Lightning Bolt Single Fin Duo

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a two-some from one of surfing’s most storied labels: the often imitated, never duplicated Lightning Bolt Surfboards. The histories of Lightning Bolt, Gerry Lopez, and Pipeline will forever be intertwined, and resumes don’t get any more sparkling than that. The Gerry Lopez-shaped Pipe gun — presumably surfed by Lopez with timeless grace at the world’s most famous surf spot — will long be many collectors’ version of the ultimate grail. That said, for all the talent Bolt’s Seventies roster boasted, incredibly, it was also matched by the team’s depth.

There are currently two different vintage Lightning Bolt surfboards listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. I wouldn’t categorize either as a top-shelf auction board, but that’s not the point. I see these sticks as evidence of the variety and quality of Lightning Bolt Surfboards’ offerings during the brand’s heyday.

Lightning Bolt Rory Russell Single Fin (Craigslist)

This board is super clean. It’s a Rory Russell Model, and I think it was shaped in the early Eighties. Whatever the exact date, I suspect the board came well after Russell’s more “classic” Seventies shapes.

I don’t have the history on West Coast Glassing, but I can only assume it was a glass shop located somewhere in California. Was this the same factory where the famous Mickey Munoz and Terry Martin California Bolts were shaped? Your guess is as good as mine. I have also seen variations on the Rory Russell Model, including some twin fins. Overall, I think it’s unlikely that the board was shaped by Russell himself.

No dimensions are listed, but according to a previous Craigslist post, it is 6’4″. The seller is asking $1,500 for the Rory Russell Model. I tend to think this is on the high end, and interpret this how you’d like, but the board has been listed for sale for a few weeks.

Lightning Bolt Darrell Beckmeier Single Fin (Craigslist)

This board is making its second appearance on Shred Sledz; click here for the original post (which, coincidentally, features a Lighting Bolt Rory Russell twin fin.) Beckmeier might not be one of the most recognizable shaper to pass through Lightning Bolt, but he’s got some co-signs from folks like Randy Rarick. Check out this video from an earlier auction, featuring a cool Beckmeier shape.

I think the Beckmeier board is absolutely gorgeous. It’s got a few nicks and scratches, but overall it looks to be in pretty good shape. I love the simple details on this one, whether it’s the glass on fin, or the contrasting logos on the deck and the bottom of the board. I think it’s likely this board was shaped somewhere in the mid-Seventies, making it more of a classic Bolt shape than the Rory Russell Model above.

The board is 6’6″ x 19 1/2″ and the seller is asking $950. This one has also been up for a few weeks, which might mean the price is on the high end.

Brad Gerlach for O’Neill: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Some of you may recall Brad Gerlach and his incredible head of hair from a few earlier appearances here on the blog. (Not to bite the hand that feeds, but if you do actually remember these previous posts, I’m officially worried that you have too much time on your hands.) This time around Gerr is hawking rubber for O’Neill, as opposed to his previous stint at Rip Curl. As you can see in the featured photo, though, Gerlach’s mane game stays strong no matter which wetsuit brand he happens to be repping at the moment. The ad you see here originally appeared in the Dec 1989 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 30, No 12).

Weekend Grab Bag: January Jump Off

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have the inaugural Weekend Grab Bag post for the decade. We’ve got some sweet boards for you today, including a clean Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel. Keep scrolling for a selection of sledz that are currently listed for sale online.

Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel (Craigslist LA)

I’ve covered the many iterations of the Morey-Pope Camel before: the Camel Mini-Pepper, the 3/4 Camel, and the Sopwith Camel. Whenever I look at Morey-Pope boards I am reminded of Tom Morey’s incredible creativity. Anyway, this is just a “regular” Morey-Pope Camel. It’s one of the cleaner ones I have seen, and it has a beautiful resin pin line, too. The pics give you a great idea of the convex hull on the board.

Custom 9’6″ Yater Spoon (Craigslist Santa Barbara)

The Yater Spoon is an unimpeachable classic. If it’s not your kind of deal, I’m not sure we’re meant to be friends. This Spoon has some unique touches. First, the seller claims the board was hand shaped by Renny himself, which is notable given that the newer Spoons are all apparently shaped with the help of shaping machines. Second, as you can see in the photos above, it also sports a very cool wooden fin, and what looks to be a wooden wedge stringer. There are some other neat boards listed on the ad, including an awesome Yater balsa board, which has since sold.

10’7.5″ Bob Pearson Gun (Craigslist San Diego)

The listing claims this Pearson Arrow surfboard was shaped for legendary Santa Cruz / Mavericks charger Jay Moriarity, who is responsible for one of the most iconic surf images from the Nineties. If you look up images of Moriarity’s infamous wipeout you’ll see he’s surfing a board with the same airbrush. I doubt this is the board, but it’s still very, very cool. Seller claims it was shaped in 1997.

