Price Checks: Skip Frye Fish Simmons and More

Greetings, Shredderz! As many of you know, I’m a keen observer of the Skip Frye secondary market. Unless you’re a plugged in San Diego local, the only way to get one of Skip’s creations is to find someone who’s willing to get rid of one. (I’ve also heard that you can place orders through Waves Forever, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who has actually gone through with an order.) The good news is there are a few of Skip’s boards listed for sale on Craigslist right now, including a very tasty looking Skip Frye Fish Simmons. Anyway, scroll more for the rundown on the boards, and some thoughts about the pricing. Also, it’s worth noting that since these boards are listed on Craigslist, I can only tell you asking prices. As for how much cash actually changes hands, your guesses are as good as mine.

Skip Frye Eagle Glider ($3,500) & Skip Frye Egg ($3,500)

Both boards are being offered up by the same seller, and both are in pretty gorgeous condition. The pricing is interesting in the sense that the seller is asking $3,500 for each board. The egg measures in at 8′ and the Skip Frye Eagle glider is 11′. In terms of pure foam, you’re getting more bang for your buck out of the Eagle. As for whether or not each price is “fair”…well, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but it’s really difficult to say. Either way, I’ve seen people charge way more for boards that aren’t in perfect condition the way these two are.

Skip Frye Fish Simmons ($2,200) and Skip Frye Egg Longboard ($1,800)

Just as we saw with the duo above, there’s another seller in San Diego who’s getting rid of two Skip Frye boards at the same time. The one pictured directly above is a 9′ egg shape with a 2+1 fin setup; the board above it is the famous Skip Frye Fish Simmons in a thruster configuration. PThe seller has kindly called out a repair that was done on the bottom, but other than that, it looks to be in pretty good condition. One interesting thing to note: the Skip Frye Fish Simmons was glassed at Pacific Surfglass, which I feel like you don’t see all that often. The egg was shaped at Moonlight, and it has the famous frog logo on the bottom. Looks like the egg was actually sold by The Board Source earlier, for a cheaper price as well.

Miscellaneous Used Skip Frye Boards

Finally, there are a few more boards floating around on Craigslist, all in various states. None of these boards are quite as nice as the ones above, but I still think it’s worth reviewing the prices.

8’1″ Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Pintail ($1,300): This board is being sold by The Board Source. It has been professionally restored.

7’6″ Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Single Fin ($650): If you’re wondering why this board is so cheap, well, it has had some big delams repaired, and the thing has been put through its paces. That said, it’s still the cheapest option by far. I can’t really say when either of the two G&S Skip Frye boards listed here were shaped.

7’6″ Skip Frye Magic Model ($1,250): This is also being sold by The Board Source. Likewise, this board has seen a decent amount of repairs.

8’0″ Skip Frye Egg ($1,150): Yes, it’s also being sold by The Board Source, who seem to have cornered the market on used Skip Frye sticks. Like the other ones, it has been repaired a decent amount.

First and foremost, please don’t interpret any discussion around the pricing to be a criticism. The Board Source sells a ton of rad boards and you should definitely give them a visit! That said, personally, I think the cheaper Frye boards inhabit an awkward area when it comes to pricing. I’m not saying the prices are wrong, but I would much rather shell out as much as an extra $1,000 to have the Skip Frye Fish Simmons, for example. Then again, that $1,000 could buy a different new stick, so I completely understand why people would disagree with that stance.

The moral of the story is pricing boards is hard, and it’s even more difficult when dealing with Skip’s boards, given how few exchange hands. As always, if you have a Skip Frye you’re just dying to give away, you know where to find me. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it somewhat helpful in gauging the market for used Skip Frye surfboards.

Christian Fletcher Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a modern day classic for you: a vintage Christian Fletcher Surfboards ad from 1989. Yeah, I know, it was just last week when I ran another Christian Fletcher ad as part of the Sagas of Shred series, but what can I say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (And actually, if you must know, both ads come from the same original source — the June 1989 issue of Surfing Magazine, Vol 25 No 6).

First, I love the simple but effective black and white motif going on. It almost reminds me of some early Volcom creative. It’s a fitting aesthetic for Christian Fletcher’s image as one of surfing’s punk antiheroes. What’s interesting to me about this Christian Fletcher Surfboards ad is it features an alternate logo. If you look closely, you’ll notice that in the logo in the lower left hand corner of the ad, you have a skeleton busting a frontside air.

