Shaper Spotlight: Surfboards by Todd Pinder

Greetings, Shredderz! I’d like to welcome all of you to a brand spanking new series on the blog, titled “Shaper Spotlight.” Up until now, this humble blog has focused mostly on vintage surfboards. I think it’s also important to profile contemporary shapers who are building boards today. There’s a ton of rich history found in older surfboards, and that will always be a big part of Shred Sledz. That said, there’s only one way to ensure hand shaped surfboards continue to get their due, and that’s by supporting the talented craftsmen who build them.

Last month I took my first ever trip to Oahu, and during that time I was lucky enough to meet up with Todd Pinder, the man behind Surfboards by Todd Pinder. Pinder plies his trade in Honolulu, where he painstakingly crafts each and every board by hand. This doesn’t just apply to shaping, however — Pinder is one of those rare shapers who also glasses all of his own creations, too.

Todd Pinder 1
Todd Pinder creates all his boards by hand, shaping and glassing his creations. Here are a few boards waiting to be finished. Love the bold but simple red color.

Pinder might be a modern surfboard builder, but he draws upon some very deep roots from years of living in Hawaii and working alongside some well respected folks, like Carl Schaper (pronounced Shopper) and Donald Takayama. Pinder also continues to provide boards for folks like Joel Tudor and his sons.

Pinder’s shop is filled with a bunch of rad vintage sticks. See below for a neat Seventies Greg Liddle single fin. I can’t recall off the top of my head whether it was a hull, but I really dig the unusual pattern on the deck. Click the photos below to enlarge.

I got to see the Bing David Nuuhiwa Noseriding model that Joel Tudor posted about below. Todd told me the Nuuhiwa is a little shorter than other stock DN Noseriding models from the same time period.

The single coolest board Pinder showed me was an insane Joe Quigg paddleboard. Make sure you click the photos below to enlarge, as they show off the paddleboard in a bit more detail. Check out the squared off tail. The Joe Quigg paddleboard has incredibly thick rails, and I think it’s about 12′ long, so there’s plenty of paddle power to spare. You can see Pinder posing alongside this board in the post at the top of the page.

Here are some earlier photos, via Pinder’s Facebook page, that show Joe Quigg alongside Todd and the paddleboard.

That’s not all Pinder had stashed away, however. Upstairs in his shaping room Pinder also had a Seventies Surf Line Hawaii single fin shaped by Buddy Dumphy and a Gordon & Smith Skip Frye from the late Sixties. Click the photos below to enlarge. I couldn’t quite figure out which model the G&S / Skip Frye board is — maybe a “Speed Board”? — but it’s interesting that it has a small text G&S logo, instead of the classic bow tie logo that we all know and love. Pinder tells me the outline on the G&S / Skip Frye board has inspired some of his own egg shapes.

If you’re still not satisfied, well, there’s more. Pinder also showed off a sick Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel. The Sopwith Camel is one of Tom Morey’s many quirky and incredible Transition Era shapes, featuring an early stringerless design. I could go on a rant about how Tom Morey might be the most underrated inventor in surfing history, but I’ll save that for another time.

Todd Pinder Morey Pope Sopwith Camel.jpg
Pinder with a very cool Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel.

And while Pinder’s shaping room is filled with vintage gems, I’m even more stoked about his current creations. I mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating: Pinder shapes and glasses all of his boards. Yes, all of them. Surfboards are often marketed as bespoke goods, but the manufacturing reality can be the opposite. When you order a surfboard from Pinder, you know it was built by one set of very capable hands from start to finish. If you even have the slightest appreciation for craftsmanship, that should resonate with you. As a bonus, Todd is a very friendly and surf stoked individual.

Todd Pinder Surfboards.jpg
Pinder posing alongside some of his newer creations. Pic via Surfboards by Todd Pinder Facebook Page

If you’re in the market for a beautiful new board, hit up Surfboards by Todd Pinder and tell him we sent you! You can also follow him on Instagram here and on Facebook here. Thanks Todd for inviting me to your studio and for sharing the story behind some killer surfboards!

