Shawn Stussy Thruster for Michael Tomson of Gotcha

Greetings, Shredderz! The board I’m writing up today is one of the coolest I have ever seen. By now some readers might know that Shawn Stussy is a favorite of this humble vintage surfboard blog. Stussy’s Eighties thrusters are likely his most popular shapes, and for good reason. But what makes this Shawn Stussy thruster special is the fact it was shaped for none other than Gotcha founder Michael Tomson.

First and foremost, a big shout out to Rob, who owns the board above, for sharing the photos you see in this post. He’s on Instagram here.

Anyway, back to the board in question. By now we all know Shawn Stussy’s legacy as a renowned surfboard shaper and an early streetwear pioneer. But early on, Michael Tomson looked to be on the exact same trajectory, having transitioned from a pro surfing career to founding Gotcha, which was one of the hottest labels in surfing during its heyday. It’s also worth noting that Tomson ripped.

Michael Tomson Pipeline.jpg
MT charging Pipeline, as featured in a Gotcha ad. I believe this ad was likely from the mid Nineties or so, given the logo. Photo via Adventure Sports Network

Sadly, Gotcha no longer exists today, but at one point the label was producing some truly interesting work, including the legendary “If you don’t surf…don’t start” ad campaign. More importantly, Gotcha’s early logo was actually designed by Shawn Stussy!

As you can see from the Instagram post above, Stussy and Tomson’s history goes back to the early Eighties. This isn’t totally surprising, given Stussy’s Laguna Beach roots, which also was home to Gotcha’s offices.

Gotcha Ad Gary Busey.jpg
Example of another Gotcha ad, this one plucked from Tomson’s own website. My guess is this ad was late Eighties / early Nineties but I’m not sure.

Befitting Gotcha’s raw, in your face style, Tomson was one of the most outrageous characters on the surf scene at the time. Sadly, Tomson’s hard charging lifestyle has lost a considerable amount of its romance, given Gotcha’s eventual fade and a string of drug arrests that occurred well into middle age.

I love the fact this surfboard was not only shaped by Stussy, but also created for a true character who happened to be a world class surfer. And even if you don’t care about Tomson’s colorful history, well, at the end of the day, the board is still a Stussy thruster, with all the details and flourishes that make his boards so collectible.

Of course, the board wouldn’t be complete without a Gotcha logo — beneath the glass, naturally. You can also see an additional Stussy signature on the deck right above the tail.

What really gets me going are the awesome hand drawn logos found on the Stussy thruster. The planer laminate is one I don’t believe I have seen on any other Stussy boards. And how cool is that Stussy Team laminate?! That must have been the ultimate Eighties surfing street cred accessory. I love the touch of having the logo on the glass on fins, too — I wish more shapers did this nowadays.

You might be wondering what kind of psycho writes five hundred plus words about an Eighties surfboard. Well, I regret nothing, because this Stussy thruster shaped for Michael Tomson is an absolute gem. Thanks again to Rob for generously sharing the pics of the board — you can follow him on Instagram here.

 

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