Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to another installment of Sagas of Shred. Today’s post focuses on an old ad for Ole Surfboards. Ole is the namesake and brain child of Bob Olson. This is a blog that likes to celebrate history, but Olson is truly old school. For starters, the man is in his mid-eighties, and I believe he continues to shape to this day! Check out Ole Surfboards page on Facebook here.
Olson got his start in Orange County. For a quick bit of background on the man, I recommend this article in the Orange County Register, which was written by none other than Corky Carroll. Olson not only shaped Corky’s third ever surfboard…he was also a wood shop teacher at Shawn Stussy’s high school, and went on to become a shaping mentor to Stussy. (Since we are big Stussy fans here at Shred Sledz, here’s another bit of trivia: Jeff Timpone glassed Olson’s boards at some point, and Timpone and Stussy shaped together at Russell Surfboards during The Brotherhood days.)
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guy on the right is responsible for my second shaping job ever, and by far the most formative… Mr. Bob Olson was my wood shop teacher at high school and also my employer in the tenth grade… the summer after ninth grade I worked at Chuck Dent shaping up in Costa Mesa behind bay cities glassing… Bob would bring his blanks there for glassing throughout that summer… he would see me there and say hey, aren't you that kid from wood shop?… what you doing here?… what, your shaping boards for Chuck out there in the back?… I am like yeah, figuring it out… so I go back to school in the fall and have woodshop again… I get my license and he offers me a job with this new thing called " work experience"… after fourth period I drive to sunset beach, open his old gas station turned surf shop and rough out boards till he got there after all his seven periods that were required of him… he would critic the work I did, offer tips, finish off a few together, doing our thing… all good… his brand was OLE and he has been around since kinda the beginning… at the end of my junior year he packs up and moves to Lahaina and has been there since… big shout to the guy that saw something in me and let me mow some foam and figure it out… big hug BOB, I wish to thank you…
Olson’s shaping career is worthy of a post of its own. However, for today I’ll simply zero in on one fascinating little detail in the advertisement. You’ll notice in the bottom right the ad says “Phil Edwards Model now available.” The ad at the top of the page was published in Surfer Magazine in 1963 (Aug. – Sep. 1963, Vol. 4 No. 4). I have personally never seen a Ole Surfboards Phil Edwards Model, and I imagine these must be incredibly rare. Google searches don’t turn up any info, either. I’m not sure how the timing of Ole’s Phil Edwards Model lines up with its far more famous counterpart, which was Edwards’ famous signature model for Hobie Surfboards.
I was able to find evidence of a friendship between Olson and Edwards, including the photo above, which is apparently hanging in Ole’s shaping room on Maui. In addition, it was Phil Edwards who recommended Olson for the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame back in 2009.
If you have any info on the Ole Surfboards Phil Edwards model, please let me know!