Surfboard art by Lance Smith

Lance smith surf art

Photo by Brent Broza (

Lance Smith began painting surfboards about six years ago at the request of the STDs’ Joey Hobi. Smith designed the STDs band’s skull-shaped logo containing the notorious punk band’s letters.

“It was black and white and everyone loved it,” he said.

With the help of Joe Bark of Bark Surfboards and shaper/glasser Dennis “McShred” McGivern, he has been painting boards ever since.

“They are my suppliers and I give them all the thanks in the world,” he said.

Photo by Brent Broza (

Smith primarily airbrushes and considers himself self-taught.

“No one wants to help you if you’re an airbrush artist,” he said, though legendary Hermosa airbrush artist Keoni Noblado proved an exception. “He gave me the basic instructions of airbrushing, the do’s and don’ts,” said Smith, “but I’ve learned all the rights and wrongs on my own.”

Smith’s boards take a week or two to complete. “It could take hours or days before I start working on a board,” he said.

His distinctive style makes his boards easy to spot.

“I like creatures and animals and things that go bump in the night,” he said. “My philosophy is if it looks real take a picture of it.”

“My ideas usually come from a combination of a dream and something that I like or something that I’ve seen.”

Photo by Brent Broza (

Somewhere, in the midst of Smith’s surreal creations, a can of Budweiser always makes an appearance. “I love Budweiser; I love it, flat out. It’s the King of Beers,” Smith said.

“The first spray of paint on that board is the hardest thing to do,” he said.

He’s currently airbrushing a board for himself, and after two weeks of work, the piece is finally coming together. “The first three days I couldn’t stand my board. Now I’m loving it,” he said, “I’m finally seeing my image come through.”

Smith thinks about his ultimate product to keep motivated. “I’m always wishing to see the finalized art, it never turns out how I expected,” said Smith.

The positive responses he’s gotten to his boards, motivate him, as well. “I haven’t been given any negative comments regarding my boards,” he said.

By day, Smith works as a designer for Signtronix. “I build signs pretty much full time for employment.” But he hopes one day to take up surfboard painting full time.

“I want to make more boards, I want to make as many boards as possible in my lifetime. Being a full time surf artist, that would be a blast.” B

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