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Jimmy Romo’s Coastal Creations

Jimmy Romo’s Coastal Creations

Jimmy Romo's Coastal Creations
Jimmy Romo Coastal Creations
Jimmy Romo Coastal Creations
Jimmy Romo Coastal Creations +16
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Repurposed Surfboards

They say when a person dies and is restored to life, a different part of their brain often awakens. After such an awakening, Jimmy Romo’s Coastal Creations’ Jim Rajner, a family man, an avid surfer, and the owner of a successful paddleboard business, found his place in the world as an environmental steward and a well-sought after artist. “Jim’s story is amazing and worth telling. He is the most positive person I know,” shares his life partner, Laura Wandry.

Jim retired from his business – JR Construction and Millworks in Telluride, Colorado – where he worked as a general contractor for more than twenty years. While sitting in a movie theater with his family one evening, he suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 42. “Jim died that evening, but as life “wouldn’t” have it, an EMT was sitting in the seat behind him,” states Laura.

Jim awoke ten days later in the hospital with his life drastically changed.

The Awakening

In 2012, Jim relocated to Southern California, where he fell in love with surfing. He opened a retail paddleboard shop in Oceanside Harbor, where he also offered paddleboard lessons. At the age of 53, Jim underwent triple bypass surgery, where he flatlined twenty minutes after his family was informed about the surgery’s success. With his heart literally in the hands of a skilled surgeon, the surgeon was able to revive Jim.  

Laura shares, “While Jim was healing and unable to return to work, he found himself wanting to create.” Jim spent his days on the beach using rakes to draw images the size of a football field in the sand. Crowds would gather and stand on the Oceanside Pier every day watching his work take form.

Jim’s time on the beach allowed him to reflect on the things that were important to him – the things he loved, the things we, as a society, need to protect. He recalled reading that it takes an indefinite amount of time for a surfboard to break down in a landfill. At the same time, it continues to leach chemicals and pollutants into the water table and the environment. Jim had twelve boards in his garage that he preferred to repurpose rather than discard. “No matter how small each effort to protect our world, every little bit helps, and if we all pitch in, we can make a difference,” offers Jim.

Repurposing Surfboards into Art

Armed with a vision, Jim started hand-carving his boards into ocean-themed art. What began as a profit-turning hobby from his garage grew large enough for Jim to share his creations at larger venues. It was at an art show in San Diego where Jim and Laura met. Today, they share their lives as well as a passion for art and environmental awareness – together, they are Jimmy Romo’s Coastal Creations.

Jim and Laura sketch their designs directly onto the boards and use hand-tools akin to oversized jewelers saws to hand-carve each board. “Our inspiration comes mostly from the beach/ocean, but we love making custom pieces with everything from dragonflies to the Swiss Alps, collages of someone’s favorite places or things to surfboard lights for the ceiling on boards that our customers have ordered,” Jim shares. “We put “a whole lot of love” into every piece we design and make!”

Jim prefers a more subtle color pallet while Laura prefers brighter colors – their styles in perfect complement. 

Boards are Often Donated for Repurposing

“We meet people all the time at art shows telling us that they have eight boards in their garage, and they invite us to stop by to pick them up,” continues Laura. Jim and Laura paint each board by hand – many are painted and customized during the art shows so people can choose their colors using paint suitable for indoor and outdoor display.

Oceanside, CA, serves as home base for Jimmy Romo’s Coastal Creations, where Jim and Laura reside for eight months out of the year, sharing their art at various California art shows. They spend the remaining four months of the year in Fort Myers, FL, where they share their art shows art along the Gulf Coast, including the Fairhope Arts Festival typically held in March.

Laura and Jim ship their creations worldwide. Although some of their artwork is available for purchase through Facebook and local art shows, they also take requests for custom carvings.

Jimmy Romo’s Coastal Creations
Oceanside, CA
(760) 450-5589
Facebook: @jimmyromoscoastalcreations

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