However, the better known version of the Christian Fletcher logo features a skull framed by a perfect A frame peak:

Christian Fletcher Surfboards Steve Boysen Thruster 6'1 1
Here’s an example of the classic Christian Fletcher Surfboards logo, which features a skull against a wave background. The board above was shaped by Steve Boysen.

Truth be told, I like the classic version of the logo better, but I think they’re both pretty cool. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a board with the aerial version of the Fletcher logo, but I always have my eyes peeled. And actually, it looks like the board Fletcher is riding in the ad at the top of the page has the aerial logo, but it looks to me like it was edited in.

As always, thanks for visiting (and hopefully, even reading this far!) Next Thursday night we’ll have another vintage surf ad for even more Sagas of Shred.

Channel Islands Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’re featuring a board from a label I haven’t written about for some time, but one that remains an all time favorite: Channel Islands Surfboards. CI is the label of Al Merrick, one of the most influential shapers of all time, thanks to collaborations with at least three surfers who are immediately recognizable on a one-name basis: Curren, Slater and Tomson. My first ever surfboard was Nineties Channel Islands thruster, and ever since then, I’ve had a soft spot for the brand. Of course, this being a vintage surfboard blog, I love older CI boards, and you can imagine my delight when someone reached out with some photos of a beautiful Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull.

Click on either of the photos above to enlarge. Many thanks to Ryan, who shared the photos and story behind this sled. You can clearly see the double concave in the bottom (see the photo on the right). The double concave is one of the defining elements of Merrick’s Tri Plane Hull. Surfline recently ran an interview with Merrick in which he described the history and mechanics of the Tri Plane Hull design:

“Early on, the Tri Plane Hull was a big part of what I was doing. I started doing it in single fins. Actually, it was a take off on a Greenough bottom—not exactly like it, but a take off from it. I started using it on single fins then twin fins, and then on the thrusters. There was a lot of concave and curve about four inches from the rail, and then there was a double concave that went down between the fins. It was about lift and drive, giving it that extra punch, extra speed because [the concave] would straighten out the rocker through the center with the double concave. A bit of rocker through the tail, there was the vee back there so you had lift on either side. As you went side-to-side you’d get a little lift out of it, channeling the water between the fins. The Tri Plane was probably the most effective in the twin fins, but I used it in the Thrusters too. It was pretty popular with the guys and it gave the boards a lot more punch out of the bottom turn, and gave more drive to the board. It was probably a little easier [to ride] edge-to-edge—instead of having total concave across the bottom there was a lot of release on the edge of the board.”

Although I had never realized the Tri Plane Hull owed its history to Greenough, I can’t say I’m totally surprised, given Greenough’s near endless contributions to modern surfboard design. After a little digging I was able to find an example of a Sky Surfboards twin fin shaped by Michael Cundith. According to Von Weirdos, the Sky twin fin’s tri plane hull bottom was designed by Cundith, George Greenough and Chris Brock in the late Seventies. You can clearly see the resemblance between the Sky board and the Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull above.

Sky Michael Cundith Twin Fin Von Weirdos.jpg
Here’s a neat Sky Surfboards twin fin with a tri plane hull / double concave bottom designed by Michael Cundith, Chris Brock and George Greenough. Merrick, in turn, took inspiration from Greenough when designing the Tri Plane Hull. Photo via Von Weirdos

I’m still a bit taken aback by the dramatic double concave bottom in Ryan’s board, pictured at the top of the page. I’ve seen a few other CI Tri Plane Hulls and they seem to have much subtler concave bottoms. However, it’s hard to tell just by looking at photos, and unfortunately I haven’t seen any of these boards from this post in person.

Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull Single Fin eBay 5.jpg
Here’s another example of a Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull single fin, likely from the late Seventies or early Eighties. It’s hard to say for sure, but the double concave looks far less pronounced on this board than on Ryan’s single fin above. Pic via an old eBay auction.

Anyway, returning to Ryan’s board, it has a very clear Al Merrick signature on the stringer, which I have reproduced below. (For more, you should also check out an earlier blog post I wrote about how to identify Al Merrick hand shapes.)

Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull Al Merrick Signature .jpg
Close up of the signature on Ryan’s Tri Plane Hull. You have the fish design, and in a somewhat unusual touch, a full “Shaped by Al Merrick” signature.

