Keyo Plastic Machine Repro

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a quick heads up about a beautiful not-quite vintage surfboard that can currently be found for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. There’s currently a Keyo Plastic Machine model for sale in Huntington Beach. You can find the Craigslist listing here. The board is a newer reissue of the Transition Era model of the same name. Both the repro as well as the original Keyo Plastic Machine were shaped by Bob McTavish.

You can click the photos above to enlarge. (All photos in this post are via the original Craigslist listing). The Keyo Plastic Machine was a v bottom surfboard that was shaped by McTavish during the late Sixties. If you’ve been reading the blog you may know that I am an enormous fan of Surfresearch has a typically comprehensive post on Keyo Surfboards, which is worth reading. Keyo was the brainchild of Dennis “Denny” Keough (get it?), and it was based out of Sydney. When the label debuted McTavish’s Plastic Machine, the v bottom shape quickly became a best seller.

I was a bit surprised to see this board for a number of reasons. First, while Keyo is a famous Aussie label, I don’t know that it has much recognition in the US. I’m about as biased as it gets when it comes to loving surfboards, but I can’t imagine there’s a huge audience of Aussie ex pats with a specific passion for Transition Era shapes! I’m guessing the board was shaped in Australia and shipped over here, but that’s a stab in the dark.

Second, I recently came across a Bob McTavish interview where he talked a bit about his evolving views on hulls. In McTavish’s own words, “By mid ‘69 I wanted nothing to do with hulls. I still don’t like them. Dreamy, but impractical.” The quote comes off a little harsh — earlier in the interview, McTavish praises the neutral aspects of hulls, and his objection has more to do with surfing in crowds than board design — but it was still eye-opening, coming from someone who was so integral to the shortboard revolution. Granted, the Plastic Machine is a v bottom, so I’m not even sure that it would qualify for McTavish’s criticism.

The board is clearly signed on the stringer. It is 9′ x 22 3/4″ x 3 1/8″. According to the numbering, it is #3 of just twelve limited edition Plastic Machine reproductions. I’m not sure when McTavish reproduced these.

The seller is asking for $1,200. He claims the board has never been surfed, and it is clearly in impeccable condition. It’s hard to price unusual boards like this Plastic Machine repro, but I’m personally a huge fan. I tend to prefer vintage stuff, even if it’s got a little wear and tear, but there’s no denying the heritage of the shape, McTavish’s imprint, and the simple fact that it’s one gorgeous surfboard. If you feel the same and you’ve got considerably more cash on hand, then maybe check out the Craigslist post here.

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  1. Derek Tsuji says:

    Looks well worth the price to me even if it’s a repro. That was the design that started the revolution. I attended the screening of the film “Going Vertical” where both McTavish and Brewer were in attendance and during the discussion after the movie they both hugged and agreed it was McTavish that ushered in the shortboard revolution.