Bing Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to another installment of Sagas of Shred. Today we’re featuring an ad from Bing Surfboards. Bing, of course, belongs on any reasonable person’s short list of the greatest California surfboard brands. The ad featured above originally ran in Surfer Magazine in 1965.

The Bing Surfboards ad comes courtesy of Bill Robbins. Robbins was the photographer who shot the image in question. Bill is still a photographer, and you can check out his website here, and he can also be found on Instagram here.

It’s interesting that the ad specifically calls out Surf Line Hawaii as a Bing Surfboards stockist. This must have been in the early days of Surf Line Hawaii’s existence. I also love the line for Clark Foam. While Clark Foam would later become a surf industry behemoth, in the mid-1960s there was a bit more competition.

As always, thanks for reading, and check back in a week for more Sagas of Shred.

Town & Country Dane Kealoha Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Pictured above is an absolutely classic advertisement from perhaps the greatest Hawaiian surf brand ever: Town & Country Surf Designs. I ran an old T&C Surf Designs ad from 1979 in an earlier installment of Sagas of Shred, which you can see here.  I can say, however, that the T&C ad above, which appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1982, is way better. The gentleman on the far right holding the board is none other than Hawaiian powerhouse Dane Kealoha, who is still one of the most memorable brand ambassadors in Town & Country’s long and storied history.

While much is made of Kealoha’s powerful style, his boards were just as eye-catching. Dane Kealoha rode for Town & Country for many years. Kealoha’s career started in the late 1970s, when he was still a teenager, and his stint on tour ended in 1983 at the early age of 25 due to some unfortunate behind the scenes political maneuvering. (Check out the EoS entry for Dane Kealoha for more info, and please subscribe if you don’t already!)

The timing of Kealoha’s career means that he can be seen riding a wide variety of boards, matching the changes in surfboard design that happened between the 1970s and the dawn of the thruster age. While everyone loves the outrageous spray jobs on 80s thrusters (more on that below), I love seeing shots of Dane surfing beefy-looking 70s single fins.

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Pretty sure this is a single fin, but Kealoha’s insistence on burying the rail makes it a little difficult to tell. Photo via Surf Europe Mag; photo is by Dan Merkel / A Frame

And as you can see in the advertisement featured at the top of the page, Kealoha also surfed twin fins during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Buggs of Surfboardline.com has an amazing example of a T&C Surf Designs twin fin Dane Kealoha model, which you can check out here.

Of course, no post on Town & Country and Dane Kealoha would be complete without a mention of the thrusters he surfed during the 1980s. Below is a pretty classic example of a T&C Surf Designs board with an outrageous color scheme and spray job.

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Dane Kealoha, putting it on a rail at Sunset Beach in 1985. Photo is by Aaron Lloyd and I found the picture via the Encyclopedia of Surfing. The board is almost certainly a thruster.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at some of the highlights from the Town & Country / Dane Kealoha years. As always, check in next week for more Sagas of Shred, and thanks for reading.

Rory “The Dog” Russell for Lightning Bolt: Sagas of Shred

Surfing is a sport known for its colorful characters. Even against this crowded backdrop, though, Rory “The Dog” Russell stands out. As always, Matt Warshaw’s peerless Encyclopedia of Surfing puts it best: “Happy, hedonistic tuberiding specialist from the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii; Pipeline Masters winner in 1976 and 1977.”

Russell was a North Shore standout during the 1970s, and there are tons of pictures of him charging sizable Pipeline riding the unmistakable Lightning Bolt single fins that dominated the decade.

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Russell, about to get pitted at Pipe. Photo by Jeff Divine; via The Surfer’s Journal
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A young Rory Russell, more pup than Dog in this picture, waxing up. Pic via Lightning Bolt

The Lightning Bolt ad at the top of the page ran in the August 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol. 23, No. 8). For a good chunk of the Eighties Lightning Bolt ads occupied the coveted back cover on Surfer Magazine, and this time period yielded some pretty classic material, including the spot featured above.

The Lightning Bolt ad is a not so subtle play on Russell’s  nickname, “The Dog”, and his reputation as a ladies’ man. As unlikely as it might seem, the copy on the advertisement is every bit as good as the classic photo of Russell grinning in a sea of blondes.

“A roving ambassador and captain of Team Bolt, Rory Russell travels the world in search of the perfect wave and the ultimate lifestyle.

Aside from his surfing exploits, Rory is famous for his fun-loving attitude and is a widely proclaimed afficionado (sic) of beachwear and the casual lifestyle. Rory invited this very special group of friends to show his pick to click in Bolt for Gals Swimwear for the summer of ’82…

…and a hot one it is, thanks Rory.

As a general rule of thumb, anyone who can be described as a “widely proclaimed aficionado of beachwear and the casual lifestyle” has nothing more to prove to anyone. Ever. I don’t even know what being a casual lifestyle aficionado would entail, nor do I care. If you look closely, you’ll notice all the women in the ad are wearing matching Lightning Bolt necklaces, which is the cherry on top of the figurative sundae.

Thanks for checking out this installment of Sagas of Shred, and as always, swing back around next Thursday for more.