Ryan’s Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull doesn’t have the classic “Al / Fish” icon as part of the signature, but I feel pretty comfortable declaring his board an Al Merrick hand shape. One note about the dates and the numbering: Ryan’s board is numbered #6653. The Tri Plane Hull I posted about on Instagram, which you can see further up in the post, is numbered #6044 and was apparently shaped in 1978. I’d roughly peg Ryan’s board as having been shaped in the late Seventies or maybe the early Eighties — assuming Merrick numbered his boards in order during this era.

Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull Bob Haakenson Logo
The Bob Haakenson logo is a welcome sight on any vintage Channel Islands stick!

It’s always worth noting that surfboard production involves more craftsmen than shapers. Bob Haakenson is one of Santa Barbara’s most distinguished surfboard glassers, and I always love seeing his logo on old Channel Islands boards. I recently had Haak repair a vintage Andreini single fin for me, which I’m still thrilled about, but that’s a subject for another post entirely.

Finally, Ryan’s board clocks in at 6’5″ x 20″ x 3″. Thanks again for sharing pics of this awesome piece of Santa Barbara surfing history, and if any of you Shredderz have some gems you’d like to see written up, you know where to find me!

Dave Parmenter on Surf Splendor Podcast

Greetings, Shredderz: how would you like to feel a lot dumber today? Now, I realize this is an unusual proposition, but trust me, in this case, it’s worth the hit to your ego. Because after you listen to Dave Parmenter on David Lee Scales’ Surf Splendor Podcast, you will likely come to the sudden and sickening realization that you actually know very little about how surfboards are built. Well, that was my reaction, at least. The flip side is this podcast is an excellent way to learn about surfboard manufacturing and history from one of the most fascinating shapers on the entire planet. This is actually just the first part of a four part series, and I’m eager to dig into the rest. Parmenter is brilliant and captivating, and even if none of the technical details stick, you’ll probably leave with a strong urge to order one of this beautiful Aleutian Juice shapes. You can listen to the podcast below, but also give some thought to supporting Surf Splendor via a donation, as it is an all-around excellent podcast.

Finally, just for kicks, here’s a photo of some candy coated Aleutian Juice sleds being prepped for some very lucky customers:

Christian Fletcher Style Eyes Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Have I got a curveball for you: here’s an ad featuring legendary surf rebel Christian Fletcher in a spiffy black tie getup. It’s a pretty dramatic departure from Fletcher’s reputation as a tattoo covered, mohawk sporting, chainsmoking anti establishment figure. But hey, Fletcher cleans up nice! This ad originally appeared in the June 1989 issue of Surfing Magazine (Vol 25, No 6).

Thanks for reading and check back in next Thursday night for more vintage surf ads as part of our Sagas of Shred series.

Acid Splash Harbour Spherical Revolver

Greetings, Shredderz! I’m not much of a Halloween guy, but I do have a nice little treat for you all: an exceedingly groovy Transition Era Harbour Spherical Revolver, complete with an eye catching acid splash paint job. The board is currently for sale on Craigslist, and it’s listed at a not-offensive $450. You can find a link to the Craigslist post here. All photos here are via Craigslist.

Harbour Spherical RevolverHarbour Spherical Revolver Bottom

I hesitate to say what the fin is; frankly I always get confused by these Transition Era fins and I end up being wrong more times than not. So I’ll decline to comment until someone fills me in! The board isn’t perfect — check out the Craigslist link for a closeup of a bit of the water damage around the nose — but it’s a lovely Transition Era shape and the color on the deck is killer. All in all, I think this is a fair deal for a very cool, approximately fifty year old (!) board.

You can check out the Harbour Spherical Revolver on Craigslist here.

Social Media Roundup: Autumnal Awesomeness

Greetings, Shredderz! By now you may know the drill: here’s a collection of some of my favorite vintage surfboard related social media posts from the past month or so. Keep scrolling for more.

I believe this photo was actually taken and published by Jeff Booth’s dad. True story: as a seventeen year old “grom” one my first surf experience was attending a Quiksilver surf camp in Montauk. Jeff Booth was the resident pro that day, and not only was he nice enough to push me into a wave, he politely declined to point out the fact that I was five to ten years older than all the other campers. Thanks Jeff — I owe you for that one! Anyway, peep that killer Eighties Stussy stick, complete with the NSSA lams. (The photo at the top of the page features Booth in a later ad for Stussy Surfboards.) I’m also trying to zoom in on the Stussy logo beneath the NSSA sticker, but can’t quite make out what it might be.

