Canyon Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It is Thursday evening, so as is customary around these parts, we’re serving up a fresh scan of a vintage surf ad. This time around we have an advertisement that originally appeared in the April 1984 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 25, No 4). But we also have an example of a rad Canyon Surfboards stick — shaped by Rusty, natch — which we’ll get to in a bit.

I love learning about the early labels of various shapers’ careers, whether it’s Shawn Stussy cutting his teeth at Russell Surfboards, Gerry Lopez’s stint at Surf Line Hawaii, or countless others that I haven’t covered yet. Rusty Preisendorfer had established himself as a top shaper well before he established the eponymous brand that would make him something of a surf mogul. By the early Eighties, Rusty had already shaped boards for world champs Peter Townend and Shaun Tomson.

There’s a comprehensive San Diego Reader article that has a nice profile of Rusty and his early shaping career. According to the article, Canyon Surfboards was a collaboration between Rusty and his longtime glasser, John Durward. Durward owned Canyon Glass, which glassed most of Rusty’s shapes, and at some point the two men went into business together. Later on Canyon Surfboards would become the official licensee for Shaun Tomson’s personal line of shapes.

You’ll notice the ad features Peter Townend, Tomson and Dave Parmenter, among others. The sheer number of surfers Rusty has shaped for during his long career is mind-blowing, not to mention his role informally tutoring folks like Parmenter, who has gone on to become one of the foremost authorities in building surf craft.

There also happens to be a nice and clean Canyon Surfboards twin fin listed for sale on Craigslist in the Bay Area. You can find the listing here. I really the Canyon Surfboards label, which Rusty designed himself, having majored in visual arts at UCSD.

The board was shaped by Rusty, as clearly indicated on the signature, and it has a neat pair of Star System fins, complete with an Eighties-appropriate checkerboard print.

Even after all the accolades and the decades spent in the surfboard industry, I suspect Rusty might still be underrated. At the very least, I’m a little surprised that there isn’t more attention around Rusty’s earlier boards, whether they were shaped under the Canyon Surfboards and/or the Music! labels. That said, I think Rusty is easily considered one of the greatest living shapers in California, and at some point I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a renewed interest in the shapes he produced towards the beginning of his career.

Standing Room Only

Greetings, Shredderz! Today I don’t have a whole lot in the way of words, but I do have some great classic footage to share. I recently stumbled across this video on YouTube, which you can see in its entirety below. This is “Standing Room Only”, a classic Seventies surf flick directed by Allen Main and Hugh Thomas. I don’t know much about the movie or the directors, but the YouTube clip appears to have the full length flick. The quality can be spotty at times — it appears to be missing frames — but there’s still plenty of good stuff to dig into, including an extended Larry Bertlemann section, as well as footage of Mark Richards with a quiver of yellow Lightning Bolt boards. Lyttlestreet happened to post a clip on Instagram earlier today, and it appears that he must have a higher quality source of the original flick. Anyway, check it out below if you’re looking for some classic Seventies surf footage.

Movie poster image at the top of the page via Man of the World

Harbour New Sol: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! If you’re here in California it’s the waning hours of Thanksgiving. For those celebrating I hope you had a wonderful day of gratitude, hopefully spent in the company of family, friends and some swell. Today we’ll be pointing you towards one of our favorite sources of vintage surfboard goodness: the Harbour Surfboards advertising archive. The archive has a ton of high quality scans of ads spanning Harbour’s fifty plus years in business, and it’s definitely worth a visit. I chose this particular ad — which features a model called the New Sol — because it also features one Herbie Fletcher. I had no idea Fletcher had anything to do with Harbour Surfboards, but hey, there’s never anything wrong with learning new things. The ad originally ran in the Jan 1967 issue of Surfer Magazine, which means Fletcher was only nineteen when the New Sol was released. I had never heard of Bill Fury before seeing this ad, but I was able to find this tribute to Fury on the Surfing Walk of Fame website.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Morey-Pope Camel

Greetings, Shredderz! Here at Shred Sledz HQ we are big fans of the great Tom Morey. I’ve written up a number of Morey-Pope boards before, including a few different Camel variants, including the 3/4 Camel, the Sopwith Camel and the Camel Mini-Pepper. The Morey-Pope label, with its experimental designs and out there branding, is clearly the product of Tom Morey’s prolific and eccentric mind. Today we will be taking a peek at a cool Morey-Pope Camel — no crazy model names here, I’m afraid — that is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find a link to the Craigslist listing here.

