US License Mark Richards Twin Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! We’ve got a quick hit for you tonight, but one that I think is still very much worth your valuable time. I originally saw this US-made Mark Richards twin fin on the awesome Vintage Surfboards Collectors Facebook group. You can find a link to the original post here. It’s a private FB group, but given that I’m a member, you know there aren’t any real standards. The board’s owner was kind enough to give me permission to run the pics here on the blog.

The board measures in at 5’10” and it was shaped sometime during the Eighties. I absolutely cannot get over the gorgeous airbrush on this thing! Is it me or are gradient airbrushes not nearly as popular as they used to be? And I can’t help but admire the way the color scheme is echoed in the laminate. The fins are a newer reproduction, but they look beautiful on the board.

Even better, the owner was able to contact Robin Prodanovich, who was one of Gordon & Smith’s production shapers at the time. (Side note: Prodanovich’s son, Todd, is an editor at Surfer Magazine.) The US-license MR boards were shaped out of the G&S factory in San Diego. Prodanovich had the following to say about the board:

There were other shapers besides myself, that shaped the MR twins and single fins at G&S. I did the bulk of them, but Hank Warner, Terry Goldsmith, Hoy Runnels, and Mike Richardson did their fair share. Larry Gordon would not allow any of the shapers to sign their shapes, so each guy had his own secret way of “signing” their work. I always placed a pencil dot between the numbers that indicated length, so a 6’2” length would be indicated as 6.2, and the dot would be raised to about the centerline of the numbers. I don’t recall how the other boys did theirs. Eventually Larry gave in and let us sign our work.

For more on this rad stick, check out the post in the Vintage Surfboard Collectors Facebook group.

Clipz: NYC Duct Tape & More

Greetings, Shredderz! Let’s cut the small talk and get to it, shall we? Keep reading for some surf vids I’ve recently discovered and/or enjoyed.

Skip Frye Drone Footage

This is a simple, modest little edit but I got such a huge thrill out of it. I think drone cinematography can get a little out of hand at times, but I love the way the aerial footage complements Skip’s timeless lines. There’s something striking about that big yellow board against the backdrop of the ocean on a mellow, uncrowded day.

“A State of Play” by Drew McPherson / Nathan Henshaw

Need Essentials are the folks behind the excellent Torren Martyn edits you’ve probably seen recently. (For what it’s worth, Martyn also got a big feature in the latest issue of The Surfer’s Journal, which is definitely worth a read.) Here, surfer Drew McPherson explores some lesser-known Aussie lineups. I particularly dig the footage with the blue mid-length board.

Beau Cram for O’Riginals

Speaking of Aussies, does anyone do slang better than our friends south of the equator? The caption for this video, which was released as part of O’Neill’s new “O’Riginals” series, describes Beau Cram as “the son of Eighties power mongrel Richard Cram.” Sadly, my below-average surfing means no one will ever describe me as a power mongrel, but this cool little edit helps ease the pain a bit. I like the J Bay portion, where Cram rides a sweet 6’8″ Christenson Surfboards Long Phish through some classic conditions.

Vans Duct Tape Invitational New York by Stab Magazine

By all accounts this fall has been an epic one for New York surfing. As an Empire State native turned California transplant, I’m always looking for an excuse to shine the spotlight on the East Coast. Joel Tudor and Vans’ Duct Tape Invitational came to Rockaway Beach in between epic swells, and the video above spotlights some of the contestants and their shapes. It’s a cool look at an eclectic and talented crowd with equipment to match.

Vintage Al Merrick Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! The weekend might be coming to a close but we’ve still got some heat for you before Monday rolls around. Yes, what you see here is a gorgeous vintage Al Merrick surfboard. Even better, the board has a beautiful airbrush courtesy of artist Bernie Tsao, and some other cool bells and whistles. 2019 marks the 50th year of Channel Islands Surfboards, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that incredible milestone than with a genuine Merrick hand shaped vintage stick. Many thanks to Shred Sledz reader Hanh, who was kind enough to pass along the photos you see here.

