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Gallery 208's Last Show to Feature 'Point Break' Surfboards

Nov 30, 2023 07:36PM ● By Mb News Staff
On Friday night, Manhattan Beach's Gallery 208 will hold its last show; a tribute to the iconic surf movie "Point Break."

Gallery 208 is an art gallery and event space owned by Spyder Surf owner and artist Dennis Jarvis along with woodworker Chip Herwegh. Jarvis played a key role in the making of "Point Break" as he shaped the boards and taught the cast and crew about surfing.

At the show, Jarvis will feature some boards from the film as well as a full set of replica hero boards for sale. Additionally, the writer Peter Iliff and his band "Naughty Pete" will be performing, and some surprise guests from the "Point Break" cast are expected to appear.

Jarvis' Role in "Point Break"

Jarvis tells the story of his involvement in the movie in his own words, in excerpts from a book he is working on:

"In my younger years I was an actor. I did TV shows, commercials and even a few small parts in film. I got a call to read for a part in the film 'Point Break,' starring Keanu Reeves (Patrick Swayze wasn’t cast as of yet). I went in, said my line - it was for the part of the Australian at the end - something like 'Don’t go out there; you must be crazy,' or something like that. I felt pretty good about my one-line acting job and smiled at the casting director and one of the producers who said 'Thank you.' 

"As I walked out, I looked back at these two suits reviewing the abilities of 'actors' trying to 'act' like surfers. Then I remembered the story of actor John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin on the hit show Cheers. The story goes that Ratzenberger finished his audition for the role of Norm Peterson but knew he wasn’t right for the part. And as he was leaving, he turned to the casting director and TV execs and asked, 'This is a Bawsten bar right?' in a thick Boston accent (John was from that area). They said yes, so he turned back in and explained that they had to have a bar know-it-all because everyone knows all bars in Boston have that one person that has all the facts and figures. They agreed to see him again and this time they wrote him into the show as the character Cliff Clavin.  

"THAT was forefront on my mind. Here is Hollywood wanting to present the culture of SURFING in a Hollywood feature film to the world and from what I saw, no one knew a single thing about this world. So, I took a chance and as I was leaving the audition, turned to the casting director, Rick Pagano, and asked him, 'Do you surf?' Rick responded that no, he had never surfed. I then asked the producer, Robert Levy, who was also sitting in the room, 'Do you?' He also answered that no, he did not. I asked 'Do either of you go to the beach?' They both said not really. I then pulled out my cover shots, took a deep breath and said, 'You guys need me. I am a professional
surfer, I have shaped for the best surfers in the world and I own a surf shop. You need me to
bring authenticity to this film.' I told them I could work with them making the actors appear to know about surfing. After a short discussion with the producers and the other casting director, Mary Manwiller, I laid my covers on the desk, they thanked me for the offer, and suddenly I felt I may have over stepped my welcome, so I headed out. When I got home, I had a message. My agent gave me the news: I was to start as tech/surf advisor right away. They brought me on to manufacture all the surfboards for the film and work with the entire cast to teach those that didn’t surf, how to surf."

For close to nine months the actors would go to Jarvis’ house in Hermosa Beach and walk down 29th Street to learn the 'art' of surfing:

"Keanu showed up the next day at my home and I worked for about nine months teaching Patrick Swayze, Keanu, Anthony Kiedis, Lori Petty, James LeGros and even the casting director how to surf."

Jarvis also describes the process of shaping the boards for the film:

“The first board I made had to be done quickly. I think Kathryn [Bigelow] wanted to see what she
could get out of me. That board was a UTAH special. It was made in two days and I drove it to the studio personally. But she didn’t like the flame job and said it needed blue in it, referring to a line in the film about a blue flame special. So I went home and added some blue flames on the hot coat. I took it back the next day and she hated it even more so she ended up letting me come up with the color scheme, which became the UTAH board. It matched the over-the-top feel of an FBI agent becoming a surfer to catch the bad guys.”

During the time Jarvis spent with the actors, he worked on helping each one come up with a personal design for their quiver of boards. Kiedis came up with a metaphysical concept and Swayze wanted a soulful design, so Jarvis drew up the designs and passed them along to Bigelow. With slight adjustments they were approved and Jarvis began the process of shaping and spraying each board. Jarvis remembers that a few members of the cast actually surfed well:

“John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher, Vince Klyn and Christopher Pettiet actually ripped. The fact that they knew the 'vibe' of what a surfer feels helped get the groups to become what appears on film as the 'gang' of good guys and bad guys."

On top of making the boards, teaching actors how to surf, Dennis also helped in finding
locations as well as casting some of the smaller parts.

"I was fortunate enough to bring surf stars Matt Archbold (Swayze’s double) and Dino Andino into the film. By the way, Peter Phelps, an Ozzie soap star and pro surfer got my spot as the Ozzie near the end of the film. 

"I have since been making 'rider' replicas, no gloss with fin boxes. Bodhi had a six channel as Archie was riding six channels back then. The 'pill board' for the UTAH design was a simple easy to learn on mini log, no bells and whistles."

The event will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, December 1. Gallery 208 is located at 208 Manhattan Beach Blvd. in Manhattan Beach.

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