La Jolla Surf Systems: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday again, which means we’re serving up some red hot scans of old surf ads as part of the Sagas of Shred series. Today we’ve got an unlikely all star cast in an ad for La Jolla Surf Systems. The ad originally appeared in the February 1983 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 24, No 2). I assume La Jolla Surf Systems was an old San Diego surf shop, but that’s about all I know. What’s really interesting is the collection of shapers featured in the ad (and one notable craftsman who apparently didn’t make it to the shoot on time). The ad features the late Bill Caster, whose boards are still coveted among a selection of San Diego locals; Gary McNabb, of Nectar Surfboards fame; Tim Bessell, who is still shaping today; Eric “Bird” Huffman, founder of Bird’s Surf Shed; and of course, a young Shawn Stussy. If you look closely at the bottom right of the ad you’ll see a gorgeous-looking Stussy twin fin with purple rails and some wings in the tail. I’m a little intrigued by Stussy’s inclusion, as I believe he is the only non-San Diego local in the names listd above. While the ad mentions that La Jolla Surf Systems has Skip Frye boards in stock, if you look below Bird’s photo you’ll see “Skip Frye — gone fishing.” To me this suggests Skip was originally supposed to take part in the shoot, but that’s just a guess. Thirty six plus years after the ad was shot, I can’t even imagine the sheer luxury of walking into a surf shop and seeing a bunch of Skips on the racks, to say nothing of the Stussy boards! If you read this blog you know that my bread and butter is poking fun at the ridiculousness of Eighties art direction, but I’m still too starstruck by all the shapers in the ad to come up with anything halfway decent.

Mahalo for reading and don’t be afraid to come back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!

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  1. Eric Grimsley says:

    It’s awesome to see the picture of the cowboy surfer that was my dad Ralph Grimsley f****** awesome

  2. Kenneth Minott says:

    Their was always something unique about La Jolla Surf Systems.I just started to learn how to surf.Me and my best friend bought some used boards from one of our neighbor.The boards had seen better days but we wanted to learn so bad to surf we were happy to start our journy.Ofcoarse we started surfing the shores.Straight out in front of the bathrooms.I can remember spending most of my summer days at yhe shores.I can remember yhis ripper named the late David Eggers out surfing with us in sometimes 2′ foot slop.David was grabbing people’s leashes to stop anybody from catching better wave than himself yelling its my wave,my wave.And after a few months we started surfing Green Wall,Scripps and then Northside of the pier and one really large day back in 1983 it was still dark out and low tide.Me and my best friend had been surfing for a few months now.We get to the beach around 5am,still dark out.So stoke to just be able to go surfing we didn’t hear the large surf that was out their.Both of us fighting over who gets to use the little bit of wax we had bought at La Jolla Surf System a few days before.We paddle out in front of the bathrooms neat the parking lot.It was kinda hard to get out in the line up.The currents were really strong that day.As it started getting closer the first mourning light ,I looked north towards Scripps Pier and the tides coming up and the waves are just a few feet below the pier.Not just big waves but huge waves were coming in and slamming against the pier.They were bigger than I had seen ever before.At least 10′ to 12′ surf coming in.By now theyou could see the huge swell coming in near the pier and the really strong currents dragging you south towards Boomer’s and straight towards the cove.I had to start paddling north cause I started it at the bathrooms and I was drifting south towards the boat launching area and eventually right out in front of the Marine room.With the tide coming up the and having daylight I started to realize the the surf is probably to big for me and guys surfing around me are kinda letting me know to get out of the impact zone because they are not getting complete rides cause I’m kinda in their way.Extremeley tired from all theecta paddling im now faced with to choices .One due I catch one of those monster waves,hopefully making the drop and trying to ride the wave as far as I can to try and make it to the shore.or should I start paddling in some when there wasn’t a set wave coming and then trying to catch the foam ball to thebeach.Tired and concerned that the surf is way to big for me and catching one of those bombs from the outside,I chose to wait untill the bigger sets had gone by and try and get in front of a wave just a head of the foamball.Well I did and here comes this huge foamball so I’m paddling hard and I do catch it.Almost getting knock off my board just zooming pretty fast toward the shoreline with some of the foam ball going over my head and eventually consuming me and knocking me off my surfboard and snapping my leash.Now with no surfboard I’m still pretty far from the shoreline.Im in pretty deep water so I’m having to swim towards the shore constantly looking out for other set waves to come in cause I’m still in the dangerous impact zone.Didnt take long for a huge set to come in and k on with no fins to help me catch this set wave.About 10′ to 12 ‘ I have to body surf it in as far as I can.Getting closer but I had to duck dive a few set waves, struggling to stay on top of the foam ball and a float without my surfboard struggling to catch my breath.I eventually making it to the beach.But on most days around lunch time surfing the Shores me and my friends would walk south towards The general store called Nieghbor saver and Jeff’s Burgers.Rifhr before me made it to the store was the shop.La Jolla Surf Shop very small but with a lot of surboarda inside.I will never forget the smell as you walk into the surf shop.The smell of Cherry Sex Wax.Yoy knew you were in a surf shop.Even today some 40 years later being in just about all surf shops that San Diego has today.Not one of them uniquely smelly of Cerry Sex Wax and letting people know your in a surf shop.Many tines I’m looking threw La Jolla Surf Shops board collection.Dreaming that one day I might just be able to get one of their surfboards.At that time not really k owing how lucky I would have been to choose a board made by one of La Jolla Surf Sytems shaper.Any one of those shapers.Hall of fame shapers today.I would have had one of the best surfboards in San Diego.Today I now ride a 6’4″ Tim Bessell tri-fin surfboard,shaped back in the 90’s, given to me by my friend who surfed for Bessell and Billabong.Me and Peter King surfed Wind-n-Sea together, watching Saxen Boucher just starting to rip Wind-n-Sea in Highschool.Lucky enough to get to see Peters band play Dakoda MOTOR Company and his brother the late David King band Mary’s Danish playing at a benefit concert at U.C.S.D. be firing their new Quad center.And after the show at the King’s House on Draper street,91x and K-rock there.With Bob Hurley there in charge of Billabong USA at the time and of coarse Peter’s shaper Tim Bessell there too.In conclusion I would like to thank La Jolla Surf Systems for making a unique surf shop and reminding me everytime I go surfing to never forget to bring wax.