The Morey-Pope Camel pictured above measures in at 7’0″ x 20 1/2″ x 3 5/8″. I’m guessing the Morey-Pope Camel surfboard was made in 1968 or 1969, but I can’t be sure.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: I love the little details on the Morey-Pope surfboards, particularly the small labels on the bottom near the fin box. As you can see there’s a script “Morey-Pope & Company” label running parallel to the box — W.A.V.E. Set, of course, which was invented by Morey — and then a number towards the tail. The Craigslist board is #352. Sadly, I don’t know anything about the numbering on Morey-Pope boards, but if you have more details please do drop me a line.

Last but certainly not least, the seller included an incredible 1969 ad for the Morey-Pope Camel which you can see above. Definitely click to enlarge — it is well worth a closer read. This ad goes into some detail on the different variants of the Camel, including the Sopwith Camel, the aforementioned 3/4 Camel, the King Camel (which I had never heard of before), and the Camel Gun. The board pictured above is a Camel Gun example. You can see the Craigslist board has a nearly identical circular patch near the center on the deck. In addition, the Camel Gun has a far more pulled in nose and tail, per the description on the ad.

The ad reminds me of everything I love so much about Morey-Pope, and by extension, Tom Morey. It’s insane to think that this ad is fifty years old. Yet before the proper shortboard had been invented Morey was thinking far ahead of the surfboard industry on things like measuring the volume of boards. The ad is an absolute trip, whether it’s the bonkers copy — can someone explain Pantographic Scaling to me? — or the sheer density of information contained within a two page spread. It gives you a small idea of what must have been going through Morey’s hyperactive mind during this particularly open-minded period of surfboard design in the late Sixties.

See below for another Morey-Pope Camel ad I posted a while back. And if you’re interested in the Camel gun featured above, check out the listing here.

Social Media Roundup: Nov 2019

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s that time of the month again. Here’s a selection of some of my favorite social media posts from the last month or so.

This board is absolutely ridiculous! I am slowly but surely working on my knowledge of Aussie surfboards and shapers. Here’s a Rip Curl board shaped by Alan Colk. According to the peerless surfresearch.com.au, Colk shaped for Rip Curl in 1974. I previously wrote up an Owl Chapman stick crafted for the Rip Curl label. Anyway, this board is impeccable, from the airbrush to the timber inlay fin.

Speaking of Australian shapers, here’s Victoria legend Maurice Cole posing alongside a board he shaped for Tom Curren. You’re probably familiar with the timeless Curren cutback shot, taken by Tom Servais at Backdoor in 1991. In that shot Curren is surfing a 7’8″ reverse vee thruster shaped by Maurice Cole. You can see more on the 7’8″ here, from when it was sold at a recent auction. The board above is nearly identical — there are no stickers, like the board in the Servais photo, and it has the same neon yellow rails — but it’s 8’0″.

Here’s an awesome photo of Larry Bertlemann and Aipa from someone’s private photo stash. This is one of the classic shaper / surfer pairings from the Seventies — the inventor of the sting with one of his star test pilots.

Here’s Terry Fitzgerald with an absolute heat seeking missile tucked beneath his arm. The photo is by Dan Merkel and someone in the comments claims it was taken at Honolua Bay. For more on Fitz’s Hawaiian adventures, check out this board he made for Dick Brewer, and then this colorful Fitz / Lightning Bolt shape.

Last but certainly not least, we have the first ever Scorpion shaped by Donald Takayama! The Scorpion is one of DT’s best known models, but I’m surprised at how little information there is available about the board anywhere online. Click through to the comments for some cool stories from folks like Joel Tudor and Peter St Pierre about surfing this thing.

RIP Jake Burton

Today’s Sagas of Shred post is a bit more somber than the usual tongue-in-cheek commentary on Eighties surf advertising. But hopefully this post can be a modest tribute to one of the most influential people in the entire history of board sports. It’s the first post on the blog that doesn’t have to do with surfing, and for good reason: Jake Burton Carpenter was and remains an absolute legend. The Burton Snowboards ad you see here originally ran in the December 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 29, No 12). The predecessor to the snowboard was actually named The Snurfer, in a nod to the sport’s surfing roots. Later on, Burton Snowboards would go on to purchase Channel Islands Surfboards.