Odds and Ends

  1. 9’0″ Epoxy Donald Takayama “In The Pink” Model from 2012 (Craigslist San Diego)
    • Anecdotally, it seems like Takayama boards are creeping up in prices. This one is $750, looks to be in pretty good shape, and has some unusual epoxy laminates I haven’t seen before.
  2. Aipa / T&C Twin Fin w/Pottz Airbrush (eBay)
    • The Pottz airbrush has to be one of the most iconic sprays ever. Even better, this stick was shaped by Ben Aipa. Not cheap but also not hard to see why.
  3. 9’0″ Surfboards Makaha 1960s Longboard, possibly shaped by Ben Aipa (eBay)
    • Speaking of Ben Aipa, he shaped some boards under the Surfboards Makaha label during the earlier part of his career. There’s no signature so your guess is as good as mine, but at $300 it’s pretty cheap (local pickup in Hawaii required).
  4. Eighties Simon Anderson / Energy Surfboards Thruster (Craigslist San Diego)
    • I think this one is a tad pricey but I always love seeing these early Simon Anderson thrusters. Anderson employed other shapers, so I can’t say it’s one of his hand shapes, but it’s still a cool relic from the early days of one of the most influential surfboard designs ever.

Occy for Peak Wetsuits: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest Sagas of Shred entry, where we share a fresh vintage surf ad every Thursday.

Today we’ve got the inimitable Occy starring in an ad for Peak Wetsuits. Technically this is just one half of a two page spread, but it goes without saying that Cronulla’s Finest is the star attraction here.

Honestly, I feel like I could write the entire Sagas of Shred series just based on Occy’s ads from the Eighties. Just looking at the Occ-ster cracks me up. He has a talent for looking hilariously out of place during these brand photo shoots. I can’t quite explain why but just looking at this ad makes me smile. That, of course, is to say nothing of Occ’s surfing, which remains unimpeachable.

The ad originally appeared in the June 1989 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 3, No 6).

Thanks for reading and we hope to see you next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!

Max McDonald EB5: Elevated Wing Bonzer

Greetings, Shredderz! Long time readers of the blog probably know by now there are few things I enjoy more than learning about influential shapers and craftsmen. This is especially true of those who aren’t necessarily household names. Today we have a sweet board shaped by Santa Barbara shaper Max McDonald. I had seen Max’s boards pop up on Craigslist every now and then, and I learned a bit more about McDonald’s career when I wrote an earlier post that featured his collaboration with the Campell Brothers. In the late Eighties, McDonald and the Campbell Brothers created a board called the EB5, which combined elements from both shapers. The E stands for McDonald’s elevated wing design, which was inspired by Sam Hawk and Dick Brewer’s winged boards from the Seventies; and the B5 refers to the five fin Bonzer shape invented by the Campbells.

The board pictured above is a Max McDonald EB5 that is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find the listing here. The board is 6.5″ x 20 1/2″ (thickness is not listed), and according to the seller it was likely shaped in 1990, shortly after the EB5 was first introduced.

The board has a ton of fascinating details. There are almost too many to list! Lucky for you, this is the best blog on the internet for over-analyzing vintage surfboards.

First, you don’t see a ton of non-Campbell Brothers Bonzers, especially from this era. I’m guessing that McDonald produced the EB5 under his own label, in addition to the boards that he shaped alongside the Campbell Brothers.

You can clearly see the elevated wing design in the picture above. There are also some interesting-looking channels that seem to run up the length of the board and create something that reminds me of an exaggerated tri plane hull design.

The tail itself is also unusual. I’m not sure how to describe it — a winged thumb tail, maybe? Regardless of what it’s called, it definitely looks cool and futuristic, a good thirty years after the board was first shaped.

There’s quite a bit of nose rocker on the board, as evidenced by the photograph above.

If you look closely at the photos from the listing, you’ll notice there’s small “epoxy” text beneath the Clyde Beatty logo. Beatty, in addition to producing his own shapes, was known for experimenting with various epoxy glassing techniques, particularly with underground Santa Barbara shaping legend John Bradbury.

As a bonus, here’s another cool Max McDonald five fin Bonzer. It’s not explicitly branded as an EB5 but it has the same fin setup as well as McDonald’s signature elevated wings. Check out the tail on this board, too.

I’m just blown away by all the details on this Max McDonald EB5. The longer I look at it, the more I notice, and the more questions I have. I would love to hear some background on the thinking behind the various design elements, and how they effect the actual ride of the board. Overall the EB5 strikes me as the product of a very detail-oriented and creative shaper, and if nothing else, it’s fun to look at. Oh, and the price is right too: the seller is asking $150 for the board. Here’s a link to the listing if you’re in the market.

