Vintage Skip Frye Fish

Greetings, Shredderz! Right as the weekend comes to a close we’re sneaking in with a quick entry in the Price Checks series. Most of the time Price Checks features a few different boards with a common theme, but today we’ve only got one sled for you. Pictured below is a vintage Skip Frye fish, and the price tag is not for the faint of heart.

The board you see above is 5’5″ vintage Skip Frye fish that is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Skip’s hometown of San Diego. You can find a link to the listing here. According to the original listing (it has since been edited — hold that thought), the board was shaped in the Seventies. [CORRECTION: Thanks to the knowledgeable folks who have helped date the board. Pacific Surf Glas was opened in 1988 or so, and it’s like this fish was shaped around 1990.]

For starters, the vintage Skip Frye fish is a beautiful board. Frye has spoken before about how his fish designs were influenced by Steve Lis, who is widely credited with creating the shape in the first place. The board is by no means in perfect condition, but I don’t mind. Would I prefer a completely flawless board? I suppose. But I think the slight discoloration and the few blemishes actually lend it a bit of character. The leash plug looks like it was added after the fact, but that’s my only real quibble.

I’m also intrigued by the Pacific Surf Glas laminate, which you can barely see peeking out from between what I assume are Larry Gephart fins. If I had to guess this is probably an old San Diego glass shop that is no more. I love these little details on boards, though, and the more obscure the better.

The rub here is the price. The board was initially listed for a $3,995, which almost made me fall out of my chair. Before the grumbling starts, let me be clear: my goal is to analyze the price, not the character of the person setting it. As boring or soulless as it might sound, I tend to believe in free markets (though my grades in the one econ class I took in college would indicate otherwise.) Like it or not, Skip’s boards are expensive, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Still, I thought I was immune to Skip Frye sticker shock, but seeing this board proved otherwise.

It looks as if others agree, as the price has been cut to $3,500. I still think that’s too much. It’s also worth noting the board has been listed for almost two weeks now. As a general rule of thumb, if there’s a Skip Frye on Craigslist and the price is anywhere close to being justifiable, it won’t last very long. Consider the board below, which didn’t even last a week on Craigslist. The board below is a 10’7″ Skip Frye Eagle glider and it was listed for $3800 — which, by the way, is still an absolute shitload of money for a surfboard! I don’t think you can look at these two boards and determine that the Skip Frye Eagle is worth only $300 more (or $200 less, if you go by the original price on the vintage Skip Frye fish.)

I’m all for vintage boards and for paying extra for something with historical significance. And yes, you can likely say that any vintage Skip board is historically significant. You won’t get any arguments from me there. But as much as I dig this rad Skip Frye fish, I suspect the price will have to take another haircut before the board moves. Who knows, though, and now is as good a time as any to remind you that I’m just someone who has nothing better to do than write about vintage surfboards in his free time.

Anyway, hopefully you weren’t offended by the talk about prices, and enjoyed the pics of a rad board from one of California’s all-time great shapers. Thanks for reading!

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