The Art of Wade Koniakowsky

Wade Koniakowsky


In preparation for our "Art of Surfing" Sweepstakes, we had a chance to get inside Wade Koniakowsky's head for a few minutes. (It really is a beautiful place.) In between surf sets and painting sessions, he took some time to respond to our questions via email. You can learn more about Wade on his website.


How do you introduce yourself at parties?
“Prepare to be wowed by my humor.”

What 3 words would you use to describe your art?
1.) Ocean
2.) In –
3.) Spired

At what age did you learn to surf?

When did you realize your passion for art?
By five or six years old my fascination with doodling was causing me to burn through every scrap of paper I could get my hands on.

What is it that draws you to the ocean?
The bigness of it.

Where is your favorite surf spot?
Local: Terramar (my local spot in Carlsbad, a suburb of San Diego)
Travel: Hanalei Bay, Kauai

How about your favorite painting spot?
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, but San Diego coastal is very nice, too.

What are your hobbies/passions besides art and surfing?
Travel, especially the tropics.

Favorite music?
Miles Davis.

What's your secret to happiness?
Listen to my wife.

What inspires you?
People who dream big, fail big and win big.

What's your favorite thing about Tommy Bahama?
Their store in Laguna; you can order a drink at the bar and then cruise over and do some shopping. It makes shopping easier.

What sort of advice would you offer an aspiring artist?
Borrowing from Mr. Warhol, “Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art."


How long does it take to paint a board?
A few hours to sketch what I’m going to paint, a day to paint it, and a couple of days to decide if I like it, then correct what needs correcting.

“Prepare to be wowed by my humor.”

Wade Koniakowsky Surfboard

I am inspired by people who dream big, fail big and win big.

Do you have a favorite color of paint?
The color of the sky.

Do you have a favorite board that you've painted?
Yes, it's called "Origins." (Featured at right)

Why surf art?
I'm not so fond of that term because it’s limiting. I’m not trying depict surfing as much as just using it as inspiration. It works well as a lifestyle for a painter more than a subject.

If you weren't an artist, what would you do for a living?
I’d like to try working in advertising.

Do you have a dream project?
Yes, to design a Tommy Bahama shirt that incorporates my art.