“Free Ride” California Gold Vintage Surf Auction

Greetings, Shredderz! I imagine at least some of you reading this attended last weekend’s Boardroom Show. Somehow I still haven’t yet been to the main San Diego show, which I can’t defend. As always, the show coincides with an installment of Scott Bass’ California Gold surf auction. The latest installment of the auction is titled “Free Ride” and as you’d expect, there’s a deep roster of collectible vintage boards posted for sale. You can check out all the auction lots here; bidding closes October 15. Per Shred Sledz custom, here’s my writeup of the auction and some thoughts on boards that stood out.

First things first: Phil Edwards. I’m not old enough to have experienced Edwards’ career first hand, but all you need to do is pay attention to the list of people that hold him in the highest regard (e.g., Marc Andreini). I also had the opportunity to interview Edwards recently, and I found him to be thoughtful, humble and just a pleasure to speak with. Anyway, Phil Edwards’ board from his Sports Illustrated cover is up for grabs. I was surprised to learn that it’s actually a Greg Noll board, given Edwards’ relationship with Hobie. Bidding is sitting at $4,200 as of publication time. It’s all original, too.

One of the headliners is this stunning, all original Greg Noll Miki Dora “Da Cat” Model. Apparently it comes with the original fin, too. (I wish there were a better shot of the fin!) Current price is $18K and we’ll see where it ends up when the dust settles.

I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional 60s longboard stuff, but there are some really cool boards in the auction. There’s a 1967 Gordon & Smith Midget Farrelly Stringerless Model, only at $1,600 at the time of publishing; a 1966 Morey-Pope longboard, currently at $1,900; and a super clean Bing David Nuuhiwa Noserider.

I’m a sucker for anything Larry Bertlemann, and here’s a cool 1977 personal gun he shaped. Check out the rare Olympic rings-inspired laminate. I’ve said it a million times but in my mind there’s a certain character with all original boards that often gets scrubbed away when you’re dealing with restorations.

I’m always fascinated by Mike Diffenderfer’s boards — I figure if the late, great Dick Brewer regarded Diff as a rival, that’s pretty solid endorsement — and there are two cool ones here. There’s a beautiful Diffenderfer balsa board shaped in 1998, but personally I’m partial to this 1974 Surfboards Haleiwa single fin that was one of Diff’s personal riders.

Summary & Thoughts

As always, Scott Bass and team do a great job of curating a killer lineup of boards. If you’re into collectible boards, the California Gold Auction is a must, even if you’re just a lowly window shopper like myself. I’m not even someone who’s super into the “standard” collector stuff — 60s Noll boards, Lightning Bolt Pipeliners, etc — but even so, California Gold has more than enough variety to keep things interesting. I’m really glad to see “Free Ride” had a bunch of super interesting all original boards.

I still have a few quibbles here and there, but these are relatively minor. For example, I’d love more context on the provenance behind the Pat Curren board that was supposedly owned by Steve McQueen. I also think it’d be great to have just a bit more consistency on how the boards are categorized. Take this lot, which is one of Shaun Tomson’s personal boards from 1977, shaped by Bill Barnfield. I have to assume it’s restored — it would be insane if it weren’t — but there’s no language explicitly stating such.

Again, though, these aren’t a big deal. Bottom line, every time there’s another California Gold Auction I am immediately diving in and nerding out on the boards that are posted, which is exactly what they’re going for. Hats off to Scott Bass and team on putting together another sick selection of boards, and hopefully I’ll be at the next Boardroom Show to check out some of the wares in person.

Once again you can see all the auction lots here, and bidding closes on October 15.

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  1. Hi, I’m trying to find out anything I can about 2 boards I’ve got. One is O’neill 9’6″ ser#1376, & an Ole 8’8″ there’s a serial # on the tail, stringer, in pencil.Hard to read but seems to read 162 something. who do I talk to? Any help would be good. Hang w/ me new to computers. Thanks much