Offshore: Not All That Glitters…

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a doozy for you, courtesy of Offshore, a defunct surfwear brand. Once upon a time Offshore was a surf industry staple, but at some point it must have folded. Second from right in the Offshore ad above is none other than Michael Ho, Pipeline royalty and father of Mason and Coco. Michael Ho still charges Pipeline in his fifties, surfing at a level that would be impressive for someone literally half his age. (And here’s Derek Ho, younger brother of Michael and uncle to Mason and Coco, navigating a proper cavern just this past winter.) The Offshore ad originally ran in the June 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine  (Vol 23, No 6).

That said…there appear to be some nervous smiles in this photo. I’m no fashion expert, but c’mon, these shorts are hilarious. The poses don’t appear to be doing anybody any favors, either.

I may have said too much already. I recently visited the North Shore for the first time ever, and I’d like to go back, so I’m not going to risk offending any locals who may have starred in some ill-advised surfwear ads back in the day.

Thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred, and we’ll be back next Thursday evening with some fresh scans of some vintage surf ads.

Wave Tools Twin Fin by Lance Collins

Greetings, Shredderz! First things first, and that’s giving credit where credit is due. The photos in this blog post of the amazing 80s Wave Tools twin fin come courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Steve Wray. Steve has blessed us with some awesome pics from his equally great collection, and for that I am forever grateful. Longtime readers may know by now that I have a huge weakness for any and all things from the 80s. There are few brands who exemplify the neon Echo Beach aesthetic of the decade quite like Wave Tools, and this Lance Collins shaped twin fin ticks all of the boxes.

The gradient fade on the checkerboard pattern on the bottom is pure 80s excess — not to mention the four laminates that sit on top of it (as if there were ever any question about the label of the board!) Mr Wray tells me the board is an even 6’0″. I’m not sure what year it was shaped. My guess it was in the earlier part of the decade, before the thruster craze took over.

I also love the contrasting color schemes on the deck and the bottom of the board. There’s a great natural contrast between the cooler blue and green tones of the deck, and the symmetrical airbrush, and then the complete sunburst chaos found on the bottom. And, even after all this, if by some chance you’re still confused about who shaped the board, the huge Lance Collins laminates on either side of the nose (and the two decals on the rails) should settle any questions once and for all.

Wave Tools Twin Fin 3.jpg

It’s also cool to see that Lance Collins glassed the Wave Tools twin fin in question. There aren’t too many shapers that glass their own boards these days, and there’s something rad about a board that has been made from start to finish by one set of hands.

Wave Tools Twin Fin 1.jpg
RIP Clark Foam…the oversized Clark Foam laminate will always be awesome to me.

As you can see, the Wave Tools twin fin has taken on some discoloration. Nonetheless, I am stoked to see that the colors and laminates are still very well preserved. In my opinion, the most important elements of the board have been retained quite well, and I actually prefer it in its current state to a full on restoration that would involve stripping off the glass.

Thanks again Steve for sharing pics of the board!

Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’re going to shine a spotlight on one of my all-time favorite Transition Era boards: the Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom, or, as it’s technically known, the Surfboards Hawaii V.

The Surfboards Hawaii V bottom you see above (click photos to enlarge) comes courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Bobby. Thanks for sharing the photos of your beautiful board! As you can see, Bobby’s Surfboards Hawaii V is in pretty great condition. The fin — I’ll be honest, I always mix up my Transition Era fins, and I always guess W.A.V.E. Set when it’s not, so I’ll just pass for now — in particular stands out, and you can see the dramatic vee in the tail. (Update: I just asked a far more knowledgeable friend, and he confirmed that the fin is an early Bahne / Fins Unlimited design.)

