We love Thursdays here at Shred Sledz HQ for a few reasons. First, it means the weekend is within striking distance. Second, and more importantly, Thursdays are when we publish our exclusive Sagas of Shred series, which is really just an excuse to run scans of awesome advertisements from my stack of old Surfer Magazines. And as you can see above, the subject of today’s Sagas of Shred post is none other than Australian legend Mark Richards.
When I first stumbled across the ad pictured above, I wanted to make some customary lighthearted comments about MR’s era-appropriate hairdo and outfit. But MR’s incredible resume deserves far more attention. Richards is one of the few modern pros whose shaping career matches (or even exceeds!) his accomplishments in a jersey. This is saying something, considering that MR won four consecutive world titles, an achievement surpassed only by the otherworldly Kelly Slater.
MR wasn’t just shaping boards as a hobby while he was competing: in fact, he claims that riding his own designs gave him a significant advantage over other pros at the time. Richards was an early pioneer of the twin fin, a board he credits with helping him garner his world titles. I highly recommend reading the bio on the Mark Richards Surfboards website, which is a great overview of MR’s journey.
The advertisement at the top of the page is interesting because it ran in an issue of Surfer Magazine in the 1980s in what I assume was an attempt to target the American market. Richards continues to live and shape in Newcastle, Australia. I believe most of the boards sold under the Mark Richards Surfboards label in the US were licensed out to ghost shapers, but it’s unclear who. One indication is the Spanners logo in the ad. I believe Spanners was a glassing shop, and it appears that at one time, Spanners was associated with Robert August Surfboards.
Richards’ career is deserving of much more than a snapshot of an advertisement in an old magazine, however. Stay tuned for some more content about the man. In the meantime, enjoy this MR-themed blast for the past, and tune in next week for more Sagas of Shred.