Shawn Stussy “The Brotherhood” for Russell Surfboards

For the most part, there are few things I enjoy more than discovering unusual vintage surfboards and writing about them. Today’s post, however, is written with a heavy heart, as an absolutely primo example of a Shawn Stussy The Brotherhood board popped up for sale on Craigslist at a decent price, and then was snapped up by someone else.

Here at Shred Sledz we celebrate anything and everything related to Monsieur Stussy, whether it’s his Echo Beach boards of the 1980s, or his latest shapes, which he creates under his new S Double label.

For a long time, however, I have been fascinated with Stussy’s work for Russell Surfboards. On one hand, the thrusters and twin fins Stussy shaped for his eponymous brand in the 1980s are among some of the most collectible items from the entire decade. For whatever reason, the boards Stussy shaped for Russell Surfboards in the 1970s aren’t nearly as expensive. See here for an earlier post I wrote about Stussy’s work for Russell Surfboards.

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A young Shawn Stussy with a pair of sleek single fin missiles. Date, photographer and source unknown, but judging from the outlines of the boards, I would guess this photograph was taken during the Seventies, during Stussy’s days at Russell Surfboards.

The Brotherhood refers to a crew of Orange County surfers that coalesced around Russell Surfboards and Newport Beach. (Not to be confused with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a group of Laguna Beach hippies turned drug dealers that counted Mike Hynson among its associates.) You’ll often see The Brotherhood referred to in early Russell ads from the era.

While I love Stussy The Brotherhood boards, it’s also apparent that as an artist, Stussy had yet to come into his own in the 1970s. My favorite thing about Stussy’s 80s boards are the intricate graphic designs that appear everywhere. By contrast, the graphics that appear on Stussy The Brotherhood shapes don’t have quite the same level of polish as those on his 80s designs. I also wrote up another Russell Surfboards 70s single fin a few weeks back, with a graphic that looked suspiciously like a Stussy drawing (John Gothard, a Stussy team rider in the 1980s, also agrees!).

In any event, I can’t get enough of the 70s Stussy The Brotherhood single fin pictured above. Other than a bent original fin and a noticeable repair on the upper rail, the board is still in great condition. I love the clean, classic 70s single fin lines, and the triple stringer is a nice touch, too. Of course, the Stussy graphic on the deck is the star of the show, too.

If you bought the Stussy The Brotherhood board pictured above, and you have more info to share, please drop me a line! Until then, the hunt for a 70s Stussy grail continues…

Pat Curren Surfboards Ad from the Sixties: Sagas of Shred

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Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred, Shred Sledz’s very own ode to some of the greatest advertisements from surfing’s past. Today we have a very special feature for you: an old Pat Curren Surfboards ad taken from an issue of Surfer Magazine published in the 1960s.

Nowadays it might be easiest to think of Pat Curren as father to Tom Curren, who was the most famous American surfer to come along before the seemingly never-ending reign of our current king, the inimitable Robert Kelly Slater. But before Tom sent tongues wagging at the Op Pro, Pat Curren had established a career as a big wave charger and a well-regarded shaper.

Pat Curren surfboards are still extremely collectible, and they’re also not very easy to find. SHACC — the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center — has a blog post featuring an awesome Pat Curren spear, as they call it, that has been crafted entirely out of balsa. If you have a chance, I highly recommend the blog post, as it has a bunch of fantastic old pictures of Pat Curren shaping some of his designs.

At first I wondered if the smiling grom in the ad to the left might have been Tom Curren himself. Considering the ad ran in 1963, however, either this is a different grom, or simply the second-most impressive thing Tom Curren has ever done, behind the impeccable surfing he displayed on his first-ever wave at South Africa’s J-Bay.

By now, faithful Shredderz, I believe you know the drill: check back in next Thursday for Sagas of Shred and some more wonderful relics from surfing’s past.

As always, thank you for reading!

Harbour Spherical Revolver with Variant Logo

Greetings, Shredderz! Craigslist has been a real treasure trove of interesting surfboards lately, meaning this pro bono blogger has had his hands full with things to write about. Today’s post concerns one of the cooler named boards to come out of surfing’s famous Transition Era: the Harbour Spherical Revolver.

The board pictured above recently popped up for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. Pics are via the listing, which you can find here.

The Spherical Revolver was invented in 1969 when Mark Martinson, then a Harbour team rider, caught a glimpse of Nat Young surfing a shortboard. Martinson dashed off a letter to Rich Harbour describing how he wanted his own version of Nat’s board, and this later became the Harbour Spherical Revolver we all know and love today.

There are two extremely interesting details about the example pictured above. First is the logo: note that the word “Spherical” does not appear anywhere on the board. Contrast this to the standard Spherical Revolver logo, which has the same “Revolver” text, but has a much more detailed graphic to go along with it.