I’ve heard some people say that the Surfboards Hawaii V doesn’t surf all that well, but I’m not one to judge. Rather, I tend to appreciate the unusual lines and dimensions of the board. I always trip out whenever I see a close up shot of the tail of a Surfboards Hawaii V bottom, like in the photo below. I’m always struck by the sheer amount of foam packed in the back end of these boards. The Surfboards Hawaii V bottom is almost reminiscent of a Corvette with its bulky, high tail. In addition to the dramatic vee on the bottom, you can also see how the tail section on the deck has been carved out, too. I love the black pinline on Bobby’s board and how it accentuates the Hawaii V’s angular lines.

Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom Tail.jpeg

There was another Surfboards Hawaii V bottom that was posted for sale on Craigslist earlier this month. I have reproduced some of those photos below, which give you a good idea of the rocker and outline of the board. You can click on the photos below to enlarge.

One thing I have never been able to track down is more information on who might have shaped the Surfboards Hawaii V bottoms. As many of us have been known to do, Bobby sought out the counsel of Bill Thrailkill on Swaylocks. According to Bobby, Thrailkill told him that there’s a good chance Ed Wright, who was on the Surfboards Hawaii label in the late Sixties, shaped a number of these boards. If anyone knows more, hit me up!

Last but not least, here’s a cool Surfboards Hawaii V bottom ad, courtesy of the @vintage_surf_ads account on Instagram. I love how the ad turns up its nose at the competing “mild V-bottoms on the market today”, and touts the fact that the Hawaii V is for “experienced surfers only.” It’s also interesting to read that these boards were apparently made with fiberglass stringers, too.

Thanks again to Bobby for sharing photos of his beautiful Surfboards Hawaii v bottom board, and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Camels, Connections and Case Studies

Greetings, Shredderz! Here’s a handful of recent videos related to vintage surfboards and/or alternative surf craft that I enjoyed. Hope they bring you some stoke, too.

Of all the cult surfboard shapers in the world, is there anyone more notable than Greg Liddle? The video above, which was produced by Daydream Surf Shop as part of their excellent “Case Study” series, goes deep on Liddle history with displacement hull OG Kirk Putnam. For example, did you know that Liddle often handed out board templates alongside any custom board orders? Before watching this video it had never occurred to me that you could be jealous of another person’s garage, but Putnam’s man cave, which has more surf history per square foot than any other structure on the planet, is a doozy. The video also some great vintage footage of folks riding older Liddle hulls, which is always a treat.

“Camel Finds Water” is a really enjoyable video. It doesn’t actually have a ton of surfing, but more importantly, it manages to fit a bunch of great stuff — adventure, friendship, hard work, and uncrowded spots — in its modest run time. As an admittedly well below average surfer, it’s hard to relate to a lot of modern surf videos. At their worst, surf videos can have an unhealthy preoccupation with “high performance”, focusing strictly on technical (and admittedly impressive maneuvers), while stripping out all the intangible things that I love most about surfing. “Camel Finds Water”, presented by Santa Barbara surfer Trevor Gordon, is a mini adventure featuring some remote waves, smooth surfing, and some cool-looking Ryan Lovelace-shaped sticks.

I wrote up the first entry of Mollusk’s “Craft Connection” series in the last Clipz post, and here’s more of the same goodness. Talented surfer / shapers don’t grow on trees, but Tyler Warren is definitely one of them. Video by Jack Coleman.

Rhythm Division: Sagas of Shred

Before “More Core”, Gotcha was apparently focused on keeping the beat. Sagas of Shred has featured some Gotcha ads before, including this classic, and for good reason. I still think Gotcha’s contributions to surf culture are criminally overlooked. (On a related note, here’s an incredible Stussy thruster that belonged to Gotcha founder Michael Tomson.) Sadly, the brand didn’t stick around much further past the Nineties, although even in its waning days it still counted Rob Machado and Andy Irons (through the More Core Division label) among its flag bearers. A lot about this Gotcha ad feels thirty years old — unless I’m mistaken and abstract neon bikinis are back in style — but the distinctive energy and creativity is palpable. I don’t mean to kick the surf industry when it’s down, but you compare this Gotcha ad to the recent and rather lifeless offerings from Billabong, Quiksilver et al, and the difference is stunning.

