Alright, Shredderz: 2018 is a serious year, and we’re not holding back. Yeah, that’s right: first Sagas of Shred entry in the new year means a full-page advertisement for perhaps the single greatest cult surfboard brand of the 1980s: Christian Fletcher Surfboards.
Christian Fletcher is still revered as one of the most influential surfers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Along with brother Nathan Fletcher, Christian was tabbed as a scion of surfing’s first family, the infamous Hoffman-Fletcher clan. Fletcher, however, ran from the cheerful conformity of the Orange County pro surfing scene, thanks to the surf establishment’s open hostility towards Fletcher’s aerial-heavy surfing. Sadly, Fletcher’s rebellious nature didn’t stop just at pro surfing contests, and he has openly struggled with substance abuse throughout his career. Then again, we don’t require rebels to be perfect — we simply ask that they be interesting, and Christian Fletcher is nothing if not a fascinating figure. As always, Matt Warshaw and the peerless Encyclopedia of Surfing have summed up Fletcher’s career far better than I ever could, and I urge you to subscribe to EoS if you haven’t yet. One interesting thing to note is Warshaw mentions that Christian Fletcher Surfboards was founded in 1991. However, the Christian Fletcher Surfboards ad pictured above was definitely taken from a 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine. I’m not sure how long the Christian Fletcher Surfboards brand lasted, but these boards are extremely coveted today.
It’s also interesting to note that Fletcher had high-profile sponsorships with other surfboard brands; most notably Town & Country / T&C Surf Designs. I’ve never understood how Fletcher managed to start his own brand while simultaneously riding for T&C. He also rode for a couple of other famous Orange County shapers, such as Randy Sleigh, Chris McElroy and Steve Boysen, though I’m not sure if they were considered proper sponsors.
At the end of the day, though, much of the enduring appeal of Christian Fletcher Surfboards has to do with the man himself and that incredible logo. You’ll often see the Christian Fletcher Surfboards logo in full color, but I happen to love the starkness of the black and white version here. The graphic is a perfect summary of Fletcher as a person and a surfer — radical and impossible to ignore.
As always, tune in next Thursday for another installment of Sagas of Shred!