Vintage Ben Aipa Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s Sagas of Shred entry is short but a worthy (I hope) follow on to most recent post, which featured an Aipa-branded but Rick Hamon-shaped sting. This ad comes from a 1981 issue of Surfer Magazine, after the 70s heyday of the Sting. Based on the copy I’m guessing it’s an ad for Aipa’s twin fin designs. The timing lines up, as the ad above ran at a time shortly before Simon Anderson’s thruster reached critical mass. The other interesting thing about the ad above is there is no mention whatsoever of Surfing’s New Image, which had licensed Aipa’s name for a run of California-made stings. Instead, the California distributor for Aipa’s shapes appears to be Infinity Surfboards.

I wish the photography in the ad were a little bit clearer, but oh well. It’s still pretty rad to me.

Thanks for reading and check in next week for more Sagas of Shred.

Simon Anderson Nectar Thruster Ad: Sagas of Shred

Well, Shredderz, they say it’s better late than never, so accept my apologies for today’s Sagas of Shred entry, which appears a full 24 hours or so after its customary slot. But I’ll try and make it up to all eight of you with a gem. Pictured above is an ad that ran in a 1981 issue of Surfer Magazine that helped announce Simon Anderson’s thruster design to the rest of the world. I believe Anderson’s original thrusters were produced in Australia under the Energy Surfboards label. Across the pond, San Diego-based Nectar Surfboards and shaper Gary MacNabb took the reins to distribute Anderson’s revolutionary design.

If you look closely in the ad above, it even looks like Anderson is riding an Energy board, with its clearly identifiable pyramid shaped logo, and not a Nectar shape. The “3 Fin Thruster” logo in the ad looks like a rudimentary version that you’ll find on both Energy and Nectar Simon Anderson examples.

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Amazingly, Anderson never made a dime off the thruster design, despite its ubiquity. It’s amazing that over three decades later, the thruster remains the standard fin setup for high performance surfing, although nowadays you see a number of quad fin setups when world tour pros surf places like Pipeline, etc. Matt Biolos of …Lost Surfboards attempted to rectify this a few years ago, pledging to donate $1 per thruster sold to Simon Anderson. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Biolos’ good intentions caught on with the rest of the surf industry.

And while Simon Anderson is unlikely to ever make Warren Buffett money off of his design, his influence on the sport is beyond reproach. And surely that means a lot more than having a few extra dollars here and there. (I wouldn’t know, as I am neither rich nor historically significant, but that’s a story for another time.)

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back next week with more Sagas of Shred.

Eighties Ocean Pacific Ad featuring Tom Curren: Sagas of Shred

Before we start, I’d like to make one thing clear: this might be a free country, but Shred Sledz is a blog that will not tolerate any slander of Tom Curren whatsoever. This is non-negotiable.

That said…I’d like to know who at OP in the Eighties thought it would be a good idea to cast Curren as a would-be heartthrob for these advertisements. Again, in case the previous paragraph wasn’t clear, the blame is being laid squarely at the feet of the once-ubiquitous surf brand, and not with the most stylish regular foot of all time.

But this is marketing malpractice! Why is the picture of Curren gazing off into the distance approximately eight times the size of him ripping on a signature Channel Islands Al Merrick stick?

And while I’d like to be outraged by the Ocean Pacific ad featured above…at the end of the day, I can’t bring myself to truly dislike it, no matter how ridiculous the photoshoot might be. In fact, if anyone knows where I could find a version of the shirt Curren is rocking in the ad, I’d definitely be interested (though I don’t think I’m capable of actually pulling it off).

As a palate cleanser, please enjoy Tom Curren’s first-ever wave he rode at Jeffreys Bay. Curren famously refused to visit South Africa for years, due to his objections to Apartheid. This footage was shot by the legendary Sonny Miller. Fast forward to the 1:43 mark to see some truly virtuoso level surfing:

As always, thank you for reading, and check back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred.

Blue Hawaii Pottz Model Ad: Sagas of Shred

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, by now you probably know that the one-man Shred Sledz staff has a soft spot for the surfboards of the 80s. And in a decade filled to the brim with colorful characters and even more eye-catching boards, Martin Potter stands out. Pottz’s “Saint” Town & Country twin fin is his most famous board. In fact, its signature green and yellow spray job is still emulated today. The Blue Hawaii Pottz Model might not be as famous, but it’s a stick that has many fans, especially for examples bearing the signature blue flame airbrush around the rails.

The photo featured above is an old Blue Hawaii ad that appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1988. Blue Hawaii was a surfboard brand that is sadly no more. I believe Blue Hawaii was founded by shaper Glenn Minami, who was the original shaper behind Pottz’s famous “Saint” twin fin. Stoked-n-Board claims Blue Hawaii was founded in 1984. I’m guessing Minami must have left Town & Country around the same time, and brought Pottz with him shortly afterwards.

The other thing that’s interesting about the ad is the customizable “bullseye” spray job that could be applied to boards. I have scoured the internet for examples of a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model with a bullseye design, but I was only able to find one. Even so, I think the example below is a custom spray job for an actual Martin Potter personal rider, versus a mass-produced version that is offered in the advertisement. I’m wondering if the board on the far right was actually the inspiration for the bullseye design in the ad.