Gotcha also had the benefit of counting Martin “Pottz” Potter as its marquee rider. This ad was published in the May 1990 issue of Surfer Magazine, shortly after Potter captured the world championship. Pottz’s brand of raw aggression was a perfect match for Gotcha’s rebellious aesthetic, and I think it’s one of the great athlete / sponsor pairings in the recent history of the sport, joining partnerships like Slater and Quiksilver, Occy and Billabong, etc.

What can I say? This ad is so awesome. The photos, the clothes, the typeface…everything is perfect. Oh, and lest I forget, shout out to Dino Andino, father of Kolohe, who was also a staple throughout some of the better Gotcha marketing during the Eighties and early Nineties.

At some point Gotcha’s website had a vault featuring its old ad campaigns, but sadly it doesn’t look to be functional right now. This is a shame and I hope it gets restored, as there are a ton of gems in there.

Thanks for reading and visit next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads, courtesy of Sagas of Shred!

Natural Progression Single Fin by Robbie Dick

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a real treat for you: that’s right, a Seventies Natural Progression single fin shaped by Robbie Dick. Natural Progression was a Los Angeles based label that enjoyed a brief but memorable time in the sun. This bad boy was lurking on Craigslist recently and a friend was lucky enough to snag it. Alright, that’s enough back story: onto the pics!

Natural Progression Single Fin Robbie Dick 4Natural Progression Single Fin Robbie Dick 3

As you can see, the board is in pretty good condition. There are some dings and scrapes that aren’t super easy to see from the photos. Overall, though, the board is in great shape. The Natural Progression single fin measures in at approximately 7′ x 19″. The wide point is pretty far forward, as is common with boards made during this time. Overall it has a clean and gorgeous outline that you would expect from a Seventies single fin.

Natural Progression Single Fin Robbie Dick 6.jpg

This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the awesome Natural Progression logo. Of all the defunct surfboard brands out there, this logo just might be best of the lot. (I’ve probably said that about some other surfboard label, too, so please forgive me if that’s the case.) Something about the logo — maybe the fact it’s colorful without being noisy — captures what I imagine California must have felt like in the freewheeling Seventies.

Natural Progression Single Fin Robbie Dick 1.jpg

The board has a gorgeous black and white glass on fin, too, which is always a welcome touch. Again, I’m a bit surprised at how the fin has remained in great shape over the years, as these often get dinged up or knocked loose. I’ve seen the board in person and I can only guess that it wasn’t surfed very frequently, and then stored well for a number of years.

Natural Progression Single Fin Robbie Dick Signature.jpg

As you can see in the photo above, the signature has faded over time, but it’s still easy to make out some elements. The number, “77-193” (could be “77-793”, but I’m not sure), almost certainly signifies the fact the board was shaped in 1977. The number behind the dash is likely the sequential number for the number of boards shaped in that year. In fact, there’s actually another Natural Progression surfboard for sale on Craigslist right now, which you can find here. The numbering on the the board for sale reads “79-22”, which likely means it was the 22nd board shaped by Robbie Dick in 1979. You can also make out the “R. Dick” on the stringer above, meaning the board was shaped by Robbie Dick.

Natural Progression Single Fin Robbie Dick 2.jpg

There isn’t a ton of information on Natural Progression and/or Robbie Dick online, but I was able to find a couple of interesting scraps here and there. First, it looks like Dick has since relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where he continues to shape boards. You can check out his website here. Second, the excellent Los Angeles nostalgia-themed website Westside Historic has some great pics of some Natural Progression memorabilia, which I have reproduced above. Finally, the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame has a cool page on Robbie Dick, which is where I nabbed the photo of Dick in the shaping room (top left).

