As longtime Shred Sledz readers know by now, Channel Islands is a surfboard brand with a special place in my heart. Many moons ago, as a wide-eyed and bushy tailed grommet, I plunked down a fistful of dollars bills earned from an old-fashioned manual labor summer job and bought my first surfboard, an oversized Channel Islands board I still own today. Putting aside my own soft spot for nostalgia, Al Merrick is a legend and someone whose contributions to modern surfboard design cannot be overstated.
If you’re in the San Diego area there’s a nice old-school Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull single fin up for grabs on Craigslist. The dimensions are listed at 6′9.5″ x 20.5″ (with nothing listed for thickness). The poster claims this board is from the 70s, which looks about right to me. Stoked-N-Board’s entry for Channel Islands surprisingly doesn’t have any info on the Tri Plane Hull single fin model, which is surprising, given that these seem to have been somewhat popular back in the day.
The million dollar question, of course, is whether or not this is a board shaped by Al Merrick himself. My guess is no, but I can’t be sure. Merrick has been known to sign his boards with an “Al” in front of the fish icon. This board, as you can see in the pics, only has the fish. I have heard conflicting reports. My guess is this: the “Al” accompanied by the fish definitely signifies a board shaped by Merrick himself. I also believe it’s possible that boards that only boast the fish icon on the stringer could be handshapes – especially from this time period, before the brand became huge – but there’s no way to verify.
The price for this guy is $500, which is a bit steep. Otherwise, it looks to be in decent condition, and the owner seems to be the rarest of Craigslist posters in that he has provided decent pictures of the board. There are some dings on the bottom – shout out to the black paint job for making that clear – but otherwise it looks like it’s in great shape.
Check out the board here.