Photo courtesy Patagonia Cardiff
As reported by Brad Melekian on The Union Tribune
The intersection at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Manchester Avenue in Cardiff by the Sea is a busy one any day of the week, but on weekends it is particularly hectic.
With a train track running straight through the intersection, the Pacific Ocean dead ahead west, and four lanes of 101 traffic screaming north and south, it is the barometer for Sunday bustle. And if you want to have an active weekend in town, it is all but impossible to do so without stopping here.
Which is probably why the Cardiff Botanical Society decided to install a statue at the western corner of the intersection last year. The statue is called “Magic Carpet Ride,” and it was built by Hemet sculptor Matthew Antichevich. Meant to be a tribute to the area’s surfing heritage, the statue has instead been categorically panned by the surfing community since its unveiling last July.
Over the last year, it has become an unexpected rallying point for local surfers, and, in its own way, it has galvanized the surfing community. The image of a boy lithely doing something in the ocean (just what he’s doing is not particularly clear) was supposed to embody the carefree spirit of San Diego surfing. But most surfers didn’t see it that way. The more civil among the statue’s detractors complained that it simply wasn’t an accurate representation of a surfer; the opinionated suggested that the statue was effeminate, inauthentic and an embarrassment to the local community.
And they let their opinions be known. Last summer, immediately following its unveiling, controversy about the statue, as discussed in local lineups and parking lots, and on surfing message boards on the Internet, was at fever pitch. Bumper stickers were printed and distributed, imploring city officials to “Remove the Cardiff Kook.” Blog posters threatened to tie a chain to their pickup trucks and drag the statue down, drawing overwrought mental parallels to the iconic fall of the Saddam Hussein statue in central Baghdad five years ago. For his part, Antichevich was said to be “devastated” by the reaction.
Since that time, though, the vitriol has died down, and while surfers may not like the statue, they seem to have come to a wholesale acceptance of its presence in the community. Like a kid brother, they tease it and torture it.
On a monthly, sometimes weekly basis now, the statue is dressed up anonymously, presumably by the surfing community. So far, the young boy has been made to wear a Mexican lucha libre mask, a woman’s skirt, a floppy hat with Zinc Oxide applied considerately to his nose, and, most recently, a diaper. He has served as a public forum, like when he was earlier this month dressed up with Stand Up Paddle gear and held a sign that said “No Sweepers.” (“Sweeping” being a derogatory term for Stand-Up Paddling, the fad du jour at Cardiff Reef.)
For the full story check out The Union Tribune.