I also can’t get enough of the shipping rates. Granted, the advertisement ran 30 years ago, but $25 to get a board shipped from Hawaii to the mainland? That is absolute madness. I’d almost take those rates over the board!

If you have any leads on some pictures of a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model with a bullseye airbrush on it, I’d love to learn more. Otherwise, thanks for reading and stop by next week for even more Sagas of Shred.

Vintage Kelly Slater Sundek Ad: Sagas of Shred

While this blog is a celebration of vintage surfboards and surf history in general, it is never my intention to make people feel old. But as I look at this vintage Kelly Slater Sundek ad and do the math, and slowly come to the horrifying realization that the image is thirty years old…well, I can’t help but feel ancient.

And jeez, can we talk about the Champ’s longevity for a second? Even though it’s a subject that has been discussed to death, it’s still possible that Kelly is underrated. An entire three plus decades after first arriving upon the surf scene, Kelly has arguably yet to peak, thanks to his role in ushering in what could prove to be the wave pool revolution. It’s amazing to think that in an age where Kelly is not only relevant, but still the most influential surfer in the world, that he ever shared space on a surf clothing company advert with someone like Corky Carroll. No disrespect to Corky, of course, but Slater’s career is now starting to warp time itself.

The Kelly Slater Sundek ad pictured at the top of the page was originally published in Surfer Magazine in 1988. For some other Hall of Fame moments in vintage Sundek ads, check out some of Ken Bradshaw’s work for the brand. It looks like Sundek is still kicking around these days, but it is nowhere close to its apex as one of the pre-eminent surfwear brands of the 1980s. In doing a little research, I discovered that Sundek was apparently founded in San Francisco, of all places, in 1958. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that Sundek is such a venerable brand. It’s too bad that it has since been recycled through a variety of owners, with none seemingly interested in reviving the things that made the brand such a recognizable name in the first place.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this shot of the future 11-time world champ in his adolescence, before he became synonymous with the sport of surfing itself. For more content like this vintage Kelly Slater Sundek ad, tune in next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred.

Vintage Ben Aipa / Surf Line Hawaii Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Usually, Sagas of Shred, a series that features vintage surf advertisements, features scans from my collection of back issues of Surfer Magazine. Today’s entry features a Ben Aipa / Surf Line Hawaii ad that found online somewhere. If you originally scanned this ad or know the source, please drop me a line and let me know, as I would love to credit whoever is responsible for the digital transfer of this gem.

What’s interesting to me about this ad is the subtle differences between the various brands. It appears that Surf Line Hawaii is being touted as a retail shop for Ben Aipa Surfboards, as opposed to a brand in and of itself. While I have seen Aipa Surfboards branded shapes bearing additional Surf Line Hawaii lamiantes —  check out this Instagram post for an example — I don’t know that I have ever seen a Surf Line Hawaii branded board without any of Aipa’s logos on it. In addition, the ad mentions Surfings New Image as the mainland licensee for Aipa’s famous designs. I’ve written previously about the difference between Aipa’s hand-shaped stings, and the ones produced under the Surfings New Image label. And if you want some background on Surf Line Hawaii, I humbly suggest this Deep Dive on the venerable Hawaiian label.

As always, check back in next Thursday for the next installment in Sagas of Shred.

Vintage Olympic Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! In honor of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, today we have an ad from a defunct surfboards label that, had it been founded in today’s day and age, surely would have been sued into oblivion. The vintage Olympic Surfboards ad posted above dates back to 1963, before the IOC transformed into a litigation machine that just so happened to put on a sporting event every couple of years. It’s also fitting that surfing will be featured as an Olympic sport for the first time ever in 2020. And as an American, I’m starting to become concerned that the hometown squad isn’t matching the Aussies’ very public push for gold.

During its brief existence, Olympic Surfboards was way more than just a way to capitalize on a popular trademark. According to Stoked-n-Board, Olympic Surfboards was based out of San Diego, and the brand existed from 1962 to 1968.

Mike Diffenderfer, whom you can see pictured in the ad, is still remembered as one of the greatest shapers in surf history. Bill Caster was another standout shaper, who sadly passed away in 1985. Caster’s boards are still prized among a segment of San Diego surfers. Surfy Surfy has spoken at length about Caster’s shapes, and if you go to the amazing Bird’s Surf Shed, you’ll see many of Bill Caster’s boards lining the well-stocked ceilings.

Phil Castagnola founded San Diego-based Select Surf Shop (which employed a young Bird Huffman), and was also known for amassing a collection of vintage surfboards. One of the sickest boards I have ever written about is this incredible Skip Frye single fin shaped for Select Surf Shop, which I still kick myself for not buying on the spot.

I couldn’t find any info about Bill David, Lonnie Woods, and Larry Woods, however. I’m guessing they were San Diego surf fixtures once upon a time, but my Googling didn’t turn up any interesting info. If you know more about these gentlemen, please do let me know!

As always, thanks for reading Sagas of Shred. We’ll be back next week with some more surf history.