Eighties Japanese Lightning Bolt Ad: Sagas of Shred

First of all, I’d like to say that I find this Eighties Japanese Lightning Bolt ad deeply offensive. As a new dad with a long-standing aversion to non-surfing related exercise, I feel body shamed by the presence of these very fit gentlemen.

In all seriousness, I love this ad. It ran on the back cover of the September 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol. 23 No. 9). For a good chunk of the Eighties, the Lightning Bolt brand staked out the primo real estate on the back cover of Surfer Magazine. The end result was a pretty inspired set of ads. You can rest assured I’ll continue to post more of them here!

You’ll notice the bottom right hand corner of the ad reads “For translation go to page 26.” I have copied and pasted the translated text below:


The Lightning Bolt Team came to life in the early 70’s on Hawaii’s North Shore, energized by the challenge of Pipeline’s massive tubes and by each individual’s drive to create more progressive surfing equipment to tap that energy source. The resulting combination of dynamic surfers and ideas added up to more than the sum of its parts…and the known limits of wave riding were greatly expanded.

In the ongoing tradition of that first Pipeline crew, Team Bolt Japan joins our honored group of international surfers; each one a proud contribution to the constantly expanding energy of the whole.

That’s what Team Bolt is all about.

There’s something really rad about the Eighties Japanese Lightning Bolt ad featured above, whether it’s the Japanese text — always cooler if you don’t know what it says — or the simple color scheme. Many might say that Lightning Bolt’s glory days were squarely in the Seventies, defined by Gerry Lopez’s effortless styling at Pipeline, but I’m rather partial to this version of the brand, too.

As always, check back in next Thursday night for Sagas of Shred, where we’ll be sharing more bitchin’ vintage surf ads.

Further Reading More Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be the first to comment