Pat Curren Surfboards Ad from the Sixties: Sagas of Shred

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Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred, Shred Sledz’s very own ode to some of the greatest advertisements from surfing’s past. Today we have a very special feature for you: an old Pat Curren Surfboards ad taken from an issue of Surfer Magazine published in the 1960s.

Nowadays it might be easiest to think of Pat Curren as father to Tom Curren, who was the most famous American surfer to come along before the seemingly never-ending reign of our current king, the inimitable Robert Kelly Slater. But before Tom sent tongues wagging at the Op Pro, Pat Curren had established a career as a big wave charger and a well-regarded shaper.

Pat Curren surfboards are still extremely collectible, and they’re also not very easy to find. SHACC — the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center — has a blog post featuring an awesome Pat Curren spear, as they call it, that has been crafted entirely out of balsa. If you have a chance, I highly recommend the blog post, as it has a bunch of fantastic old pictures of Pat Curren shaping some of his designs.

At first I wondered if the smiling grom in the ad to the left might have been Tom Curren himself. Considering the ad ran in 1963, however, either this is a different grom, or simply the second-most impressive thing Tom Curren has ever done, behind the impeccable surfing he displayed on his first-ever wave at South Africa’s J-Bay.

By now, faithful Shredderz, I believe you know the drill: check back in next Thursday for Sagas of Shred and some more wonderful relics from surfing’s past.

As always, thank you for reading!

1960s Hang Ten Ad Featuring Bing, Hobie and Dewey Weber: Sagas of Shred

That’s right, folks: it’s Thursday, and Sagas of Shred keeps rolling along. Today we have another ad from an issue of Surfer Magazine from the 1960s, featuring classic surfwear brand Hang Ten. To be honest, it was only recently that I realized that Hang Ten’s history went back so far. Sadly, Hang Ten was purchased by some faceless conglomerate a few years ago, and today it churns out uninspired interpretations of California cliches. But I digress. In contrast, the Hang Ten ad pictured above is completely bitchin’. It features three of the greatest shapers of the 1960s, all of whom have gone on to become boldfaced names in the world of surfing: Bing Copeland, Hobie Alter and Dewey Weber (and of course, all three shapers’ respective better halves).

I love that all the shapers are posing alongside some of their creations. Weber’s board, in particular, looks enticing. I’m guessing it’s some sort of big-wave gun, whereas Bing and Hobie both have longboards that look like pretty standard issue for the 1960s. Weber’s board looks like it has to be at least 10′ in length, and the pintail stands in stark contrast to the wide-hipped Hobie and Bing examples.

One common pattern in these vintage ads is the unusual amount of crossover. For example, you would never see a Hurley ad running today featuring Jon Pyzel, Matt Biolos and Hayden Cox (least of all because the latter two gentlemen also sell clothing themselves). I suppose this was a byproduct of the tight-knit surfing scene in the 1960s, when it had yet to become a global multi-billion dollar industry. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Olden Days were better — after all, forty years from now, someone is going to be waxing nostalgic about the world before Kelly’s Wave Pool took over the world — but there’s an undeniable sense of optimism in many of these early surf advertisements.

As always, thank you for reading, and tune in next week for another installment of Sagas of Shred!

Christian Fletcher Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Alright, Shredderz: 2018 is a serious year, and we’re not holding back. Yeah, that’s right: first Sagas of Shred entry in the new year means a full-page advertisement for perhaps the single greatest cult surfboard brand of the 1980s: Christian Fletcher Surfboards.

Christian Fletcher is still revered as one of the most influential surfers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Along with brother Nathan Fletcher, Christian was tabbed as a scion of surfing’s first family, the infamous Hoffman-Fletcher clan. Fletcher, however, ran from the cheerful conformity of the Orange County pro surfing scene, thanks to the surf establishment’s open hostility towards Fletcher’s aerial-heavy surfing. Sadly, Fletcher’s rebellious nature didn’t stop just at pro surfing contests, and he has openly struggled with substance abuse throughout his career. Then again, we don’t require rebels to be perfect — we simply ask that they be interesting, and Christian Fletcher is nothing if not a fascinating figure. As always, Matt Warshaw and the peerless Encyclopedia of Surfing have summed up Fletcher’s career far better than I ever could, and I urge you to subscribe to EoS if you haven’t yet. One interesting thing to note is Warshaw mentions that Christian Fletcher Surfboards was founded in 1991. However, the Christian Fletcher Surfboards ad pictured above was definitely taken from a 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine. I’m not sure how long the Christian Fletcher Surfboards brand lasted, but these boards are extremely coveted today.