I don’t snowboard myself, but I have long admired the Burton Snowboards brand. As a teenager I was simply a fan of the annual Burton catalog, which was always well-produced, even if you didn’t know the first thing about snowboarding (and they had great gear, too.) The older I got, though, the more I grew to appreciate Burton’s unique career path. He invented the brand in a barn in Vermont in 1977 and grew it into one of the most influential outdoors labels of all time. Later on, I was blown away when Burton, still serving as Burton CEO, made the decision to spend most of a year traveling the world with his family and snowboarding. If there’s a better example of someone making a career out of their passion, I have yet to see it.

Rest in Peace Jake Burton. Thanks for setting an example of how to live life without ever losing the stoke.

Zephyr Surfboards Duo

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post won’t be very long and I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos. But any time a Zephyr Surfboard pops up, I’m contractually obligated to write about it here.

There are actually two Zephyr Surfboards currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. You can find a link to the original listing here. The seller is asking $15,000 for both boards. I happen to think that’s a tall order, but I’d rather focus on the boards. The first board is gorgeous, and it has a great Seventies airbrush, complete with a dolphin cavorting through the clouds. I know CR Stecyk did some airbrushes for Zephyr boards, but I have zero idea whether this is his artwork.

The second board being listed for sale is a bit on the funky side. I’m immediately drawn to the differences in the logos between the two boards. You’ll notice the airbrushed single fin at the top of the page is clearly a Zephyr board; the triple stringer single fin, pictured directly above, bears the “Jeff Ho Surfboards & Zephyr Productions” label. I’ve seen other early Jeff Ho boards without the Zephyr branding. Here’s an example of a Jeff Ho single fin I featured earlier (this was literally one of the first blog posts I wrote three plus years ago, so go easy.)

The triple stringer Zephyr board also comes with an interesting looking fin. I don’t know anything about the fin template, but to me it looks all original. The fin screw with the eyelet and the rope is definitely something I have seen from other Seventies sticks, too.

It’s also worth mentioning that I think these same exact boards were sold very recently via Surfing Cowboys. If you look at the Instagram post below, Surfing Cowboys claims they sold these two boards in September of this year. A price was not listed.

In addition, I was able to find a pic of the airbrushed board on Instagram.

I have no idea who owns the boards right now, or how they got there, but I think it’s worth mentioning to any prospective buyers.

You can check out the listing for these two Seventies Zephyr Surfboards single fins here.

Lightning Strikes: Vintage Lightning Bolt Surfboards Auction

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’re going to cover the recently concluded Lightning Strikes auction. Put on by the folks at California Gold, Lightning Strikes focused specifically on Seventies Lightning Bolt Surfboards single fins.

I was curious about the auction for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Lightning Bolt is still likely the most famous surfboard label ever. The brand’s enduring popularity is remarkable. This isn’t exactly an original point of view, but Lightning Bolt is classic for all the right reasons. The brand boasts an iconic logo, an incredible roster of shapers and an equally talented team representing some of the most famous folks in surf history.

Secondly, I was also curious to see what kind of prices these Lightning Bolt surfboards would fetch. This is particularly true given that California Gold was experimenting with a new auction format for the first time, with a lineup exclusively made up of Lightning Bolt sticks, versus the usual, varied selection.

A lot of the boards ended up selling for less than the expected prices listed alongside each piece. I’m not sure why that’s the case. I think pricing surfboards is difficult, period. There is an incredible amount of variance between individual boards along numerous attributes: color, condition, dimensions, etc. Add to that fact that boards are somewhat illiquid — how many Bolts are publicly sold every year? — and you have a recipe for inconsistent pricing.

That said, while it’s interesting to talk prices, that’s not why we’re all here. At the end of the day the Lighting Strikes auction had a really nice collection of Seventies Bolts, covering a number of notable shapers. Below you can find some of my favorites. These aren’t necessarily the most well-known or most collectible boards, but the ones I thought were cool.

