Still beautiful, even at the rim of seventy!
Mark Cunningham, you know. Described by Warshaw as being “amphibious” and “unchallenged as the world’s best bodysurfer from the mid-1970s to the early ’90”, winner of the first two Pipeline bodysurfing contests etc.
Now, in an interviewee with Outrigger magazine, a promotional arm of the famous hotel chain, the former North Shore lifeguard, a well preserved man at the rim of seventy and mentor to John John Florence, has been described as a “surfing-legend-cum-artist.”
See, when he retired from lifeguarding after thirty years in the game in 2005, Cunningham switched gears to art.
Cunningham’s more recent adventures-at-sea illustrate this deep-rooted passion — literally. He now hunts for what lies beneath the waves, searching the surf for lost treasures like board fins, sunglasses, and even designer watches. Cunningham stores this menagerie of long-forgotten items at his garage-turned-art studio in Kāhala, where he assembles them into three-dimensional sculptures. Through his art, he seeks out each object’s hidden story and honors how they’ve been shaped by the passage of time.
But just like his surfing glory, Cunningham is reluctant to claim a title as an artist. “Mother Nature is the real artist,” he tells Flux Hawaii Magazine. “I’m just putting it all together for everyone to see.
Gallery owners, critics, and art lovers seem to disagree. Cunningham’s sculptures have been on display in galleries from New York to San Francisco and even featured on the TV series Hawaii Five-O.
Getting Stoked in Waikiki
What’s up next for Mark Cunningham? We’re beyond proud to invite this local surfing legend-cum-artist to join our Surfers in Residence program. As the birthplace of modern surfing, there’s no better spot for Cunningham to share his deep love for the sea with wave-chasing travelers from around the world than Waikiki Beach.
A man impossible not to love.