close friends with Tony Logosz,” Goodrich explained. “Mark had a stack of boards at his house, and the bamboo design intrigued me. I asked him how they rode and he said try one out, take it to Indo. I took a 6’1″ and it became a go-to board for that trip.”
Although short and light to appeal to kitesurfing, Slingshot’s boards are designed and built with the same core principals as standard surfboards. As a renowned barrel rider, the Slingshot board Goodrich used in Indonesia worked perfectly for his deep-in-the-pit style, and it held up far better than other boards that ended up broken on the same trip.
“A photographer I was shooting with captured some nice images (of me on that board),” he said. “He submitted them to Surfline and The Surfer’s Path. Both published them, so the photographer forwarded the photos to Tony.”
“I saw the cover of the magazine and said hey, that’s one of our boards,” Logosz said. “I knew there were only two like it out there and I had the other one, so I called up Mark and asked him about it. Mark said he loaned it to his friend, who happened to be one of the best barrel surfers out there. Phil isn’t the kind of surfer who does what he does for attention, so most people have probably never heard of him. He does it for himself and the enormous joy you get when you connect with the ocean on that level.”
That same sense of introspection-in-action drives Goodrich’s art process.
“When I push the limits of my physical body, it releases my mind to relive incredible moments of my life,” he said in a 2012 interview. “As I stand and draw, these memories guide my hand and I begin to groove and flow.”
Goodrich often paints on wood, integrating the natural lines, textures and contours of the medium into his subjects. As a longtime designer, board shaper and inventor, Logosz was immediately drawn to his artistic style. Goodrich started surfing with different Slingshot boards, testing out different shapes and designs to see which ones worked best with for his specific demands.
“Tony seemed stoked and sent me some more shapes to test,” he said. “Every board worked great.”
“I really liked his style, and he liked our boards, so we said hey, how can we work together,” Logosz said. “Featuring his artwork on our boards seemed like a natural fit.”
“I usually paint musicians or women on the nose portion of boards that I like,” Goodrich explained. “I use oil paint right onto the glass and then spray with clear acrylic. Slingshot is the first and only board company that has used my art. I love seeing my work on their boards; it’s a great honor.”
Goodrich’s art was first featured on Slingshot’s 2014 lineup of kitesurf boards. He created four custom designs for the project, which blended beautifully with the clean and classic look of Slingshot’s glossy bamboo veneer boards. Last year the collaboration continued with Slingshot choosing a variety of Goodrich’s favorite works and creating different collages for its 2015 lineup.
Although he has yet to learn to kiteboard, Goodrich says he’s stoked to have his work cross over to a different discipline of surfing.
“It’s fine with me,” he said. “Kitesurfing amazes me, so if they are stoked on my art then I’m over the moon. Slingshot’s shapes push the boundaries of what is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes of surfers. For me, the boards also push possibilities of riding shorter shapes in hollow conditions.”
About learning to kitesurf, he says “I’m worried that 44 is too old to learn new sports. But if I meet up with Tony he has promised to show me the ropes.”
Article by: Adam Lapierre
Check out Phil’s board designs here: https://www.slingshotsports.com/Surfboards