Greetings, Shredderz! One of the things I enjoy most about writing this blog is unearthing lesser-known bits of surf history. In particular, I love geeking out on shapers’ more obscure boards: Dick Brewer shaping under the Lahaina Surf Designs label during the Sixties (yes, the acronym is intentional); Shawn Stussy’s stint at Russell Surfboards; and a Donald Takayama sting created under the Aipa / Surfing’s New Image label, just to name a few.
I know I say this about just about every shaper, but to me, Jeff Ho is one of the more fascinating figures in the rich history of California surf culture. Jeff Ho is the mastermind behind legendary Zephyr Surfboards, which played an instrumental role in defining surf and skate culture during the Seventies and beyond.
Jeff Ho and Zephyr are so intertwined, it never occurred to me that he might have shaped boards for another label. Thus my mind was absolutely blown when I saw an early Jeff Ho shape for Blue Cheer Surfboards pop up on my Instagram feed. Blue Cheer Surfboards was a Los Angeles label that mostly operated during the Seventies, and was home to people like Tim Phares, Clyde Beatty Jr, Mike Perry, and Wayne Miyata. The post came courtesy of Sean Tully, an LA-based artist and surfer, who shared the entire backstory of the board on his Instagram account. I highly recommend checking out the entire thing below:
Been waiting years to get my hands on a @therealjeffho surfboard. They’re not easy or cheap to come by and rightfully so. The universe shined on me last week finally. . A couple days back I was casually giving craigslist a look over for surfboards as I occasionally do. I’m not nearly as engaged in the hunt on CList like some of my comrades. However occasionally I look and last week I glanced at a yellow single fin unnamed and priced at $250 obo. Template looked amazing from the post and I’m a sucker for diamond tails so I messaged the guy and offered what I could afford ($170). He was game! Went and picked up the board the following day and sure enough it was a beauty! Guy didn’t know how good he had it. But he was stoked on the payment and I was psyched on the board so it really was a great deal for us both. . Upon receiving the board I took notice to the “Blue Cheer” logo and knew slightly about its Los Angeles origins. I needed to know more and rang up Uncle Jeff Ho for some schooling. – Me, “What’s the story with Blue Cheer?” – Jeff, “What about them?” – Me, “What’s the story?” – Jeff, “Why you ask?” – Me, “Well I got a board.” – Jeff, “Ohhh reallly?!!” . So Uncle Jeff starts asking specific questions about the board; it’s pin lines, it’s bottom contours, the nose, etc. By the end of our conversation I got the informative behind the scenes history of Santa Monica’s Blue Cheer Surfboards and Jeff’s brief legacy with them prior to going off on his own with Zephyr Surfboards. Turns out this board was shaped by Jeff in 1970. It was glassed by his mate Orlando with gloss/pinlines by the legendary Wayne Miyata. The board is a full on time period piece specific to an era of Jeff’s life that was pretty pure at the time. We were both blown away that the board made its way back to home and in the hands of someone who cared for the right reasons. . Promised Uncle Jeff I’d take care of her and ride it often when the waves permit. Just after leaving I took the board to Malibu and had a blast! Definitely a gem and definitely not going back on craigslist. . And so the legend continues… .
As it turns out, I had saved some pictures of the Jeff Ho Blue Cheer Surfboards shape a while back, when it was still kicking around on Craigslist. As far as I can see, there are no signatures or markings anywhere that indicate it’s a Jeff Ho shape. Click on the photos below to enlarge:
The Jeff Ho Blue Cheer Surfboards shape is a 6’6″ single fin that was shaped in 1970, per the caption on the Instagram post above. As you can see from the pics, it’s still in remarkable condition, especially considering that it’s almost fifty years old. It’s rad to know the board has found its way back home, and I’m just as excited by the new information on the pre-Zephyr days of Jeff Ho’s legendary career. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and I hope you enjoyed this mini-discovery as much as I did!