1978 7’6″ Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt Pintail Pipeliner – $20,000. (Est $8K – $10K)

Well, this one blew it out of the water! This wasn’t my favorite board, per se, but covering the auction without mentioning the sole Lopez in the lot would be like writing about the Chicago Bulls in the Nineties without mentioning the words “Michael Jordan.” What I really love about the listing is that they show the condition of the board before and after. You can also check out the super clear signature on the board, too. My general rule of thumb — which I do not claim is infallible — is that it’s a really Gerry hand shape when he signs his name on the stringer in call caps, just like the photo above. (Here’s another blog post on the topic.)

1975 8’2″ Hakman Parrish Single Fin – $4,200 (Est $6K – $8K)

This Tom Parrish-crafted missile was one of the two unrestored boards in the entire auction. The other was an original, gorgeous “California Bolt” shaped under license at the Hobie factory, by either Terry Martin or Mickey Munoz. I really don’t mind an older board that shows some of its age. The Hakman Parrish logo with the two palm trees is a favorite, and the details on this board are so killer, whether it’s the gorgeous original fin or the nice triple stringer setup. Apparently it’s unclear if the black resin pin lines were added after the fact, but count me among those who aren’t bothered at all by this.

1975 7’8″ Lightning Bolt Mike Diffenderfer Wing Pintail – $3,700 ($5K – $8K Est)

I’ve had a long fascination with Mike Diffenderfer‘s shapes. As is the case with the Gerry Lopez board above, you can see the before and after photos of the board’s restoration process. This is true of a number of boards listed for sale at the auction site, and I definitely recommend checking it out. Anyway, in my humble opinion there are few surfboard designs as beautiful and pure as the winged pintail single fin, and this Diffenderfer delivers in that regard.

Photo at the top of the page by John Durant

Chris Frohoff for O’Neill: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! I’m delighted to be back this evening with a fresh scan of an Eighties surf ad. This, of course, is the latest entry in the Sagas of Shred series. I don’t have a lot to say about this particular ad, other than my love for Eighties surf nostalgia is as strong as ever. This O’Neill ad, which originally ran in the September 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 29, No 9), features Chris Frohoff, who I understand is now a surfboard shaper. I get an endless amount of amusement from the less serious aspects of Eighties surf ads — like the “Wave Cult” tagline seen here — but I dig the graphic design that’s happening here. The ad features the work of not one but two great surf photographers. Jeff Divine took the surfing photos, and Aaron Chang shot the portraits of Frohoff. And finally, if you look closely, you’ll see Fro is shredding on a cool looking Rusty stick with a nice gradient airbrush at both ends.

Thanks for checking in and we hope to have you back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!

Clipz: Random Selections

Greetings, Shredderz! Here’s a rundown of some of my favorite surf and surfboard-related videos in recent memory.

There’s a good chance that some of you will see a Firewire Surfboards video and want to throw up in your mouths a little bit. Sorry but I’m not sorry. It’s particularly hard to feel any remorse when Rob Machado has made such a graceful transition to middle age, partially due to his embrace of alternative designs. I love watching him surf this mid-length fish. I continue to be fascinated by Machado’s insistence on dropping edits with below average waves when every other surfer in the world has to go halfway around the world to find something worthy of an Instagram post. Anyway, Machado’s Seaside and Beyond model looks super fun. I love the relaxed takeoffs, coupled with the ability to fly past flat sections, and finally a shocking amount of maneuverability in the turns. Here’s a different clip of Machado explaining the genesis of the new Seaside and Beyond model.

For more talented San Diego surfer / shapers, here’s Ryan Burch weighing in on a couple of different topics. I can’t believe Slater asked Burch to make him a longboard! I don’t think I’ve ever seen footage of Slater surfing anything other than super high performance equipment, so I hope Burch reconsiders his stance of declining to shape the stick.

If you’d rather watch Ryan Burch surf than talk, then hopefully the above clip scratches that itch for you. Personally I’m a fan of both!

The power balance in the surf media seems to be shifting away from the legacy outlets, which mostly have their roots in print, towards YouTube series from individual surfers. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but even in this crowded field Mason Ho stands out. Like the other surfers mentioned above, Ho is pretty open-minded when it comes to his equipment. In this day and age when Pipe step up boards are barely over six feet, Mason seems to relish going longer than a lot of his contemporaries. Here he surfs a 6’9″ Matt Biolos board whose length and rocker seem like they’d be a better fit in an early Taylor Steele flick. Also, Mason appears to have more fun than anyone when it comes to actually surfing, and that always makes him a pleasure to watch.