I love vintage Yater single fins. This one is classic: all clean lines and understated cool. This is a grown ass man’s surfboard.

Here’s a killer Town and Country twin fin. Make sure you scroll through all of the pics, including the beautiful glassed on fins with the T&C yin yang logo. Lots of people go nuts over the Eighties T&C boards with the crazy airbrushes — and I love them, too — but I think the slightly earlier T&C vintage boards are every bit as cool.

View this post on Instagram

Presents Expression Session 5: California Dreamin’

A post shared by Surfboardsandcoffee (@surfboardsandcoffee) on

Surfboards and Coffee held their latest event this month, and by all accounts, it was a doozy! They collected a bunch of boards with some amazing airbrushes. Shout out to all my Airbrush Aficionados out there!

Now this is a vintage Liddle flex! Happy that Mr. Casagrande spares “younger guys” like me — I’m in my mid thirties, do I still count? — but regardless, respect to the hull trailblazers. And how dope is that board?

Last but not least we have a rare and beautiful Surfboards Haleiwa single fin shaped by none other than Mike Diffenderfer. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Diff board under the Surfboards Haleiwa label before, but this one is so cool. Love the resin pin lines, the bold red bird logo on the bottom, and the unmistakable outlines of a classic Seventies single fin.

Weekend Grab Bag: Takayama Surfing’s New Image, Vintage Dick Brewer Single Fin, and More…

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of the Grab Bag, where I’ll spotlight some of the cooler boards I saw for sale recently. Keep reading for more, including a Takayama Surfing’s New Image single fin, a vintage Dick Brewer single fin, and a few other rad sledz…

Donald Takayama Surfing’s New Image Single Fin (eBay)

I think this Surfing’s New Image Donald Takayama single fin is super duper rad. First of all, you don’t always see a ton of Takayama / SNI boards floating around. Second, the board looks to be in decent, though not perfect, condition. This looks like it would be a fun board to ride, and of course, it also has Takayama’s name going for it. The cost is $575, plus shipping. I can’t say this is cheap, but I also don’t think it’s crazy. On a related note, below for my all-time favorite Surfing’s New Image Donald Takayama board:

Vintage Dick Brewer Single Fin (Craigslist — San Clemente)

Truth be told, I’m not entirely this vintage Dick Brewer single fin was shaped by Brewer himself. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still a sweet board. I’m intrigued by the shape, which is stubbier and has a wider tail than I would have expected, given its a Seventies single fin. But what really throws me off is the “RB Design” signature on the stringer. I have never seen this on a Brewer board before. Maybe I’m reading too much into the fact that it says “design”, but to me, this word could easily signal the fact that the board could have been shaped by someone else. It’s also far different than any other Dick Brewer signature I have seen. Either way, it’s a neat board, though I think at $600 maybe a bit too rich for me.

 

Two Seventies Natural Progression Single Fins (Craigslist — Santa Barbara; Craigslist — Los Angeles)

Seventies Natural Progression Single Fin.jpg

I think Natural Progression is one of the great unsung California surfing labels of all time. The brand had some great shapers — Phil Becker, Robbie Dick et al — and a phenomenal logo. And what more could you need? The board featured above is a real doozy, and it has an appropriate price tag to match. I dig the triple stringer setup, the wing swallow tail setup, and it has a killer original Rainbow Fin, too. $600 for a vintage surfboard is hardly ever cheap, but I understand the logic here.

I actually featured the second Naturally Progression board on my Instagram a few months back, and it is up for sale once more. It is shaped by Robbie Dick and it has a “ghost” Natural Progression label consisting of just the famous outline. The seller is asking $375 for this board, which I think is a decent price.

 

Occy Billabong Ad: Sagas of Shred

First, let me say that I am a huge Occy fan. For a while Occy was my favorite surfer, and his redemptive 1999 World Championship campaign was a huge inspiration to your Shreditor in Chief. Occ’s legacy is not only a spot on power surfing’s Mount Rushmore, but also a space as one of the most beloved Aussie characters ever to hit surfing. Occy’s still going strong today, and if you haven’t yet had a chance, I urge you to check out The Occ Cast. I never pegged Occy for a talk show host, but it turns out his guileless charm makes him a natural. Anyway, as you can see, I’ll sing Mr Occhilupo’s praises until the cows come home…but all that said, this Occy Billabong ad is downright hilarious.