Make sure you click the photos above to enlarge. The absolutely killer vintage Al Merrick surfboard you see above measures in at 6’3″ x 20 1/4″ x 2 3/4″. It has double wings that end in a round tail, and a cool channel bottom that is accented by a killer airbrush. I love any and all vintage Channel Islands boards, but I have a particular soft spot for the single fins and the twins, which seem to be a bit more unusual. According to the board’s current owner, the board was shaped in 1983. The CI hexagon logo on the deck is a sticker, so I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of the CI logos during this era. By contrast, check out the CI hexagon logo on the bottom, which is a simple and uniform grey.

The airbrush, as you can plainly see, is ridiculous. I love the way it follows the contours of the channel bottom. You don’t see a ton of vintage Channel Islands with elaborate artwork, but I love everything that’s going on here. The airbrush was done by a gentleman by the name of Bernie Tsao. The board’s owner tells me that Bernie got his start making boards with David Pu’u, and did stints with folks like Bob Haakenson before moving to Kauai, where he lives today. By now you may also know that I’m a sucker for old school fins, and this vintage Al Merrick surfboard certainly does not disappoint in that department.

I’m intrigued by the channel bottom on this vintage Al Merrick surfboard. There’s another Eighties CI with a similar bottom that can be found on the excellent Vintage Surfboard Collectors Facebook Group. In addition, the board featured in this post looks similar to an earlier Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull single fin I wrote up. Buggs has also featured a cool CI twin fin on his Instagram with a very similar looking bottom.

Last but certainly not least, you know I had to go deep on the Al Merrick signature. The board clearly has Al’s hand-written signature, versus the simple fish design that can be found on many stock CI boards, which were shaped by production shapers. It also has a “Shaped & Designed by Al Merrick” laminate, which you don’t see a ton. For more on identifying Al’s signatures, check out these earlier blog posts here and here. I’m not sure when exactly Channel Islands started using shaping machines to assist in their production. CI’s use of production shapers, however, goes back to at the least the Seventies, when folks like Bob Krause were producing boards for the venerable label.

Thanks again to Hanh for providing the pics of this sweet vintage Al Merrick surfboard, and I hope you enjoyed checking out this stick!

Gotcha Martin Potter: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! For those of you who aren’t hip to the program, I scan a different vintage surf ad every Thursday evening and post it as part of the Sagas of Shred series. I’ve written up Gotcha’s groundbreaking advertisements many times here on the blog. If it’s still not clear, I’m a huge fan. By all accounts, Gotcha’s creative and brash marketing took its cues from founder Michael Tomson‘s larger than life personality. (Here’s a Stussy thruster that was shaped for Tomson, which, for my money, is one of the cooler boards I have written up.) The Gotcha Martin Potter ad featured here originally ran in the April 1984 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 25, No 4). Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the surfer in the ad looks nothing like Martin Potter! It’s mind blowing to me that they would go out of the way to have an artist whip up an entire painting without making sure that it bore some resemblance to their star team rider at the time.

As for the rest of the ad…I mean, your guess is as good as mine. I can’t stop alternating between the surfer — who, let me repeat, could not look less like Pottz — and the (leg-less?) woman who looks like she’s about to pass out from heat stroke. This is to say nothing of the desert motif, much less the pairs of shorts that are inexplicably floating through the frame. And why does the surfboard cast a shadow, but Pottz does not? The longer I look at this Gotcha Martin Potter ad the more questions I have, and frankly, it’s starting to get a little late here.

That said, do I love all of it? Yes, yes I do. The Eighties were an incredible time in the surf industry, and I simply can’t get enough.

Yes, Another Vintage Liddle

You sick of seeing these vintage Liddle single fins yet? Me neither. This gem was lurking on Craigslist in Orange County last week before the listing was taken down. I have to assume the board was snapped up by another collector.

The Liddle single fin you see pictured here measures 7’1″, and it’s far more of a traditional Seventies single fin outline than the displacement hulls that one mostly associates with Greg Liddle and his eponymous label.

