Before we start, I’d like to make one thing clear: this might be a free country, but Shred Sledz is a blog that will not tolerate any slander of Tom Curren whatsoever. This is non-negotiable.
That said…I’d like to know who at OP in the Eighties thought it would be a good idea to cast Curren as a would-be heartthrob for these advertisements. Again, in case the previous paragraph wasn’t clear, the blame is being laid squarely at the feet of the once-ubiquitous surf brand, and not with the most stylish regular foot of all time.
But this is marketing malpractice! Why is the picture of Curren gazing off into the distance approximately eight times the size of him ripping on a signature Channel Islands Al Merrick stick?
And while I’d like to be outraged by the Ocean Pacific ad featured above…at the end of the day, I can’t bring myself to truly dislike it, no matter how ridiculous the photoshoot might be. In fact, if anyone knows where I could find a version of the shirt Curren is rocking in the ad, I’d definitely be interested (though I don’t think I’m capable of actually pulling it off).
As a palate cleanser, please enjoy Tom Curren’s first-ever wave he rode at Jeffreys Bay. Curren famously refused to visit South Africa for years, due to his objections to Apartheid. This footage was shot by the legendary Sonny Miller. Fast forward to the 1:43 mark to see some truly virtuoso level surfing:
As always, thank you for reading, and check back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a board that comes courtesy of another reader. Shout out to Dan for sharing the stoke of this incredible Chuck Vinson shape (you can check him out on Instagram here). I’ve written about Chuck Vinson before. The earlier post I wrote featured a Vinson-shaped single fin that was produced under his own name. Vinson also produced boards for Lightning Bolt during its heyday of the mid-1970s, when Bolt was not just the most famous surfboard label in the world, but the surfboard brand, period. Dan had this Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt single fin shaped for him during the 1970s. Apparently Dan had Vinson shape him three boards, and this one remains.
As you can see, Dan’s Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt has all the classic lines you would expect of a 70s single fin crafted to tackle powerful Hawaiian surf. Sadly, Lightning Bolt’s well-documented struggles with intellectual property meant that their signature logo was copied throughout the decade, but the board pictured above is the real deal.
By far my favorite detail about the Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt is the glass on fin, which is partially made out of wood.
Wooden fins seem to have fallen out of favor recently — I’m not sure why, as you’ll still see the occasional glass on fiberglass examples — but it’s not for a lack of aesthetics!
I have actually seen another example of a Vinson board with a similar wooden fin. The example below was taken from a board Vinson made under the Santa Cruz label.
Many thanks to Dan for sharing the photos of his incredible Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt single fin. RIP to Mr Vinson, who sadly passed away last year. Thank you for reading, and if you have any other Chuck Vinson boards you’d like to share, please do get in touch.
Greetings, Shredderz! Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek name of this humble blog fool you: we are huge fans of classy, old school surfboard brands, too. There are few labels classier than Surfboards Hawaii. For starters, Surfboards Hawaii boasts an incredible collection of shaping talent, from Dick Brewer to Ben Aipa and Donald Takayama. And if history really isn’t your bag, well, Surfboards Hawaii boards happen to look great, too. Today’s post features a vintage Surfboards Hawaii longboard with an unusual touch. Keep reading below for more…
The Surfboards Hawaii longboard pictured above was recently listed on eBay. It sold for a tidy $899, and someone almost certainly paid shipping, given that the board was located in Indianapolis, of all places. The board has an absolutely gorgeous stringer setup with a simple but striking red, white and blue color scheme. I’m guessing it’s high density foam sandwiched between two wooden stringers, but I’m not sure.
The fin looks to be all original as well. I’m not sure what these fin boxes are called, but they are fairly common on boards from this era. I would guess the Surfboards Hawaii longboard featured here was shaped sometime during the mid-1960s or so.
One odd touch about the Surfboards Hawaii longboard in this post is the logo, or, to be exact, the lack thereof.
The board’s logo is the classic Oahu outline that you see on many Surfboards Hawaii boards. However, there is no text on the logo, which is unusual. If you look closely in the photo above you’ll notice there’s a little rectangle that is less faded than the surrounding area. I’m guessing there may have been a smaller laminate that was originally located in this space, but somehow got removed or fell off.