Winter Wishes: Clipz

Greetings, Shredderz! We’ve got a fresh batch of videos for your perusing pleasure. Without any further ado, here are some of my recent favorites:

Joel Tudor and son Tosh Tudor released a clip showcasing a recent Hawaii trip. Wish I knew more about the boards they’re surfing. I’m guessing at least some of the sticks were shaped by Stu Kenson and/or Todd Pinder (Tosh definitely had at least one Pinder-shaped surfboard for Pipe.) Tudor also posted a Stu Kenson-shaped Rick Rasmussen tribute, seen below, which I was hoping to see in the clip. Either way I love seeing these boards in some Hawaiian juice!

Mason Ho’s 2019 highlights are about as fun as you might expect. As an added bonus, Ho’s videos are some of the few surf clips I don’t have to watch on mute. It’s always nice to get some Jimi Hendrix alongside some top notch shredding. If watching Mason Ho surf doesn’t bring a smile to your face then you need to get your pulse checked.

We’ve covered Vissla’s “Start to Finish” series here before, and they’re back with a new episode featuring young surfer / shaper Derrick Disney. Disney walks us through some pretty funky designs. It’s cool and informative to hear Disney’s description of the theory behind the boards. He’s even better at surfing these boards than describing them. Sadly, the same cannot be said of yours truly, and that’s why I write a blog in my free time and Disney gets paid to surf.

Jamie O’Brien is probably best known for charging Pipeline death pits, putting soft tops through their paces, and his very successful vlog. He has also collected a bunch of rad boards, focusing on some awesome Eighties and Nineties pieces. For this entry, which is on Matt Archbold’s new “Archy’s Garage” YouTube channel, O’Brien and Archy link up and surf on some of Archy’s old equipment. Archy shows off a sweet Timmy Patterson-shaped channel bottom thruster from the late Eighties. Check out Patterson’s website for more shots of what he calls the Built for Speed model.

Tom Carroll for Quiksilver: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we resume our regularly scheduled scans of vintage surf ads, which is all part of the Sagas of Shred series. This week’s entry focuses on one of the greatest power surfers of all time: two time world champion Tom Carroll, riding for Quiksilver. This ad originally ran in the July 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 29, No 7). I love the tagline in the ad: “Real Surfers. Real Surfing. Real Boardshorts.” Carroll is definitely a real surfer, and that snap is genuine too, but uh, those board shorts are real snug. But hey, this is a vintage surfboard blog, not a fashion advice column, so I’ll choose to focus on the stick Carroll is riding.

Turns out I actually featured the photo above in an earlier post. You can see the board Carroll has here is the same one in the photo at the top of the page. While it has a Byrne Surfboards logo, you can see the board was actually shaped by North Shore craftsman Pat Rawson.

It has a very similar airbrush pattern to the 7’8″ Carroll rode during the 1991 Pipe Masters. Carroll performed an insane layback snap at Pipe that remains one of the defining moments of his career.

It looks like Carroll must have stayed with this airbrush design for years, given the Rawson board was surfed in 1988, and the Pipe Masters board was ridden a full three years later.

Another funny note of trivia about the 7’8″ Pipe Masters board: apparently Carroll snapped the 7’8″ shape during the finals, and an enterprising young Jamie O’Brien tried to sneak off with the nose before it was returned to Carroll. The whole thing is detailed in a Stab Magazine story, which you can find here.

Stussy Thruster: Artwork Galore

Greetings, Shredderz! If you’re a regular reader of the blog then you may already know that we like to examine Stussy surfboards at a level of detail that’s usually reserved for ancient texts and Renaissance art. It’s weird, I know. But hey — there’s a sweet Stussy surfboard for sale on eBay, and I don’t want to let anyone down by not giving it the usual Shred Sledz treatment.

The board is quite clearly a Stussy surfboard, but I believe it was actually shaped by Terry Martin. More on that later. In the meantime, the thing I dig most about the board is the artwork. Stussy is known for decorating his surfboards with tons of elaborate logos. This is but one of the many reasons they remain popular today.

The Stussy surfboard pictured above is a 6’6″ thruster, and I believe it was likely shaped in the late Eighties or early Nineties. I got the photos from the eBay listing, which can be found here. Don’t quote me on this one, but I want to say both the Double S Crown logo and the Rasta-inspired artwork can be found in “later” Stussy boards, versus ones from the early- to mid-Eighties.

The sheer amount of logos on the board might be overkill for some, but definitely not me.

What I love most are the tiny drawings sprinkled throughout. The martini glass logo you see above is small compared to the rest of the artwork on the board, but I like it just as much (if not more) than the more recognizable laminates.

And yes, even the glass-on fins have logos on them. I also love the stylized hand done lettering and Stussy’s inimitable copy: “Built for Those Livin'”, “When Itz Time to Relax”, “Positive Vibration Inna Rub a Dub Style”, etc.

