They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but to Jodie Woodward, one old photograph inspired 365 days on a new calendar.
Last summer, Woodward received a call about a photograph of the old steel pier, which once stood in the area north of the 1st Street jetty at Rudee Inlet.
The caller was John Donahoe, a Virginia Beach native and surfer who grew up on 75th Street in the 1960s but has lived in New York and New Jersey for the past 28 years.
Donahoe had heard about the Steel Pier Classic, an increasingly popular surfing competition held for the past seven years on Memorial Day weekend between 1st and 3rd streets.
"I looked it up online and couldn't believe that an event called the 'Steel Pier Classic' had no photos of the old steel pier on its website," said Donahoe.
Donahoe contacted Woodward, a North End resident who is director of the Surf Art Expo, a Boardwalk art show held in conjunction with the Steel Pier Classic since 2008.
Donahoe told Woodward that a framed, 8-by-10-inch color photograph of a sunrise over the old steel pier had hung on his wall for more than 30 years.
The photo had been a gift from a neighbor, a photographer Donahoe had befriended in the 1970s while living on 26th Street.
"I can't remember his name," Donahoe said, "but he gave me the photo when I told him that the steel pier was where I caught my very first wave."
Donahoe wondered if Woodward might be able to use the picture and e-mailed her a snapshot.
"Something about the photo was special," Woodward said. "It was gorgeous, and I knew I had to do something special with it."
"A lot of surfers have fond memories of the steel pier," she added. "There's a lot of local surf lore surrounding it."
Woodward said that most photos of the steel pier that she has seen are black-and-white; this one is unusual because it is in color. The decaying landmark was dismantled piling by piling in 1978, according to The Virginian-Pilot's archives.
The idea for a calendar came to Woodward one day while she was running. The steel pier photo would grace the cover and the January page; the other months would feature work by Virginia Beach artists who have participated in the Surf Art Expo.
Local artist and surfer Rick Romano donated his "Legends" painting for the February page. Last year, Romano won the Stand-Up Paddleboard division of the Steel Pier Classic while his 18-year-old daughter, Camie, ran his booth at the Surf Art Expo.
The old steel pier photo on the calendar is credited as "Artist Unknown - Circa 1960s," but Donahoe said that the photo was probably taken in the early 1970s and that he would love to credit the photographer if he turns up.
Woodward said that all proceeds after expenses would go to the Virginia Longboard Federation, the nonprofit organization that produces the Steel Pier Classic and Surf Art Expo.
Melanie Barker, firstname.lastname@example.org