Weekend Grab Bag: Sunset Surfboards & More

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you all had truly wonderful weekends. There was some late season swell up here in Northern California, which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Yours truly was also active on the pickups front, but that’s a post for another time. As always, the Weekend Grab Bag features a collection of boards that, as of the time the post goes live, are listed for sale online. Today we’ve got a Sunset Surfboards single fin, a cool Eaton Bonzer, and more.

7’2″ Seventies Sunset Surfboards Single Fin (Craigslist Ventura)

Click on the photos above to enlarge. This stick must have migrated up the California coast, given that Sunset Surfboards was based in San Diego, and it’s currently now in the Ventura area. Sunset Surfboards still gets a lot of love from some notable San Diego locals, including folks like Joel Tudor and Surfy Surfy. Not sure who shaped the board, although Sunset Surfboards was once home to Bill Shrosbree, whom I think is retired. This single fin looks like it’s in pretty good condition, and as a bonus, it comes with a really great original fin. The seller is asking $300, which I think is a really nice price when you factor in the fin.

7’6″ Eaton Bonzer Shaped by Ace (eBay San Diego)

Click the photos above to enlarge. I’ve professed my love for the Eaton Bonzer surfboard many, many times before, and the example you see above is a neat one. It’s worth noting the board was not shaped by Mike Eaton but by Albert “ACE” Elliott. ACE shaped a good number of these Eaton Bonzers, and it looks like he’s still going strong today. I also dig the original fin.

6’4″ Eighties Donald Takayama Twin Fin (Craigslist Hawaii)

Shout out to Milo for sending this one my way! First, I’m not so sure this board is actually still for sale, given that the Craigslist post is all the way from February. The seller claims the Donald Takayama twin fin you see above was shaped in the Eighties. Not much other info is listed. Personally, I don’t come across many Takayama boards from this era. Most of what I see on Craiglist and eBay here in California are boards that look to be from the 2000s or so. The Takayama twin fin isn’t cheap — the seller is asking $750 — but the board looks to be in great shape, and I love the old school “banner” logo, the resin pinlines, and of course, the timeless outline and fin setup.

 

1989 Campbell Brothers Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

There’s something to be said about consistency, and the Campbell Brothers have been nothing if not steadfast in their belief about their groundbreaking design. It’s hard to refer to the Bonzer as an “alternative” design these days, given the fact the design counts surfers like Taylor Knox and brands like Channel Islands among its fans and collaborators. I’ve featured some vintage Bonzer ads before, such as this ad for the Bonzer produced under the Bing Surfboards label, and then another Campbell Brothers ad from the early Nineties. The brothers behind the design have also been very upfront about their progressive views over the years, resulting in the bold copy you see here. But you gotta love the fact the Campbells have never been afraid to challenge surfing orthodoxy.

The other interesting thing about the ad is the inclusion of Max McDonald. I was actually able to find out more about the board featured in the ad thanks to Surfy Surfy, whose excellent blog is always worth a visit.

Surfy Surfy Campbell Brothers Bonzer Mac McDonald.JPG
The EB5 featured here is a bit different from the one at the top of the page. Pic via Surfy Surfy

Surfy Surfy ran the photo above in a blog post, which you can find here. The photo you see above ran in Breakout Magazine in 1989, the same year as the ad found at the top of the page. The EB5 board that is featured in both advertisements is a collaboration between Max McDonald and the Campbell Brothers. (EB5 stands for Elevated wing Bonzer 5.) The Campbells started experimenting with five fin Bonzer surfboards in 1983. By the late Eighties they were working alongside McDonald, combining the fin setup from the five fin Bonzers with McDonald’s elevated wing design. McDonald began working on the wing design in the mid Seventies, after seeing Dick Brewer and Sam Hawk’s experiments with the design. All of this info is contained in the article that Surfy Surfy reproduced on their great blog.

If you look closely at both advertisements you can see the elevated wing design. The Campbell Brothers still use the elevated wing in a good number of their boards today.