This shit is art. Now, look: Shawn Stussy’s career certainly doesn’t need my stamp of approval. But I’m almost annoyed that his surfboards aren’t more valuable. The board you see above has been floating on eBay for over a week with no bites. And yet Kim Jones and Dior just based their latest collection on Stussy’s hand-drawn lettering, and vintage Stussy clothing is prized by collectors and streetwear aficionados. Even if the board wasn’t shaped by Stussy, as I suspect, I can’t believe that it can be had for less than $800. That’s a lot of money for a surfboard, I know. But how is this not modern art? What’s the difference between this board and, say, a pair of Stussy-designed Nike Dunks, other than the fact the sneakers cost $500 more? Now, I’m not buying it myself, so you would be justified in telling me to put my money where my mouth is. That said, I look at this surfboard and think of it as a unique creation from a notable artist. (I took exactly one art history course in college, so you’re not dealing with an expert here.) All that aside, though, the board and all the artwork look awesome, and I’d love to have it on display even if I didn’t surf.

It’s also worth mentioning that I believe the board was shaped by Terry Martin, and not Stussy himself. Martin is definitely no slouch himself; Surfer Magazine once estimated that he shaped more than 80,000 boards in his long and prolific career.

Here’s why I think the board was shaped by Martin. In the photo above you can see the laminate says “Design Concept Shawn Stussy.” I interpret this to mean that while Stussy “designed” the board, it wasn’t actually shaped by him. I have anecdotally heard that as the clothing brand began to pick up speed, Stussy shifted the surfboard production to Terry Martin. I don’t have proof of this, but I think there’s some good evidence suggesting the board wasn’t shaped by Stussy, at a minimum.

I say this because Stussy clearly signed many of his earlier shapes. See below for a few examples of some Stussy signatures.

The board pictured above is an Eighties Stussy thruster which I found on Surfboard Hoard. You can clearly see the signature, which appears to have been drawn by hand and in pencil. I believe it is under the glass as well. Note that it’s a signature and not a laminate or a logo.

Here’s another example of a Stussy signature, from an earlier board I wrote up, which remains one of the coolest Stussys I have ever seen.

As a rule of thumb, I don’t consider a board to be hand shaped by Stussy unless there is a clear handwritten signature on it, often in pencil and beneath the glass. Even so, it’s hard to put hard and fast rules in place, and I’m sure there are some exceptions floating out there.

You can check out the Stussy board on eBay here.

Social Media Roundup: Last of the Decade

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you are all enjoying the last few days of the decade. I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to 2019 than by checking out some sweet sticks, so without any further ado, here are some of my favorite social media posts from the past month or so.

Stab Magazine called Tom Curren’s Maurice Cole-shaped reverse vee “the most famous board ever shaped”, and it’s hard to argue with that description. The Surfer’s Journal recently weighed in with some cool trivia, letting us know that there were two boards with the signature yellow rails and logo-less design: a 7’3″, along with the more famous 7’8″ featured in Servais’ timeless cutback photo. The existence of the nearly identical 7’3″ and 7’8″ boards is described at length in the Stab Magazine article linked in the first sentence of the caption.

Here’s where things get weird: in last month’s Social Media Roundup I featured an Instagram post from Maurice Cole himself, posing alongside an 8’0″ board with the same reverse vee, yellow rails and blank logos. Cole also claims the 8’0″ was shaped in 1991, along with the 7’3″ and 7’8″. Does this mean there are actually three reverse vee boards, and not two? I figure if anyone knows it’s Maurice Cole, but consider me intrigued.

Rob Machado is a Pipeline Master, he gets paid to travel the world and surf his brains out, and he’s also got phenomenal hair. If you find yourself running out of reasons to be jealous of the dude — who, by all accounts, is a super nice guy — he also gets Skip Frye boards for Christmas. This one is a beautiful 7’11” Frye Nozzle.

Speaking of things I’d like to see under my Christmas tree, add a Marc Andreini balsa Serena model to the list. My 9’0″ Andreini Serena is probably my favorite board of all time. You can see Marc posing alongside a different board in the picture immediately above this caption — note the White Owl logo on the deck, whereas the first board doesn’t have any logos. The logo-less Serena is actually a gift to the woman whom the board was named after, which makes it even cooler.

There’s no special significance to this shot, which was taken by multi-hyphenate Andrew Kidman. It’s just a gorgeous photo of a skilled craftsman that highlights the beauty and skill of hand shaping surfboards. RIP Allan Byrne.

The Campbell Brothers have been featured in the Social Media Roundup countless times now. They always have cool tidbits from their decades long history with one of surfing’s most enduring designs. Here’s an early Hawaiian quiver from 1983, featuring a trio of sweet sleds. Check out that Cafe Haleiwa logo on the far left!