Today we’re paying tribute to one of the most prolific surfboard shapers of all time: Phil Becker. Becker comes from a long line of shapers and labels that hail from the South Bay of Los Angeles, in and around Hermosa Beach. Bing Copeland, Hap Jacobs, Donald Takayama and Pat Rawson all can trace lineage back to the South Bay area — and that’s just a partial list. Keep scrolling below for some more background on the shaper, and then some pics of a lovely Phil Becker single fin.
It’s thought that Phil Becker hand shaped more surfboards than anyone else in history. Estimates peg Becker’s total output at somewhere between 100,000 and 130,000 boards shaped by hand — a truly mind-boggling figure. Becker spent some early parts of his career shaping for Rick Surfboards, another surfboard label with South Bay roots. By now, some readers may know that I’m a big fan of the early Rick / Becker boards.
The board featured in this post is an unbranded Phil Becker single fin. I’m guessing the board was shaped during the Seventies, but I’m not certain. The fact the board is unbranded is a bit unusual. From what I can tell — Becker is famously private; the Encyclopedia of Surfing claims he only gave one interview throughout his multi-decade career — Becker mostly shaped for two labels: Rick Surfboards and Becker Surfboards. Becker Surfboards, however, can be thought of a continuation of the Rick Surfboards brand. Becker and some business partners bought the Rick Surfboards label in 1980 or so, and then continued operations under the Becker Surfboards name, until they sold the brand to Billabong in 2010.
That said, I have seen two other labels with Becker shaped boards: Natural Progression and Sunline. The board in this post, however, is the only unbranded Becker shape I have seen to date.
Speaking of the board in question…my goodness, that thing is sexy. I actually love that there’s no branding anywhere on this board. The end result is a surfboard with clean, unblemished lines. It also doesn’t hurt that the board is still in fantastic condition.
As you can see, the board has a triple stringer setup and a gorgeous glass on fin.
The Phil Becker single fin you see above was listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County over the weekend. The post is no longer up, so I can only assume that someone leapt on this thing. The asking price was $325, which I think is an amazing bargain for a board from a shaper of Becker’s caliber, not to mention just how beautiful the thing is.
That said, I’ve noticed that Becker’s boards tend to be pretty cheap overall. Maybe this is just a side effect of his prolific output over the years. Granted, the Phil Becker single fin featured in this post is a sample size of exactly one, so take that with a grain of salt. Either way, I think whoever ended up with this stick should be pretty stoked.