The ad originally ran in Surfing Magazine in 1987 (Vol 27, No 2). I’m guessing the campaign must have been shot right after the peak of Occy’s early fame, on the heels of his back-to-back OP Pro finals against Tom Curren.

The clothes in this Occy Billabong ad are par for the course for the Eighties — that is to say, totally ridiculous — but I’m also oddly fascinated by the girl at the right hand side of the picture. Then again, there is a lot about Eighties surf ads that I will never understand, but that doesn’t stop me from getting a huge kick out of them.

Billabong and founder Gordon Merchant famously stood by Occy during his late Eighties / early Nineties swoon, and were rewarded with his feel good comeback win following Kelly Slater’s first retirement. In a way, Billabong is just as much a part of the Occy story as, say, a searing backhand attack at Bells Beach. It’s odd to say that now, when surf brands have hit an all-time low in terms of cultural relevance, but I’ll always associate Occy with his longtime sponsor.

As always, thank you for reading Sagas of Shred, and give us another visit next Thursday night for more vintage surf ads!

Shawn Stussy Thruster for Michael Tomson of Gotcha

Greetings, Shredderz! The board I’m writing up today is one of the coolest I have ever seen. By now some readers might know that Shawn Stussy is a favorite of this humble vintage surfboard blog. Stussy’s Eighties thrusters are likely his most popular shapes, and for good reason. But what makes this Shawn Stussy thruster special is the fact it was shaped for none other than Gotcha founder Michael Tomson.

First and foremost, a big shout out to Rob, who owns the board above, for sharing the photos you see in this post. He’s on Instagram here.

Anyway, back to the board in question. By now we all know Shawn Stussy’s legacy as a renowned surfboard shaper and an early streetwear pioneer. But early on, Michael Tomson looked to be on the exact same trajectory, having transitioned from a pro surfing career to founding Gotcha, which was one of the hottest labels in surfing during its heyday. It’s also worth noting that Tomson ripped.

Michael Tomson Pipeline.jpg
MT charging Pipeline, as featured in a Gotcha ad. I believe this ad was likely from the mid Nineties or so, given the logo. Photo via Adventure Sports Network

Sadly, Gotcha no longer exists today, but at one point the label was producing some truly interesting work, including the legendary “If you don’t surf…don’t start” ad campaign. More importantly, Gotcha’s early logo was actually designed by Shawn Stussy!

As you can see from the Instagram post above, Stussy and Tomson’s history goes back to the early Eighties. This isn’t totally surprising, given Stussy’s Laguna Beach roots, which also was home to Gotcha’s offices.

Gotcha Ad Gary Busey.jpg
Example of another Gotcha ad, this one plucked from Tomson’s own website. My guess is this ad was late Eighties / early Nineties but I’m not sure.

Befitting Gotcha’s raw, in your face style, Tomson was one of the most outrageous characters on the surf scene at the time. Sadly, Tomson’s hard charging lifestyle has lost a considerable amount of its romance, given Gotcha’s eventual fade and a string of drug arrests that occurred well into middle age.

I love the fact this surfboard was not only shaped by Stussy, but also created for a true character who happened to be a world class surfer. And even if you don’t care about Tomson’s colorful history, well, at the end of the day, the board is still a Stussy thruster, with all the details and flourishes that make his boards so collectible.

Of course, the board wouldn’t be complete without a Gotcha logo — beneath the glass, naturally. You can also see an additional Stussy signature on the deck right above the tail.

What really gets me going are the awesome hand drawn logos found on the Stussy thruster. The planer laminate is one I don’t believe I have seen on any other Stussy boards. And how cool is that Stussy Team laminate?! That must have been the ultimate Eighties surfing street cred accessory. I love the touch of having the logo on the glass on fins, too — I wish more shapers did this nowadays.

You might be wondering what kind of psycho writes five hundred plus words about an Eighties surfboard. Well, I regret nothing, because this Stussy thruster shaped for Michael Tomson is an absolute gem. Thanks again to Rob for generously sharing the pics of the board — you can follow him on Instagram here.