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Classic version of the Harbour Spherical Revolver logo taken from another board. Compare this to the one at the top of the page. The board featured in the post is missing the graphics as well as the “Spherical” text.

The other interesting aspect about the board at the top of the page is the fact it doesn’t have a wooden stringer. Instead, it has a stringer made of high-density foam, which is much thicker. Compare the logo shot immediately above with the close-up of the deck at the top of the page.

I’m not quite sure what to make of the Spherical Revolver featured here, other than to say it’s unlike any other I have seen. It is the only example I know of that features either the high-density foam stringer or the variant logo, much less both at the same time. There are some other cool touches, too: the pics clearly show the displacement hull bottom, and what looks like the original W.A.V.E. Set fin is included, too. The seller is asking $400, which is a bit steep in my opinion, but it’s also a very unique example of a Harbour Spherical Revolver.

You can check out the board here.

Natural Progression Surfboard Duo

Greetings, Shredderz! By now, longtime readers of the blog might know that I have a huge soft spot for vintage California surf brands, like Rick Surfboards, the eponymous label of the late Rick Stoner; Zephyr, Jeff Ho’s legendary Dogtown marque; John Bradury’s Creative Freedom label, and Hot Lips, just to name a few. For all the richness of California’s surf history, I remain baffled that more people haven’t taken an interest in lesser-known labels and shapers. One brand whose underground status I find particularly baffling is Natural Progression. I hate to be so shallow, but LA-based Natural Progression boasts one of the all-time great logos from the 1970s. (Can you tell where Aviator Nation might have gotten their steez?) You’ll see a Natural Progression surfboard pop up on eBay and Craigslist here and there, but from what I can tell, these boards aren’t quite as collectible as other 1970s shapes. That’s a shame, because Natural Progression not only boasts a legit roster of shapers — including Scott Anderson and Owl Chapman — but the brand just seems pretty dang cool, too.

If you are in the market for a Natural Progression surfboard, there are two examples currently for sale on Craigslist right now.

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Gotta love those clean lines! Natural Progression single fin; shaper unknown.

The first board, pictured above, is a beautiful jade-colored 1970s single fin that is listed for sale on Craigslist near Ventura, California. You can find the original listing here. It’s hard to ascertain the exact condition of the board. I don’t see any major issues, but there is no fin, and it looks like there are some dings here and there that may require some work. Still, at $375, my first reaction is to say this is pretty reasonably priced (as always, though, you can never know for sure until you see the board in person). I love the color of the board, the pinline work, and of course, the contrast between Natural Progression’s incredible rainbow logo and the rest of the deck.

The other Natural Progression surfboard for sale on Craigslist can be found in San Diego. You can find the listing here. I love the little details on this board, as well, beginning with the wings in the tail, the swallowtail design, and the triple stringer. What really struck me about the swallowtail Natural Progression single fin was a closeup shot of the signature. I believe that the blue Natural Progression surfboard pictured above was likely shaped by Phil Becker, who is famous for being one of the most prolific shapers in California history.

The picture to the above left is taken from the blue swallowtail Natural Progression surfboard; the signature on the top right was taken from a 1970s Rick single fin. The signatures look identical, from the bullet points bracketing the text, to the “76-xxx” number scheme. In fact, it looks like both boards were shaped during 1976. I’m not sure why Phil Becker would not have signed the Natural Progression surfboard. Stoked-n-Board confirms that Becker shaped for Natural Progression from 1972 to 1978.

The Phil Becker Natural Progression board is being offered at $275, which seems like a great deal. Note, however, that there is a decent chunk of the swallowtail that has been replaced, although the listing is quite clear about the repair.

There are some cool examples of Natural Progression boards floating around online. However, I will note that Buggs, the famous collector behind Surfboardline.com, has a feature on Natural Progression, which is a pretty good stamp of approval. Boardcollector.com has a pristine twin fin that is absolutely worth the click, too.

You can check out the boards here and here.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (Jan 14)

Greetings, Shredderz, and welcome to the inaugural Social Media Roundup of 2018! Keep scrolling for some of my favorite selections from Instagram over the past few months.

Wave tool! @craig__anderson

A post shared by johnrespondek (@johnrespondek) on

Love this picture of Craig Anderson on an old-school Wave Tools / Lance Collins twin fin. Check out Board Collector for a behind-the-scenes look of this photoshoot, which I believe originally ran in Stab Magazine.

It’s coming soon, kids! The California Gold Surf Auction is going to rear its head around these parts pretty soon, and you can always count on those folks bringing out the heat. Pictured above is an Owl Chapman gun alongside a Yater single fin bearing the super rare Yater Hawaii laminate.