The board featured in this post is similar to another Liddle single fin I wrote up a little over a year ago. For whatever reason, the orange laminates mostly appear on older Liddle boards. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I can’t think of any post 2000s Liddle boards I’ve seen with an orange laminate.

The Liddle single fin isn’t in pristine condition, but all things considered it is in pretty good shape. The board was listed on Craigslist for $800, which seems about right given everything going on. I tend to think the hulls command a bit of a higher price than the standard single fins, but I’m down with both.

And no blog post on a vintage Liddle would be complete without some complete overkill on analyzing the signature on the board. I wrote up an Eighties Liddle hull last week, and in the post I did some analysis around the serial numbers of various vintage Liddles, as well as the dates assigned to the serial numbers per the Liddle Surfboards website.

Judging from the outline of the orange laminate board here, as well as the single fin setup, it’s almost certainly shaped in the Seventies, or maybe the Eighties. For example, see here for some similar boards from the Liddle website — single fin round pins, just like the one above — that are dated to the Seventies or Eighties. I have also heard that an X on the signature, like the one above, denotes a stock shop board (versus a custom shape).

I’m having trouble reconciling the number on this board — X-1036 — with other similar boards I have seen. For example, I wrote up a different Liddle single fin that looks like it was shaped around the same time as X-1036, and the other board has X-142 written on the stringer. I have reproduced the photos below.

First, I’m not quite sure why the “X” boards are numbered differently. As a reminder, the hull I wrote up last week had the serial number #3070; and before that, I wrote up a single fin with serial number #3249. But even looking strictly at the X boards, I have hard time thinking those numbers are sequential. In other words, I can’t imagine that there are nearly 1,000 boards that were shaped between X-142, the board immediately above; and X-1036, the orange laminate single fin that is the subject of this post.

If you’re a Liddle-ologist with more insight into how Greg numbered his boards, I’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the pics of this neat vintage Seventies Liddle single fin.

Straight Up Occy Pro Model by Carl Schaper

Greetings, Shredderz! I don’t know about the garbage bins near you, but apparently parts of New Jersey have trash cans overflowing with incredible vintage surfboards. Thanks to Tom on Instagram for sharing the photos of this beautiful Straight Up Occy Pro Model, which, unbelievably, was a trash find. In fact, I just might head out of the house and dig around some dumpsters and see if I can come up with a Channel Islands Tom Curren model.

Occy is probably best known for his association with Rusty Surfboards, especially during the mid-Eighties, at the height of his rivalry with Curren. I’m not sure when Occy parted ways with Rusty. As a side bar, I find it interesting that Occy never re-joined the Rusty stable, other than a recent limited edition re-issue of his classic Eighties thruster, which was produced in conjunction with Billabong.

Straight Up Surfboards produced the Occy Pro Model during the early Nineties, and perhaps even earlier. As is usually the case with surfboards, it’s hard to find reliable information on specific dates. That said, 1992’s “The Green Iguana”, released by Billabong and directed by Jack McCoy, features Occ with a Straight Up stick on the cover.

More importantly, though, the film includes a section of Occ putting on a backhand surfing clinic. Did I pause this video a million times to see if Occy was surfing a Straight Up Pro Model? Sadly, the answer is yes. Even sadder, I still don’t know the answer.

Judging from a post on Straight Up Surfboards’ Facebook page, the label was founded in Hawaii in 1983, by Kaui Hill and Dave and/or Kim Purington. I’ve featured a Straight Up Surfboards stick on this blog only once before, and that was a beautiful channel bottom thruster shaped by Mike Croteau. It looks like Straight Up is still producing boards today.

The Occy Pro Model you see here measures in at 6’4″ x 19 1/4″ x 2.5″. It was shaped by Carl Schaper, who is a longtime North Shore craftsman. Schaper also shaped the board that can be seen on the cover of The Green Iguana — you can clearly see his logo beneath the Billabong laminate. (Shameless plug alert: Schaper was an early mentor to Todd Pinder, whom I featured in the inaugural Shaper Spotlight entry a few months back.) I love the fact that the airbrush on the board is almost identical to the one on the Occy Pro Model laminate. And the fact the laminate features Occ going vertical on his backhand is another nice touch.

