From the 80s into the 21st Century, 26th Avenue to Chopes, Mavericks to the Mentawai, Sewer Peak to Super Tubes, Dave Nelson has evolved into one of the world’s best surf photographers. Whether in the water or on the concrete his fluid yet powerful surf skate style transcends over to his photography. Arriving in the 80s, Nelly fell into an evolving surf scene that was on the rise, as surfers with funny nicknames like Flea, Skindog, Ratboy, Barney and Condor were pushing the limits of performance surf at Steamer Lane and along the Westside, and hurtling into giant surf at the monster up Highway 1: Mavericks. As Santa Cruz surfers moved and rose, so did Nelly. Mentored by one of the most innovative surf photographers, Tony Roberts, Nelly is the man with the right talents, shooting locally and globally, and expanding his focus from East Side/West Side to all hemispheres and the seven oceans, shooting the best surfers in the best surf, around the world. 

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Small town east coast scribbler of skulls, raised on white rice, comic books, ninja movies and heavy metal. After studying album covers and becoming hypnotized by skulls and fire, he was introduced to skateboarding and his mind was blown! The music was faster and the skulls were gnarlier!!! First skate rock to fuel his fire was Agent Orange taped off a VHS tape with a boom box. Later defying all teachers and continuing to draw skulls he made his way into the skateboard industry and loves to create skateboard deck graphics! There's always a light on and a skull being drawn in his house! Blessed to have so many influences that he grew up admiring, become his friends like Steve Caballero, Jimbo Phillips, etc.

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Steve practically teethed on grip-tape. Woven from the gnarly fabric of San Jose’s outer Eastside, deeply established and in the groove of skateboarding’s fledgling puberty during the mid to late ‘70s. He was a hard-core super-athlete about ready to burst the paradigm of skateboarding wide open. He was/is a trend-setting machine, with a keen eye for what has soul, what is cool and what is absolutely crap. His inner creativity is overwhelmingly powerful - music, painting, illustration, motorcycles, hot rods, and a furious dedication to constant personal and spiritual growth. Caballero holds many distinctions, from being the first to have his own signature brand shoe, the “Half Cab” to the longest continually selling signature model skateboard deck with Powell Peralta, a company he started with and remains with since 1979. His contributions and inspirations to musicians/skaters the world over are found in his numerous musical efforts with bands that include Faction, Odd Man Out, Shovelhead, Soda and peppered with a little Agent Orange during their 2012 tour.

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Skateboarding has it power-house legends, all known for their varied and unique degrees of 4-wheeled prowess— from mega-ramp riders in the X-Games to the professional street-skaters buying up mansions just for throwing parties. Each has their “thing” they’re famous for. How they’d developed and adapted their proportion, size, scale and skills to the terrain, or chosen discipline, into world-wide recognition are each unique stories of their own. All of that changes, and the physics involved take on an entirely new meaning when it comes to Wee Man, and vast, new perspectives in skateboarding open up to a level unobtainable by most all other skaters. Watch him ride. You’ll see what we mean. Unless you’ve lived under some dang rock the past 2 decades, you know who WeeMan, who will ONLY cash checks made out to Jason Acuna. We KNOW you’ve seen him, from playing a convincing antagonist in the popular movie and episodes we can’t mention, to insane stunts, gags, film-bits, video-bits and bacon-bits.

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Eric Dressen; Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee from Venice CA, is best known for his smooth yet aggressive style while ripping the streets, local schools yards and backyard pools. He is world renown in all these disciplines of this culture we call Skateboarding. Eric has adorned the pages of Skateboarder Magazine in the mid to late 70’s, Thrasher, Transworld, Slap, Poweredge and other publications in the 80’s and 90’s. He has been featured in books and too many videos to even mention. He has been a huge part of the Skate Movement since the early years and still travels the globe, four wheels down. When not skating or creating art, he keeps his creative juices flowing in the world of tattoos. Eric has been tattooing and doing art collabs for major skate brands for the last 15 years. If there were 5 words to describe Eric Dressen, they would have to be, Creative, Quiet, Humble, Fast, and Powerful.

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Defining an artist is a big no-no. Mentioning his distinguished pedigree, is almost just as bad. So, no defining and no name-dropping to be seen here. Don’t need to. With highly recognizable work saturating the skate, surf and rock and roll worlds, Jimbo Phillips’ intense imagery, and wild graphical nature invade your eyeballs like a stampede of line-art. Hours and hours and hours can be taken absorbing his numerous pieces, and still new discoveries can be made, hidden amidst the delicately screaming lines, of leering-screaming-oozing monster-faces, Pin-Up babes, ‘sploding and yelling skulls, pizza-face slices, hot-rods, bulging-eyes, dripping brains, detailed gore-laden barfy-vomit, tongues for miles and more, all gushing from a creatively and horribly depraved imagination. Gotta love Jimbo’s art! The planet needs it.

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Punk Rock Art is Bad Otis’ game. He’s played it long, and plays it well. So well, he’s inspired censorship. Crazy. Right? Like a lot of you tatted, scarred ‘n begrizzled punkers Bad Otis arose from beyond the suburban-ooze churned and boiled beneath the bandana’d engineer boots of legions of kids during those SoCal nights, when creativity and inspiration became highly aggressive. This new kind of counter- culture exploded in California—with it came new, exciting, assaulting music and graphic visuals. Practically since day one, Bad became a highly recognized artist, alternating scratchy-edginess, moody colors, stark fine lines—simultaneously stylistic, yet discomforting. Aggressive, harsh. The consummate absolute artist from beyond the fringe, Bad Otis Link is by all accounts “Lowbrow-Art” extraordinaire —before it was ever a thing, and long before it’s 15 minutes of cool had even begun. You’re already familiar with Bad Otis’ art from hundreds of bands he’s created for, or from his art and custom shirts at Coachella.

