In 1978 surfer and filmmaker John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn) set out to make a feature length film for the big screen based on his youth surfing and growing up in Malibu Ca., it would become the iconic film of the 70’s “Big Wednesday”.
While Big Wednesday was a “Hollywood production” and featured then popular actors William Katt, Gary Busey and Jan-Michael Vincent, as the three friends that grew up together during the height of the surfing boom of the 60’s, it also utilized the talents of current surfing legends Peter “PT” Townend, Ian Cairns, J Riddle, Billy Hamilton, and Gerry Lopez, among others. For the surfboards for the film Milius called on shapers like Mike Perry, Robbie Dick, Lance Carson, Tom Parrish, and Terry Martin to create the surfboards used in and around the movie.
Big Wednesday was mostly filmed at the Bixby Ranch in Santa Barbara, where the infamous Malibu wall was recreated, and the waves had a surprising similarity to the perfect waves of Malibu. It was on these beaches and movie set that the actors and real surfers would work together to create amazing surfing sequences that accurately reflected the surfing styles of the 60s and into the early 70s.
As filmmakers and surfers know, the surfboards used in the film needed to be handcrafted and functional, in addition to being as historically accurate and legitimate as possible, which they accomplished through the label designed specifically for the film, “Bear Surfboards”.
The Bear Surfboards logo and label is a natural evolution from the period and a couple key personalities of the Southern California surf scene. The Bear inside the logo is a nod to the Golden State and the California Flag, and serves as the anchor and centerpiece of the logo. The outline of the logo is a nod to South Bay surfboard builder Hap Jacobs and his highly identifiable logo for Jacobs Surfboards, one of the best logos ever created. And Bear himself, the surfboard builder in the film, has a veiled resemblance to surfing’s shaping legend Dale Velzy. The genius of the Bear label came to fruition by utilizing Velzy, Jacobs and the Golden State and weaving them together to represent the Big Wednesday era.
After Big Wednesday Bear Surfboards continued to be built by Randy Rarick in Hawaii, who had been building boards and working with key shapers around the globe since he was a teenager. In 2000 Randy enlisted premiere shaper Roger Hinds to assist him in building Bear Surfboards for California and other areas like Japan. Roger embraced the opportunity and added Bear to his existing stable of labels that includes Country Surfboards and Roger Hinds surfboards and are all 100% built by one pair of hands here in California.
The “Big Wednesday” collection represents the three most focal and important surfboards in the film, Jack Barlow’s (P.T.s) yellow and red pintail, Leroy “The Masochist” square tail, and Matt Johnson’s infamous Balsa Gun, that Bear made for him to use on “Big Wednesday”.