The board in question was clearly shaped by Schaper himself. Apparently someone else reached out to Schaper for info on the board. Schaper couldn’t recall whether or not the board had been shaped for Occy as a personal rider. Even if the board is a stock model, I think we can all agree that it’s still a ridiculous score!

Tails of the Thruster: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Buckle in for another scorcher of a vintage surf advertisement. As a quick reminder, I scan a different surf ad every Thursday evening (California time, of course) as part of the Sagas of Shred series. I have a fondness for ridiculous Eighties ads, but usually I can only get in about one or two jokes, max, before I realize that my affection for the ad isn’t ironic after all. I’ve seen different scans of this ad floating around the internet somewhere, although I can’t seem to find them. What you see here is a Simon Anderson / Nectar Surfboards ad that originally appeared in the May 1983 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 24, No 5). Anderson, of course, created the tri fin thruster design nearly forty years ago, and it remains the de facto fin setup for countless surfboards across the globe. I can only guess the magnitude of his invention hadn’t yet become apparent by the time he decided to pose for a half hearted Indiana Jones spoof. Nectar Surfboards, based out of San Diego, was the American licensee for Anderson’s boards. I don’t believe Simon shaped any of the US boards, but I’m not totally certain on that point. What’s interesting about this ad is that it also includes a closeup of some very cool and varied designs that were part of Nectar’s lineup at the time. From left to right there’s a standard Eighties bump squash tail; a wing round pin (not sure if that’s the precise term); and two swallow tail varieties. There’s also an interesting variety of fin sizes and shapes. You’ll notice some of the boards have smaller center trailing fins, whereas others have three fins of equal sizes. I’m not sure what to call the fins on the white and yellow board second from right, but they’re reminiscent of the trapezoidal fins currently found on some Vulcan Surfboards. This ad is definitely one of my favorites in terms of sheer ridiculousness, but, as is usually the case, it isn’t long before I find myself getting genuinely excited about the boards and the people that are featured.

80s Liddle Hull

Greetings, Shredderz! We’ve got a quick hit for you today, but given how collectible Greg Liddle’s surfboards are, I feel good about this being something of a crowd pleasure. Pictured here is a vintage 80s Liddle Hull that Jeff was kind enough to share. Eagle-eyed readers may recognize the background in these pictures: a few months ago I wrote a post on two Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom boards, one of which belonged to Jeff as well. I’ve written up many vintage Liddle Surfboards here, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.

The Liddle hull has obviously seen some wear and tear in its lifetime. Few things pain me more than seeing a surfboard that has been abused or neglected, but I dig a well-used board that has clearly delivered a bunch of fun to its owner(s) over the years. I imagine the Liddle you see here falls into the latter category.

The owner was also kind enough to include a close up shot of the signature on the Liddle. As you can see in the picture above, the board is 8’6.5″ and it bears #3070. The owner was told that #3070 was shaped sometime in the Eighties.

First, I believe that the numbering on Greg’s hand shaped Liddles is sequential. The last vintage Liddle I wrote up was a non-hull single fin with the serial number #3249. According to the Liddle Surfboards website, which has an incredible archive of pics, #3249 was likely shaped in either the late Seventies or the early Eighties. I was also able to find an entry for Liddle #3031, which is a thruster. If the numbering on Greg’s boards is indeed sequential, then I have to think that #3031, #3070 (the hull featured here), and #3249 were all shaped in the early- to mid-Eighties. I can’t say for sure, though, and this analysis is based on digging through the vast archive of pics on the official Liddle site.

Thanks again to Jeff for shooting over pics of this sweet Eighties Liddle hull. And if you’re the owner of a rad vintage Liddle then don’t be shy and drop me a line!

