Capitola artist Jim Herbert wheeled out his 17-foot metal sculpture of a female great white shark to a prominent area in Pleasure Point last weekend. He let his art sit as hordes of people fixated on the elaborate creation.
“Everything I make is about ten times stronger than most metalwork,” Herbert said. “Most people these days use thin metal or have the money for machines to build for them. I have none of that. Everything is hand built.”
Herbert had just finished the shark when he brought it out for the first time during the Pleasure Point Street Fair in June. And this weekend, he was invited to temporarily situate the piece in front of the Opal Cliffs Auto Service Center.
“It’s been really fun,” Herbert said. “Lots of people have been stopping by to see it. I think people like how it’s pretty close to the same size as an actual female great white.”
Herbert first created a slightly smaller, 10-foot version of the shark that includes an electric motor, allowing you to drive it short distances.
“Someone saw that one and [says], too bad it’s not a bit bigger,” he said. “And people wanted to see one with teeth. Well, that did it. I went on to make a bigger one with teeth. I tried to get as close as possible to what [great white sharks] really look like–a full-on real great white.”
Herbert grew up in Santa Cruz in the 1960s and eventually opened his own auto collision repair business, where he learned about the process of metal work and welding. After retirement, he continued the craft in a different, more artistic capacity.
Over the years, Herbert has entered numerous local and international sculpture contests, winning awards for his creations. His passion for surfing and the ocean inspired his studio, Jim’s Waves of Steel.
As for his new shark, Herbert says he is still searching for a permanent home.
“I’m not sure where it’s going to end up,” he says. “The main thing is, I want it to go to a place where everyone can enjoy it.”
For information on Herbert and his sculpture, visit wavesofsteel.net.