A shimmering warmth radiates from the baking sand as a gentle sea breeze wafts its salty freshness together with hints of sweet coconut sunscreen. To the muffled roar of crashing surf, sunshine sparkles brilliantly off the curling waves seemingly lined up to infinity, emanating from where the deep aqua green of the sea meets the brilliant azure blue of a sky punctuated only by sea gulls racing over the roiling sea foam, and glowing cotton puffs of clouds rolling across the far horizon.
Ron Kaplan was far from any such experience that frigid night in Athens, Ohio, mere days after the Great Blizzard of 1978, as he methodically hand-screenprinted t-shirt after t-shirt upon a metal desk in an empty Ohio University dorm room. Carefully slipping a metal hanger into each so as not to smudge the images he had earlier birthed on a sketchpad, Ron would hang dozens of them mere inches apart to air-dry on clotheslines that cris-crossed overhead.
However, under the glare of a bare lightbulb shining from the ceiling, with the odor of mineral spirits barely being pushed by a rattling box fan through the screen of the small room’s lone window, with each pull of the ink-laden squeegee, the mind’s eye of the young graphic design student was obsessed with but one inspiring, hypnotizing, even comforting vision – SURF OHIO.
Little did he know his vision would go on to be embraced and shared by thousands, span generations, cross the globe, and be celebrated four decades later as a lasting icon of the beach life.
Aloha, friend – we’re glad you stopped by. Welcome to SURF OHIO, and enjoy!
For 40 years, Surf Ohio has been the iconic brand worn to represent Ohio. From crazy beach parties to laid back summer festivals - Surf Ohio can be worn to represent your state, your favorite sport, or as it is - just a state of mind.
SURF OHIO truly knows no borders, thus it’s no surprise that since its creation in 1978 it has turned up in almost every corner of culture, as represented by the photos in this ever-growing gallery.
You just might recognize some old friends and new ones here as they proudly SURF OHIO - from the Beach Boys to The Black Keys, from pro ballplayers to pro surfers, from the boob tube to the silver screen, and beyond. Enjoy!