The Weekend Grab Bag Returns

Greetings, Shredderz! It has been a few months since we last ran a Weekend Grab Bag feature. Here’s quick refresh for those of you who have better things to do than to spend your time keeping track of the various categories that appear on a low budget vintage surfboard blog (hopefully, this means most of you). The Weekend Grab Bag features a selection of vintage sticks for your perusing pleasure, all of which are listed for sale online as of the time the blog post was published. Anyway, enough from me, and onto some sweet sticks below:

Byrne Tom Carroll Model Channel Bottom Thruster (Craigslist Hawaii)

I didn’t even know that Byrne Surfboards had produced a Tom Carroll model, and yet here we are. It’s a distinctly Eighties board between the airbrush, the channel bottom, the 2+1 fin setup, and the wings / squash tail combo. No dimensions or price were listed on the ad. Carroll was a longtime Byrne team rider, but often times his Hawaiian boards were shaped by Pat Rawson. This thing is absolutely killer and I wish I knew more about the history of the board.

6’10” G&S Water Skate, Designed by Tom Morey (Craigslist LA)

The G&S Water Skate was actually designed by Tom Morey, which automatically makes it a surfboard worth mentioning. Morey is the mad scientist of surfing and his inventions are always thought provoking. Not sure if this was shaped by Morey — I tend to think it was likely crafted by one of G&S’ stable of in-house shapers, but that’s a guess. There’s no price on the Craigslist listing but I believe an earlier version had a very reasonable one attached. There’s also a square tail version of the Water Skate, too.

10’10” (!!!) Mike Diffenderfer Gun (Craigslist Hawaii)

Diff’s career is fascinating to me. The list of legends that count Diffenderfer as an influence is long, spanning folks from Marc Andreini to Rusty Preisendorfer. And while there’s certainly a market for Diff’s boards, they don’t seem to be as collectible as, say, vintage Liddle hulls or any of Skip Frye’s boards (although few boards are). This here is one heck of an elephant chaser, clocking in at a healthy 10’10”.

Vinson & Gleason Vee Bottom (Craigslist Ventura)

I am all but certain this is an early Chuck Vinson surfboard. I’ve written up a few of Chuck Vinson’s shapes, but I have never seen a board with the Vinson & Gleason logo before. Given the dramatic vee bottom I have to assume this was a Transition Era shape from the late Sixties. Unfortunately I have more questions about this board than answers, starting with who Gleason is. If you know more definitely drop me a line.

Photo at the top of the page by Brian Bielmann; via Bielmann’s website

La Jolla Surf Systems: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday again, which means we’re serving up some red hot scans of old surf ads as part of the Sagas of Shred series. Today we’ve got an unlikely all star cast in an ad for La Jolla Surf Systems. The ad originally appeared in the February 1983 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 24, No 2). I assume La Jolla Surf Systems was an old San Diego surf shop, but that’s about all I know. What’s really interesting is the collection of shapers featured in the ad (and one notable craftsman who apparently didn’t make it to the shoot on time). The ad features the late Bill Caster, whose boards are still coveted among a selection of San Diego locals; Gary McNabb, of Nectar Surfboards fame; Tim Bessell, who is still shaping today; Eric “Bird” Huffman, founder of Bird’s Surf Shed; and of course, a young Shawn Stussy. If you look closely at the bottom right of the ad you’ll see a gorgeous-looking Stussy twin fin with purple rails and some wings in the tail. I’m a little intrigued by Stussy’s inclusion, as I believe he is the only non-San Diego local in the names listd above. While the ad mentions that La Jolla Surf Systems has Skip Frye boards in stock, if you look below Bird’s photo you’ll see “Skip Frye — gone fishing.” To me this suggests Skip was originally supposed to take part in the shoot, but that’s just a guess. Thirty six plus years after the ad was shot, I can’t even imagine the sheer luxury of walking into a surf shop and seeing a bunch of Skips on the racks, to say nothing of the Stussy boards! If you read this blog you know that my bread and butter is poking fun at the ridiculousness of Eighties art direction, but I’m still too starstruck by all the shapers in the ad to come up with anything halfway decent.

Mahalo for reading and don’t be afraid to come back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!