Campbell Brothers Bonzer Elevated Wing Tail.jpg
Max McDonald’s elevated wing design has its roots in Dick Brewer and Sam Hawk’s shapes of the Seventies. It’s purely functional, but I happen to think it looks absolutely gorgeous, too. Photo via the Campbell Brothers Bonzer 5 site

Thanks for reading and visit again next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads as part of the Sagas of Shred series!

Weekend Grab Bag: Rick Surfboards UFO Stubby & More

Greetings, Shredderz! Yes, I’m aware that it is no longer the weekend. I’m not going to let something as trivial as reality get in the way of delivering another dose of some vintage surfboard goodness, however. Keep reading for a selection of boards that are currently listed for sale, including a neat Rick Surfboards UFO Stubby model. More sledz below…

Rick Surfboards UFO Stubby (eBay)

Rick Surfboards UFO Stubby Model Deck.jpg

Long time readers of the blog may know that I really, really love Rick Surfboards. See here for a Deep Dive I wrote on the label; and here’s another article on the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model. The Rick Surfboards UFO Stubby model pictured above needs work, but I still want to highlight what is a pretty unusual Transition Era shape from the label. It comes with what looks to be an original fin, and I dig the matching red high density foam wedge stringer.

Seventies Gordon & Smith Waterskate (Craigslist Los Angeles)

Gordon & Smith Waterskate Surfboard.JPG

I was really stoked to find a Gordon & Smith Waterskate for sale. First, the board was designed by Tom Morey, who is one of the greatest inventors in the history of surfing. I actually learned about the origins of the G&S Waterskate a few weeks ago, when I visited Marc Andreini in his shaping room and showed him an old board of his. The vintage Andreini you see below was actually inspired by the Gordon & Smith Waterskate, particularly with its concave deck. The pics of the Waterskate from the Craigslist post don’t show off the deck very well, but it was cool to run into an example of this board so soon after learning about its origins.

View this post on Instagram

Here’s a photo of Marc Andreini with a single fin he shaped in either 1970 or 1971. The board has an unusual concave deck along with some pretty boxy down rails. According to Marc, this is actually a take on a Tom Morey design, which was also produced as the Gordon & Smith Waterskate. I forget the exact mechanics but apparently the design principles create a similar effect to Marc’s current Greenough-inspired edge boards. Marc tells me he shaped similar boards for Santa Barbara surfers who were exploring El Salvador’s right hand point breaks during that era. If you look closely at the board you’ll notice it has the original Andreini Surfboards logo, which I think is such a cool touch. And if you look even closer, you’ll notice a Clark Foam blank in the background, too 🤫🤭😶. Anyway it was great to show Marc the board and get the history behind the shape. For all the time I spend looking at boards on Craigslist, nothing beats the experience of talking to and learning from a knowledgeable shaper in person! #marcandreini #andreinisurfboards

A post shared by SHRED SLEDZ (@shred__sledz) on

Hobie Terry Martin Speed Dialer (Craigslist Orange County)

Hobie Terry Martin Speed Dialer.jpg

The board you see above isn’t really vintage, per se, but it still represents a cool collaboration between a few well regarded shapers. Rich Pavel is known for his fish designs, and one of his most recognizable models is the Quan or the Speed Dialer, which is a quad fin fish. Terry Martin was an early mentor to Pavel, and according to the Craigslist ad, after seeing the Speed Dialer, Martin decided to whip up one of his own. The board is priced at an exceedingly reasonable $375.

Fully Restored Dick Brewer Seventies Single Fin (Craigslist Orange County)

Dick Brewer Seventies Single Fin Logo.jpg

I absolutely love Dick Brewer Seventies Single Fin surfboards, and this one is no exception. One caveat: the board has been fully restored, hence the flawless exterior. What I love about this board, other than the classic outline, is the unusual Brewer Boards logo. I can’t say whether or not it was shaped by Brewer himself, but there’s no denying that it looks stunning.