"This piece could potentially last, like, thousands of years," Alrik Yuill said with a laugh, possibly picturing the 2018 SURFER Awards Best Barrel trophy sitting on someone's mantle in the year 4237.
It's a funny thing, thinking about how the things we make today could last into eras so far ahead, we can't even begin to imagine what life—let alone surfing—will be like. For Yuill, that's part of the appeal of working with bronze and creating beautiful works of art that will outlast us all. That's also what makes the 2018 SURFER Awards trophies so special.
Yuill, an artist and shaper based in Costa Mesa, CA, has been working in bronze for years, creating abstract pieces based on the human form as well as a few stylized surf-focused sculptures. The process he uses is more or less the same as what was used in the aptly-titled Bronze Age some 3000ish years BC. With support from our friends at Vans, Yuill was able to create a series of bronze surfer figures akin the Ancient Greek "Spear-Bearer" sculpture. In Yuill's mind, the comparison highlights the challenge that the best surfers in the world greet when they enter the water to achieve truly incredible things—you know, the stuff worthy of a SURFER Award, the highest honor in surfing.
Press play on the video above to see how, exactly, these bronze surf sculptures came to be, and be sure to tune in to this year's SURFER Awards show on Thursday, December 6.