Pictured above is another example of a Surfboards Hawaii longboard, which comes from a “Nose Rider” model. The Nose Rider has what looks like a high density foam stringer sandwiched by two much thinner redwood stringers. One small touch I found interesting was the difference in the Oahu silhouettes in both Surfboards Hawaii logos. The blank logo has more detail around Pearl Harbor, towards the south western corner of the island.
No one loves surfboard minutiae more than I do, but with surfboards, unlike cars or watches, there really doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for many of the unusual variants that pop up. I’m not quite sure how to explain this Surfboards Hawaii longboard and its blank logo. I think it easily could have been a mistake at the factory, and it’s also possible that the text was somehow rubbed off the board, too. Regardless, it’s a very cool example of an original board from a classic label, and I’m not surprised to see that it got snapped up quickly by an eagle eyed collector.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, by now you probably know that the one-man Shred Sledz staff has a soft spot for the surfboards of the 80s. And in a decade filled to the brim with colorful characters and even more eye-catching boards, Martin Potter stands out. Pottz’s “Saint” Town & Country twin fin is his most famous board. In fact, its signature green and yellow spray job is still emulated today. The Blue Hawaii Pottz Model might not be as famous, but it’s a stick that has many fans, especially for examples bearing the signature blue flame airbrush around the rails.
The photo featured above is an old Blue Hawaii ad that appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1988. Blue Hawaii was a surfboard brand that is sadly no more. I believe Blue Hawaii was founded by shaper Glenn Minami, who was the original shaper behind Pottz’s famous “Saint” twin fin. Stoked-n-Board claims Blue Hawaii was founded in 1984. I’m guessing Minami must have left Town & Country around the same time, and brought Pottz with him shortly afterwards.
The other thing that’s interesting about the ad is the customizable “bullseye” spray job that could be applied to boards. I have scoured the internet for examples of a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model with a bullseye design, but I was only able to find one. Even so, I think the example below is a custom spray job for an actual Martin Potter personal rider, versus a mass-produced version that is offered in the advertisement. I’m wondering if the board on the far right was actually the inspiration for the bullseye design in the ad.
I also can’t get enough of the shipping rates. Granted, the advertisement ran 30 years ago, but $25 to get a board shipped from Hawaii to the mainland? That is absolute madness. I’d almost take those rates over the board!
If you have any leads on some pictures of a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model with a bullseye airbrush on it, I’d love to learn more. Otherwise, thanks for reading and stop by next week for even more Sagas of Shred.
Greg Liddle is a California shaper who has built a rabid following on his famous hull designs. Liddle is compadres with the likes of Kirk Putnam and Marc Andreini, and you can find Liddle’s boards in fine surf shops like Mollusk. Even Hollywood luminaries love Liddle’s surfboards. I understand that Liddle is no longer hand shaping boards himself, and that boards produced under the Liddle Designs label are based off his old templates. That said, given that Shred Sledz is a blog focusing primarily on vintage surfboards, it’s only natural that there is a special soft spot for vintage Liddle surfboards.
Pictured above is one such vintage Greg Liddle design. The board was featured for sale on Craigslist in Orange County recently, although the listing is no longer available. The board is not mine and pics are via the old Craigslist post.
I would say the board above is not a hull shape, but without seeing the board in person, it’s hard for me to make any definitive judgments. Either way, you’ll note that the vintage Liddle surfboard pictured above has some marked differences from classic Liddle boards.
The photo above was taken from Liddle’s website, and you can clearly see the classic hull designs in the shapes above: relatively low nose rocker, rounded noses, and the famed “belly” up front.
The vintage Liddle board also has a very different fin that is a departure from the Greenough-inspired flex fins that you’ll see on hulls. In the picture above you can see the red fin has a much wider base when compared to the modern hulls. The vintage Liddle measures in at 7’3″, and given the size of the board, I would hazard a guess that this is more of a gun shape than anything else. As always, though, I am open to suggestions, and I’d like to repeat that my interest in surfboards often outpaces my knowledge. I’d also estimate the vintage Liddle was shaped sometime in the 1970s, but I can’t be certain.
