ENCINITAS — Close to 100 people gathered at a fundraiser May 22 at E Street Cafe to raise the final $4,000 needed to add a poem to the granite base of “The Magic Carpet Ride” sculpture located on Highway 101 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
The bronze sculpture, locally called “The Cardiff Kook,” depicts a young surfer catching his first wave.
The sculpture sits on a granite pedestal with one flat side that is intended for a poem.
The poem is the final piece that finishes the often-misunderstood sculpture by providing an explanation of the awkwardly posed surfer, fundraising coordinator Mike Clark said.
The sculpture is a public art piece the community “loves to hate,” Clark said. Initially the sculpture was criticized because it did not depict an accomplished surfer.
Now the community embraces the sculpture and dresses it up for holidays. For Easter, the bronze surfer was dressed in a crown of thorns and a cross. On Earth Day, orange Caltrans trash bags were in its hands.
No one knows who decorates the sculpture. “Don’t ask me when they do it,” Clark said.
The poem that will be added to the sculpture’s base came serendipitously, too. When “The Magic Carpet Ride” was erected July 15, 2007, a poem had not been selected. Local poet and community activist Bob Nanninga, who passed away last year, e-mailed Clark a poem after the sculpture was unveiled.
Part of the poem reads, “His story is our story, personified grace, both the past and the future, see yourself in his face.”
The poem fit. “It helps define the piece,” Clark said.
It was decided Nanninga’s poem would be sandblasted into the sculpture.
Community fundraising began last year, after the city budget could not provide funds for the project.
The final fundraiser celebrated the spirit of the sculpture and Nanninga’s poetry. Community members gathered to share poems, bid on auction items, and raise needed funds.
The poem is expected to be sandblasted into the granite base within a month, Clark said.