It’s also interesting to note that Fletcher had high-profile sponsorships with other surfboard brands; most notably Town & Country / T&C Surf Designs. I’ve never understood how Fletcher managed to start his own brand while simultaneously riding for T&C. He also rode for a couple of other famous Orange County shapers, such as Randy Sleigh, Chris McElroy and Steve Boysen, though I’m not sure if they were considered proper sponsors.

At the end of the day, though, much of the enduring appeal of Christian Fletcher Surfboards has to do with the man himself and that incredible logo. You’ll often see the Christian Fletcher Surfboards logo in full color, but I happen to love the starkness of the black and white version here. The graphic is a perfect summary of Fletcher as a person and a surfer — radical and impossible to ignore.

As always, tune in next Thursday for another installment of Sagas of Shred!

80s Channel Islands Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Seasons’s Greetingz! Nothing says holiday cheer more than a neon wetsuit and a vertical backhand attack. Actually, that’s not true at all. But I figure if you’re a regular Shred Sledz reader, there’s no better way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year than with another Sagas of Shred entry. The 1980s Channel Islands Surfboards ad pictured above originally ran in a 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine. If you look closely you’ll see the surfer pictured in the ad is none other than South Bay pro surfer Ted Robinson. Robinson was recently inducted into the Hermosa Beach Surfing Walk of Fame. For all you fans of 80s Channel Islands Surfboards — and I can’t imagine you’ve made it this far if you aren’t — stay tuned for a big post coming out before the end of the year. It will be worth the wait, I promise! I hope your holiday cups have runneth over with tasty waves and quality time with loved ones.

T&C Surf Designs Ad from 1979

Greetings, Shredderz! Yes, it is Thursday. Yes, I have another excellent vintage surf ad to share with you all! This humble little T&C Surf Designs promo comes from an issue of Surfer Magazine originally published in 1979. As you can see from the presence of numerous other brands — Rip Curl, Body Glove, Clark Foam, Quiksilver and O’Neill, among others — the ad seems to come from a time when T&C was most widely known as a surf shop, rather than one of the brands that came to define the aesthetic of the 1980s. And while Craig Sugihara founded T&C Surf Designs in 1971 as a retail operation, for most T&C fans, the brand’s roots lie in its impressive stable of shapers and surfers. The names that appear on the ad are represent some of the biggest names in modern Hawaiian surfing history.

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T&C Surf Designs founder Craig Sugihara in front of his first shop. Pic comes from the excellent history of T&C that can be found on its website. I’m not sure when T&C dropped the ‘e’ in Towne, but this is an incredible old picture.

Note that Larry Bertlemann‘s name is actually misspelled on the advertisement. Glenn Minami and Dennis Pang are two extremely well-regarded Hawaiian shapers who are still mowing foam today.

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A T&C Surf Designs 1970s or early 1980s twin fin that was sold on eBay a few months back. Pic via the eBay listing.

The two names that stand out on the ad are the mention of “Dane Kealoha Designs.” As far as I know, Kealoha did not actually shape boards, unlike the other names on the list. I’m assuming that the mention of “Dane Kealoha Designs” in the advertisement was meant to capitalize on Kealoha’s status as one of the top Hawaiian pros of the time.

The other mention that took me by surprise was that of Barry Kanaiaupuni. Kanaiaupuni, of course, is one of the most famous surfer / shapers ever to grace the shores of Hawaii. BK is probably best known for his stint at Lightning Bolt, but he had a signature model for Rick Surfboards, and also shaped for Surf Line Hawaii.

I have written before about Seventies boards made by California shapers who are best known for their work in the Eighties — think of people like Lance Collins at Wave Tools, Shawn Stussy’s days at Russell Surfboards, and Peter Schroff. In those cases I have found that boards shaped before the Echo Beach craze could often be found at much cheaper prices than their Eighties counterparts. I don’t know if that theory necessarily applies to Hawaiian boards made in the 1970s. There aren’t very many T&C Surf Designs single fins that pop up for sale, and when they do, my sense is that they tend to get snapped up pretty quickly. If I get some better data on the subject, I’ll be sure to write a more in-depth post. (And if you have any sweet Seventies T&C Surf Designs boards, hit me up!).

