California Gold Fall 2023 Auction

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s officially fall, which means northwest swells and five figure price tags on Greg Noll Miki Dora “Da Cat” Models. That’s right, as the seasons change the annual California Gold Surf Auction is back, and as always, there are a bunch of really cool boards for sale. Here’s a link to all the lots. I highly recommend clicking through, as there’s way, way more stuff in there than I’ve covered in this post.

It’s not quite accurate to say I’m bored of 70s Lightning Bolts or classic 60s longboard models…but I do think they have been covered in pretty exhaustive detail. If you have one you’d like to give me, I won’t say no, but I’ve run out of things to say about them.

In no particular order, here are some boards in the auction that I loved. Honestly, I didn’t even look at any of the prices — this is strictly an exercise in window shopping. I took some liberties with the photos and did some light editing on a few snaps. Hope you enjoy.

There are a million reasons to dig this 1988 10’6″ Skip swallowtail (apparently a predecessor to his Swish model), starting with the Big Dogs laminate. If you ever see a Skip Frye with a No Fear logo on it, bang my line and I’ll buy it sight unseen. Not only does this board boast Chumash-inspired artwork by Donna Frye, Skip’s wife, but I wonder if the resin tints were done by Bradley Buben. Buben was the recent subject of a Surfer’s Journal piece by John Durant, who also wrote an excellent Rusty Preisendorfer profile, and takes beautiful photos.

I’ve always loved the look of these Mike Eaton boards, thanks to their signature resin work. Dave Hollander, who later served as CEO of Becker Surf, did the color on many of these boards. I was surprised to see this one — an 8’6″ single fin gun shaped in 1978 — was fully restored, so the resin art likely isn’t original. Either way it looks phenomenal. I’m usually not a fan of surfboards as home decor, but I might be willing to make an exception.

I’ve got a thing for Mike Diffenderfer’s shapes, and while I’d never ride this 1993 10’3″ rhino chaser in the kind of waves for which it was designed, it’s still a trip to geek out on the various details. It’s got Diff’s signature baby squash tail, and the cutout in the fin is interesting, too.

Last but not least, I loved the ultra aggressive outline on this 7’4″ Terry Martin-shaped Lightning Bolt single fin from 1974. The wings and severe pintail are reminiscent of some of the outlines you see on Terry Fitzgerald’s Hot Buttered boards from around the same time.

You can see all the auction lots here.

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