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Jay Moriarity became famous to the world when he was launched with the lip on this giant, 35 foot, offshore, top to bottom Mavericks monster - which was captured by surf photographer Bob Barbour and made the cover of Surfer Magazine in December 1994. At 14 years old, Jay began a grueling, five-year apprenticeship of swimming, paddling and writing essays before he took on the challenge of Mavericks. Jay Moriarity continued evolving into one of the best big-wave surfers in the world thru the 1990’s. He lived heroically, with passion and has been immortalized as an inspiration to young water athletes from around the world to live their dreams, face their fears. Jay left this earth too young, and the surfing world mourned. His life was made into the movie Chasing Mavericks in 2012, inspiring a new generation of water athletes to Live Like Jay. Santa Cruz photographer Bob Barbour was witness to many of young Jay Moriarity’s greatest moments but never more so than the morning this photo was taken. After arriving in Half Moon Bay together and heading out to the break, Jay waxed up and jumped off the boat and into the lineup. This was Jay’s first wave of the day… 16 years old, hair still dry and he paddles into this Mavericks monster.

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Santa Cruz painter, Maia Negre, is honored to be Merge4's first female artist. A first generation American, her mother from Hong Kong and father from France, Maia's artistry flourished in her diverse cultural foundations from a very young age. Most renowned for her dreamy surfscapes, mermaids, abstract florals, and coastal landscapes, Maia's work is both captivating and inspiring, and she has become one of Santa Cruz's most beloved and popular artists.When not in her studio painting, this gentle powerhouse of an artist and athlete can be found on the tennis court, in the yoga studio, or surfing in the sea. Stay tuned for more to come from Maia.

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Devastating demonstrations of downhill demolition fly from the furiously flailing cycle-tires—trees, boulders and wood-peckers blurring in the peripheral edges of Greg Minnaar’s highly complex eye site. His motor-senses, centered-gravity and laser-focus on the quickest line down the mountain are good things to have for a South African World Champion racer who’s has been on a podium more times than any other mountain biker.

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If you were around in the mid 70’s to early 80’s and had anything to do with the skate-punk revolution, odds are you knew of this classic character that goes by many names. The Orange Bowl, Bombora, Winchester Skatepark, Campbell Skatepark, Milpitas Skatepark, The Temple Beautiful, Mabuhay Gardens, Deaf Club, Elite Club, Sound of Music, Tool and Die, and 10th Street Hall, these are some of the places he called home. Mofo has been part of the Nor Cal scene since day one. He has sung in a few of the best underground bands the bay Area had to offer, has shot photos of some of the most classic, legendary skaters of all time and has probably slept on more couches in his travels than most humans could bare. He is one of a handful of skaters that had the vision and resolve that made Thrasher Skate Magazine a reality and was recently inducted into Skateboardings Hall of Fame.

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Cedric Gracia is one of the world’s best competitive mountain bikers, racing in the downhill and four-cross (4X) on the UCI World Circuit. Cédric started his biking career as a BMX rider at age 6 years old. He later moved on to become a freestyle skiing pro, before entering the professional mountain biking scene in 2001. Cédric's famous for competing in all the gravity disciplines, from downhill to four-cross (4X), freeride to enduro. Cédric had a major crash during practice at the World Cup in Val Di Sole World Cup in 2012, breaking his femur and pelvis. Despite a strong comeback, he decided to retire from World Cup DH racing a year later, preferring instead to focus on video parts and enduro racing. He always looks like he's having more fun than everyone else, both on and off the bike, and somehow it's infectious.

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Life doesn’t exactly suck when you live in Las Vegas, play in a long-running kick-ass punk band, make your living at your own tattoo studio, parlay a cause célèbre from a reality show into creative artistic visual and liquid opportunities, tending to a variety of business endeavors, while juggling the balancing act and priorities of fatherhood. Some say ‘tsunami’, others say Dirk Vermins’ world. A life like a hot-rod V8 engine, always rumbling, and when he’s wide open, all heads turn. With a pedigree like this, and the hard miles exposed to the best visuals punk rock, hot rods and the tattoo worlds have to offer, add decades of art and life experiences, he’s developed a wide range of styles, from traditional to portrait, and he’s the go-to guy for your cover-up work. Unique Las Vegas OG’s don’t come much more stalwart than a cat like this. If ya gonna get marked, and get marked up really good by the best tatt-cats in the biz’, you gotta have a Dirk Vermin piece. You just gotta.

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The North Shore is almost as fertile for musicians as it is for surfers, now that Landon McNamara’s Dollar Short And A Minute Late bulleted to #1 on the reggae billboard charts and Hawaiian radio following its release in December. McNamara is a native son of the North Shore, son of Pipeline surfer Liam and nephew of big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara, Landon grew up with the surf in one ear and music in the other. Inspired by North Shore resident surfer/musicians Jack Johnson, McNamara evolved a musical style that is “his own brand of reggae, rock n’ roll and blues to create a musical combo platter of positive and relatable music.” McNamara writes all his own songs and plays guitar. And he still surfs, as much as possible, from busting airs at Pupukea to bombs at Second Reef Pipe - to keep the music flowing from his head to his fingers.

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