I hope you enjoyed this look at some T&C Surf Designs goodness from the late 1970s. Make sure you tune in next week for more Sagas of Shred!

Sixties Bruce Brown Films Ad: Sagas of Shred

It’s Thursday, Shredderz, and that means we all get to hop in the Delorean and head back to surfing’s golden years as part of the Sagas of Shred series. Pictured above is a vintage Bruce Brown Films advertisement from 1963. The advertisement appeared in an issue of Surfer Magazine well over fifty years ago (Dec. – Jan. 1963 / 1964, Vol. 4 No. 6). Bruce Brown might be the most famous filmmaker in the history of the sport of surfing, thanks to “The Endless Summer.” It is no exaggeration to say that there are too many iconic images from “The Endless Summer” to list, but one of my favorite scenes features Robert August and Mike Hynson showing up to the airport dressed to the nines in suits seemingly pulled from Don Draper’s closet while casually toting giant surfboards. The only other scene that comes close is when Johnny Utah showed up to the FBI office brandishing an egg festooned with neon flames, but I digress.

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Robert August at the airport, back when this kind of stunt wouldn’t cost you your kidney in excess baggage fees. And how about that Jacobs-branded suitcase?! Pic via The OC Register

One of the interesting things about the Bruce Brown Films ad at the top of the page is that it pre-dates the release of “The Endless Summer” by about three years. Indeed, the film’s title is almost snuck into the rest of the copy on the advertisement, despite the fact that it is far more famous than the other projects that are mentioned. I also love the fact the advertisement spells out rental opportunities for things like church or club functions. It all seems a lot more, well, civilized than simply firing up YouTube and being forced to sit through an ad for cleaning products before watching the famous Cape St. Francis scene.

In an age where surf media is changing so quickly, there’s also a measure of comfort to be found in the Bruce Brown films ad. It is a reminder of a simpler world. This isn’t to say it’s better — YouTube is fantastic, thank you very much — but it’s different, and that’s always worth considering, isn’t it?

As always, thank you for reading, and check back next week for another installment of Sagas of Shred.

Vintage Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt Ad: Sagas of Shred

Thursday is a day of anticipation: with the weekend in striking distance, hope has a way of blossoming. And just in case Thursdays weren’t glorious enough already, here at Shred Sledz we have made considerable efforts to further ease your transition into weekends chock filled with waves, wax and warmth. Yes, that’s right: Thursday means it’s time for Sagas of Shred, your favorite peek into surfing’s past. Today’s entry features a Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt ad from 1979. Lopez is famous for navigating gaping barrels at Pipe with aplomb, but he can also make pleated tracksuit bottoms look cool, which might be just as impressive.

The Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt ad pictured above also gives a peek into the strange world of Lightning Bolt’s infamously messy business arrangements. Lightning Bolt is still one of the most recognizable logos in surfing. However, thanks to poor management, the licensing of the Lightning Bolt logo and brand quickly became murky, at best. According to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, Lopez sold his share of the Lightning Bolt brand in 1980, less than a year after this ad was published.

You can see some of the cracks starting to form in the fine print of the Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt ad. While the ad is advertising a product known as “Lightning Bolt Sport Jeans”, you’ll also notice in the lower left hand corner that there’s an address for a separate business under the same name, which is owned by a mysterious gentleman named S Peter Lebowitz. I wasn’t able to find any info about Lebowitz online. On the lower right hand side you can see that there’s a separate address for Star Bolt Surfboards. There isn’t much information about Star Bolt online, but Damion from Board Collector has an excellent overview of the mysterious brand. My guess is that at this point, Bolt had licensed out some of its apparel production to separate companies — a hint of the rapid over-expansion that would later cause headaches for the storied brand.

It’s a shame that Lightning Bolt came to such an ignominious end, but the Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt ad above is a reminder that the brand’s heyday was — and is — timeless.

Tune in next week for another entry in Sagas of Shred!