Greetings, Shredderz! As some of you probably know by now, every Thursday night (sometimes early Friday morning), I’ll write another entry in the Sagas of Shred series featuring a different vintage surf ad. I mostly focus on ads for old surfboard labels or shapers. And while surfing is proud of its counter culture bona fides, one interesting aspect of surf culture is the fact that it has been driven in large part by fashion over the years. For all the chest beating about being core and staying true to the spirit of the sport, selling t-shirts and boardshorts — mostly to non-surfers — has been surfing’s economic engine. I’ll always love geeking out about vintage surfboard ads and design trends, but much of modern surf history has been shaped by the accompanying clothing brands and their marketing campaigns.
This is not a criticism, by the way. I can’t really say I care that much for surf fashion these days, but I think that’s a function of age more than anything else. For bright eyed young groms, there are few decisions more momentous than choosing the right brands as a form of self-expression. And in the Eighties, perhaps more than any other decade, fashion really helped shape surf culture at large.
Maui and Sons is one of the great surf brands of the Eighties, alongside stalwarts like Ocean Pacific and Gotcha. The brand has gone through a few reincarnations and it’s still up and running today, but it’s a far cry from its heyday.
I really love this vintage Maui and Sons ad, if for no other reason than the unmistakable Eighties aesthetic. The old school Maui and Sons logo is an Eighties modern art classic. The rest of the ad has a kind of breezy carelessness to it, and the vibe is more important than what’s actually happening on the page. Why is there a pair of shorts flying through the air? And is that a baby shark in the pool — that fin can’t be more than six inches, right? But who cares when everything is neon and carefree?
Maybe this kind of nostalgia doesn’t hold the same appeal unless you grew up in the Eighties. But that’s exactly when I did, and as a result, I’ll never stop loving this kind of stuff.
Thanks for reading and check back in next week for more Sagas of Shred!