Tim Bessell


Tim Bessell (American, b.1957) has been creating surfboards since he was 13 years old. At just 15, he began shaping surfboards professionally at Sunset Surfboards. He then shaped surfboards for Lightning Bolt, one of Hawaii’s foremost surfboard manufacturers. His own business, Bessell Surfboards, became one of the largest surfboard manufacturers in Southern California in the mid-1980s. With distributors in Japan, South America, and Europe, Bessell Surfboards operates today with a large and loyal customer base, including world-class surfers like Luke Egan, Jon Roseman, and Brad Gerlach. On his own, and through his company, Bessell has created over 46,000 surfboards, some of which have been featured on the covers of magazines, including Surfer Magazine, Surfing Magazine, and Beach Culture. Bessell’s surfboards have also been the subject of solo exhibitions at StolenSpace Gallery in London, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Bessell’s Andy Warhol-inspired surfboards are among some of his most exhibited, as they speak to the personal connections that Bessell and Warhol had as neighbors when Bessell was growing up, and they also highlight similar surf-culture subject matter in Warhol’s work, such as his 1968 film San Diego Surf.

Beyond surfboards, Bessell did design for the clothing company Billabong, as well as for his own clothing line, which he started in 1992. Bessell has also contributed work to multiple surf films with the production company Watershed Productions.