I thought the most recent Star Wars flick was just decent, but Herbie Fletcher’s incredible sci fi airbrush above gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from the Shred Sledz editorial staff. Love the look of the board, too: I’ve seen a lot of Herbie’s squared off noseriders, but I haven’t seen nearly as many of his shorter single fins with the same design.

You know how incredible this snap is? Imagine, for a moment, a surfing maneuver so radical and boundary-defining that it even grants the surfer a free pass for wearing the footwear TC’s rocking in that picture. I kid, I kid, because Carroll has heaps of style where it actually counts: in the water and on the most critical parts of the wave. I love that he’s posing with the board in question, which, despite the Byrne laminates, was actually shaped by Pat Rawson. You can see Rawson’s signature on the tail.

1960s Hang Ten Ad Featuring Bing, Hobie and Dewey Weber: Sagas of Shred

That’s right, folks: it’s Thursday, and Sagas of Shred keeps rolling along. Today we have another ad from an issue of Surfer Magazine from the 1960s, featuring classic surfwear brand Hang Ten. To be honest, it was only recently that I realized that Hang Ten’s history went back so far. Sadly, Hang Ten was purchased by some faceless conglomerate a few years ago, and today it churns out uninspired interpretations of California cliches. But I digress. In contrast, the Hang Ten ad pictured above is completely bitchin’. It features three of the greatest shapers of the 1960s, all of whom have gone on to become boldfaced names in the world of surfing: Bing Copeland, Hobie Alter and Dewey Weber (and of course, all three shapers’ respective better halves).

I love that all the shapers are posing alongside some of their creations. Weber’s board, in particular, looks enticing. I’m guessing it’s some sort of big-wave gun, whereas Bing and Hobie both have longboards that look like pretty standard issue for the 1960s. Weber’s board looks like it has to be at least 10′ in length, and the pintail stands in stark contrast to the wide-hipped Hobie and Bing examples.

One common pattern in these vintage ads is the unusual amount of crossover. For example, you would never see a Hurley ad running today featuring Jon Pyzel, Matt Biolos and Hayden Cox (least of all because the latter two gentlemen also sell clothing themselves). I suppose this was a byproduct of the tight-knit surfing scene in the 1960s, when it had yet to become a global multi-billion dollar industry. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Olden Days were better — after all, forty years from now, someone is going to be waxing nostalgic about the world before Kelly’s Wave Pool took over the world — but there’s an undeniable sense of optimism in many of these early surf advertisements.

As always, thank you for reading, and tune in next week for another installment of Sagas of Shred!

Making a Splash: Jacobs Mike Purpus V Redux

Greetings, Shredderz! We’re back with another sterling example of one of the most popular boards in Shred Sledz history: the Jacobs Mike Purpus V. Purpus’ second signature model under the Jacobs label — the first was a standard noserider — is an appropriately radical design for a pretty radical dude.

The board pictured above comes courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Steve Wray. Pick your jaws up off the floor and put your wallets away — this bad boy is not for sale.

Shred Sledz’s aesthetic veers more towards the neon of the 80s, but there’s no denying the appeal of the colorful acid splash paint job on the board above. I stumbled across a color version of an old Body Glove ad, which I had featured in the initial Mike Purpus V post, and was shocked to see one of the boards featured is almost identical to Mr. Wray’s example.

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Now THIS is a quiver. Check out the board second from right. It has a remarkably similar acid splash paint job to Steve Wray’s board, which is featured in this post.

Mr. Wray was also kind enough to provide some close-up shots of the tail and the fin area of his Jacobs Mike Purpus V. Check out the all-original W.A.V.E. Set fin, whose color is best described as cough syrup purple (I mean that in a good way). You can clearly see the pronounced vee in tail, as well as the dramatically domed deck.

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Finally, I was able to uncover a few old Jacobs Surfboards advertisements that featured Mike Purpus. The first actually features Purpus in tandem with Robert August. I’m guessing this is a board from when Purpus was a teenager, based on the fact that both Purpus and Roberts are shown riding longboards.

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Vintage Jacobs ad featuring Robert August and Mike Purpus. Purpus can be seen on the bottom. I believe this is from Purpus’ earlier days riding for the label, but I’m not certain. Pic via Easy Reader News

The second ad is for the Jacobs Mike Purpus V Model, courtesy of Liquid Salt. The graphic design on this ad can only be described as groovy as heck.

Finally, here’s another shot of Purpus, riding a shortboard, this one from famed Southern California boardshorts company Katin. You can see Purpus at the top right.

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Katin ad from 1973 featuring Purpus at the top right. Pic via Katin USA

Many thanks to Steve Wray for sending pictures of his beautiful acid splash Jacobs Mike Purpus V Model! As always, if you own a rare and / or interesting board and you’re interested in having it featured on Shred Sledz, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Shred on and thanks for reading!