Another thing I dig about Liddle’s boards are his often elaborate signatures. I’ve seen some examples that come with tons of different measurements — usually bracketed by dots, like in the example above — but the vintage Liddle featured here keeps it pretty simple. I can only assume the 7’3″ on the bottom refers to the board’s length, but I have no clue what the “X-142” might refer to.
The vintage Liddle pictured above was listed at $600. I don’t think this is an insane price, but it’s not exactly cheap, either. I think that it’s likely the price would have been much higher had the board been more of a traditional hull design. Examples of vintage Liddle hulls tend to command higher prices than his other shapes, from what I have seen on Craigslist and eBay. Liddle seemed to experiment a bit more on his earlier boards, as I have seen some examples of fish and even pretty standard looking thrusters pop up here and there.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any rad vintage Liddle hulls that are just begging to be shared with a larger audience, you know where to find me!
Luis Real strikes again! Pictured above is a super unusual Lightning Bolt / Gerry Lopez sting. For all of Bolt’s fame in the 70s, and the popularity of the sting during the same decade, you would think you would see more Bolts with sting outlines. The Lightning Bolt sting also has a cool Al Dove airbrush.
Here’s a beautiful Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt that he hand shaped for Rell Sun, giving the board some truly regal Hawaiian pedigree. The board’s owner, Kim McKenzie, was recently written up in a cool feature on Pilgrim Surf + Supply’s super neat blog. The board has a quasi-sting outline, and the upturned wings are very reminiscent of some Mark Richards stings I have seen.
While we’re on the topic of Lightning Bolt, Ian Cairns is selling some of his 1970s Tom Parrish-shaped Bolt single fins to help finance his new biography. Enjoy this timely quiver shot, which I have to imagine was taken on the North Shore of Oahu.
This is a mind-boggling board. Make sure you swipe through all the photos. I have never seen a flex tail on a Rick Surfboards shape before. Rick made some really neat transitional boards, including the famous Barry Kanaiaupuni Model. Not sure who the shaper might have been.
I don’t know that surfboards get any more classy — or classic, for that matter — than the Phil Edwards Honolulu. (Though the Hobie Phil Edwards comes close). Stay tuned…there may be a Deep Dive forthcoming on the subject.
I don’t know if this is a vintage picture or just a vintage board, but for all you California-philes out there, is there anything more timeless than a clean Renny Yater single fin? You can just barely make out the logo towards the nose, lurking beneath the wetsuit.
While this blog is a celebration of vintage surfboards and surf history in general, it is never my intention to make people feel old. But as I look at this vintage Kelly Slater Sundek ad and do the math, and slowly come to the horrifying realization that the image is thirty years old…well, I can’t help but feel ancient.
And jeez, can we talk about the Champ’s longevity for a second? Even though it’s a subject that has been discussed to death, it’s still possible that Kelly is underrated. An entire three plus decades after first arriving upon the surf scene, Kelly has arguably yet to peak, thanks to his role in ushering in what could prove to be the wave pool revolution. It’s amazing to think that in an age where Kelly is not only relevant, but still the most influential surfer in the world, that he ever shared space on a surf clothing company advert with someone like Corky Carroll. No disrespect to Corky, of course, but Slater’s career is now starting to warp time itself.
The Kelly Slater Sundek ad pictured at the top of the page was originally published in Surfer Magazine in 1988. For some other Hall of Fame moments in vintage Sundek ads, check out some of Ken Bradshaw’s work for the brand. It looks like Sundek is still kicking around these days, but it is nowhere close to its apex as one of the pre-eminent surfwear brands of the 1980s. In doing a little research, I discovered that Sundek was apparently founded in San Francisco, of all places, in 1958. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that Sundek is such a venerable brand. It’s too bad that it has since been recycled through a variety of owners, with none seemingly interested in reviving the things that made the brand such a recognizable name in the first place.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed this shot of the future 11-time world champ in his adolescence, before he became synonymous with the sport of surfing itself. For more content like this vintage Kelly Slater Sundek ad, tune in next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred.