Jimmy in the news


NEW SMYRNA BEACH — Starting up a regional surf museum is an ambitious and costly endeavor. Luckily for Joel Paige and a group of local surfing pioneers, they didn’t have to look too far to find a temporary home for the venture.

Plans are for the NSB Museum of East Coast Surfing to open in mid-February upstairs in a roughly 1,500-square foot space at 424 Canal St. — the heart of the city’s downtown. It’s the same building that downstairs houses the Thai Mango restaurant operated by Paige’s wife and her business partner.

“So everybody that comes in will smell the delicious food as well,” Paige said with a laugh. “It’s a symbiotic thing that will help both of us.”

Paige and other members of the museum’s board of directors are looking for a larger facility in the future to house the classic surfboards, countless photographs and other artifacts that document New Smyrna Beach’s rich history as a surfing hotbed.

“We look at places, but they’re really expensive and we don’t have really a budget yet,” Paige said. “That’s kind of why we’re going to be setting up a temporary location, because that’s how you get more donors.”

Proceeds for a silent auction at the New Smyrna Beach Surf Film Fest — which Paige produces — scheduled March 22-23 at the Woman’s Club of New Smyrna Beach, will benefit the museum. And the museum group has applied for nonprofit status and are waiting to hear from the Internal Revenue Service on their application, Paige said.

The catalyst to open permanent surfing museum was the welcome reception given to a surfing exhibit in 2012 at the New Smyrna Beach Museum of History entitled, “If Everybody Had an Ocean” — an ode to the opening line of The Beach Boys hit “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

Jimmy Lane, a local surfing legend who for the past 29 years has operated a popular surfing camp in New Smyrna Beach, helped spearhead the effort to open a permanent museum. An accomplished painter, he plans to sell some of his artwork to raise funds for the museum. Lane, who in his surfing career racked up awards at competitions in the U.S. and internationally, garnering a top-50 world ranking, said New Smyrna has long been a “sanctuary” for world-class surfers.

“I can sit down and tell you a million stories about all the cool things around this town,” Lane said. “That’s I want our museum to be like. I want our museum to let everybody know all that energy that we have, that we’ve shared because of the ocean, that it is part of growing up here in the environment.”

Museum organizers still have to get a business license and put up signs, but the museum is already gaining notoriety before it opens. Paige said officials with the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center in San Clemente, Calif. asked if the New Smyrna museum would be its “sister museum” on the East Coast.

While attending a surf expo last weekend in Orlando, Paige learned of similar efforts to start up surfing museums that had yet to find homes.

“We’re one of the first ones to get an actual place to display,” he said. “So we’re kind of ahead in that game.”


Jimmy Lane's famous Surf School in Volusia County!!



A word with surf school guru ...

JIMMY LANE

by Richard H. Stewart Hometown News - summer 2009

When he is not designing surf board art or giving private lessons you can find Jimmy sur­rounded by several dozen young beginners attending the Jimmy Lane Surf Academy. One only has to see his distinctive icon - the blue mini school bus loaded with boards - to know "class is in session!"

I managed to tie him down for a few minutes to ask about his camps and how it all began some 25 years ago and he told me how he migrated from Virgina Beach when he was 13. Here in NSB he met Matt Clancy who first taught Jimmy how to surf and soon became the popular new guy hanging with local divas Jennifer Baldwin and Sandy Bar. As the years went by Jimmy rose through the competition ranks of the Eastern Surfing Association even­tually winning the Wrightsville Beach Pro contest. then becoming a member of the Association of Surfing Professionals. All of these advancements provided Jimmy with the opportunity to travel the world and experience some of the most spectacular ocean views.

Jimmy is not only a surf guru but an accomplished and internationally respected artist having airbrushed thou­sands of boards. canvases and walls. winning many honors along the way including the prestigious Arthur Vos Award for beautiful waves airbrushed on a surfboard. Jimmy started teaching 25 years ago - for tips - and now teaches more that 600 kids each summer in a 2-3 month period. During off season. he offers private lessons and keeps himself busy creating awesome surfboard art. More about the Jimmy Lane Surf Academy can be found at www.Surf-Lane.com.


A MIX OF SURF AND ART

By MORRIS SULLIVAX • Currents magazine summer 2009

When he was 14 years old, Jimmy Lane decided to try surfing. "I was pretty athletic - I played basketball, football and ran track," he says. "But I lived in New Smyrna Beach and all my friends had started surfing. So I tried it and I found out I liked it." Soon, Lane was one of the best on the waves. "I advanced really fast," he says. "So I started surfing the (amateur competitions) all the way to the east coast championships." Today, Jimmy "Fast" Lane is still ranked one of the 50 best surfers in The world. He shares his love for the sport not only by teaching others how to surf, but also by creating surt:inspired art to adorn surfboards and gallery walls--even sometimes turning surfboards into fine art.

But in the 1970s, he was busy riding the waves to surfing excellence, competing in ESA (Eastern Surfing Association) events. I got 10th place in [he championships - that was 1977 ," he says. "After that, I didn't enjoy the amatures as much, but pro surfing had started up." He decided to go pro and spent the late 1970's and early 1980's as a professional surfer, advancing into the Pro Leagues of the ASP East.

(Association of Surfing Professionals) and finally the World Tour of the ASP.

"I worked my way up, and was doing really weli," he says. His first big payday came in 1984, when he won $5,000 at a national competition in North Carolina. "Then I competed all through '85, and won Puerto Rico, which was a major contest where all the pros came," he says. "I beat a famous surfer who was rated NO.1 at the time, so for 30 days, I was the No. 1 surfer in the world." He took the $10,000 he won in Puerto Rico and headed to Australia for four months. "It was cool - I got my chance to try to become the world champion and ended up rated in the top 50 in the world." "My luck was OK he says, to win, you had to be in just the right place at the right time." Succeeding in competitive surfing takes a combination of luck and brains, Lane explains. "A competition heat is only 20 minutes long, and there might not be any waves in that particular 20·minute period," he says. "Then you might get wave after wave right after your 20 minutes is up.

"But it also takes brains," he says. "Kelly Slater is a nine-time world champion, and he's a very smart guy. To win that many championships, you can't rely on luck - you go down to the beach and study the waves, time them, and have a first plan and a plan B, in case they don't show up where you expect them. "There are a lot of great surfers today that don't use their brain as much as they should in competition," he adds. "But we're getting smarter kids surfing these days - they're going to college, making good grades and becoming great surfers.'" Lane returned from Australia to New Smyrna Beach, where he started teaching surfing and working as an artist. "I airbrush a lot of surfboards," he says. "The main label is Erie Surfboards, but I do a lot of different labels." Airbrushed designs on surfboards isn't the sum total of his art career, however. He also exhibits paintings and fine-art surfboards at outdoor festivals and galleries. "When I was traveling, I was always on a tight budget, so I'd stay with friends," he explains. "In every house I stayed in, I'd do a painting and leave it behind. That helped me out - people would invite me back."

He has entered the Art Fiesta in New Smyrna • Beach "for at least 25 or 30 years," he adds. "I've won some major awards, including a purchase award from the city." One of his works, a surfboard with an intricately airbrushed wave, now hangs in City Hall.

But his biggest love, Lane says, is teaching young people to surf. Every summer, he introduces hundreds to the sport with the Jimmy Lane Surfing Academy, which he runs in conjunction with the New Smyrna Beach parks and recreation department. Lane took charge of the city's summer surfing camp in 1985. Only a handful of students showed up that first summer. "But I took it from a dozen kids to 500 or more," he says. "It has turned into a nice city recreation program, and it's a nice business for myself. My name will be here forever because Of the surf school." The academy now offers one-week sessions all through the summer, beginning June 1 and climaxing with a surfing contest in August. "I get students from all over the country - and from Canada, South Africa and Australia. I've taught at least 15,000 people how to surf."

To keep the student-teacher ratio down to no more than five surfers per instructor, Lane long ago started hiring extra instructors. "They're all good surfers," he says. "But safety is first - they're all CPR-certified, and two of them are actually firemen. Some of them have been with me 12 years. Most of them started as students and started working for me part-time in the summer." Students have to be able to swim before they can learn to surf. Most are between ages 7 and 16. "The youngest I've had was four," he says. "But his mother was a swim teacher." Just about anyone can learn to surf, he says. "We do a swim test the first day, and have them run and swim through the waves," he says. "That lets us see which ones will need some extra attention. "Once they conquer their fear, they all turn into warriors," he says. "It's amazing to see." I have them write a paragraph about what they like about surfing," he adds. "They'll say the feeling of standing up riding a wave is like flying on water." But sometimes it goes beyond that, Lane says. "Some kids express their feelings-it really comes from the heart," he says. "It's very touching sometimes."