If neon isn’t your thing, you’re probably gonna want to go ahead and close this tab immediately. Likewise, if you’re not into seeing a handful of all-time surf greats all in one photo, this one might not be up your alley. But if those two things are your kind of deal, then you just might enjoy this O’Neill ad from 1988 as much as I do.
This ad is just beyond classic. It’s taken from a full page spread in the May 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 29, No 5). The O’Neill roster at the time is chock full of talent: Shaun Tomson, Mike Parsons (I’m rather partial to Snips’ first Sagas of Shred appearance, courtesy of Uggs), Tom Carroll, and Martin Potter all rode for the Santa Cruz-based wetsuit label at the time. To be honest, I’m not sure who either Anderson or Farnsworth are — my apologies, but this ad is a little before my time.
For reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, Carroll seems to dominate this ad. He looks completely relaxed, confident, and in his element. Then again, Carroll had won two world titles by the time this photo had been taken, and this was about three years before his famous under the lip snap at Pipe. If you look at the top right photo, you’ll notice Carroll riding one of his Byrne boards with the signature swooping airbrush. Or maybe it’s just his Oakley blades.
Pottz, on the other hand, is almost subdued in the main spread. Granted, at this many words in, I am definitely guilty of reading way too far into a random wetsuit ad from the late Eighties. Still, it’s odd to think that this ad ran shortly before Pottz won his world title on the back of his progressive surfing.
Anyway, thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred. We’ll have another fresh scan of a vintage surf ad next Thursday evening, California time. Mahalo for reading!