Primo, Purpus and Panache: Sagas of Shred

In theory, I love all of my blog posts equally. In practice, that couldn’t be further from the truth. (I’m still partial to my first-ever Deep Dive, which features a history of Wayne Lynch’s early shapes.) And while I have been writing Sagas of Shred for a while now, this one just might be my favorite.

First, before I get started, much credit to Ted Campbell, who originally posted a snapshot of the photo on Instagram. When I asked for more background on the photo, he generously shared the full picture with me. Thanks again Ted!

But more to the point, the photo above is an advertisement from Primo, which seems like an old wetsuit brand. I wasn’t able to find much about it online, though I was able to find another great old school Primo ad. The Primo advertisement features two of the best known surfers to come out of the South Bay area of Los Angeles: Dru Harrison, on the left, and the inimitable Mike Purpus, standing to the right.

Dru Harrison had a signature model for Rick Surfboards. And while Harrison was an incredible surfer, I can’t get enough of Purpus. He just looks like he’s having the time of his life — which is appropriate when you consider the setting for the photo shoot. Purpus was an early Jacobs team rider, and then he went on to produce boards under the Hot Lips Designs label. Hot Lips is still one of the greatest name and logo combinations in the history of consumer brands, much less surfing (only slightly joking there.)

What can I say? I’m just a sucker for any of Purpus’ ridiculous antics, whether it’s posting in a hilarious Seventies aircraft or his infamous Raquel Welch airbrush:

A shot of Mike Purpus on the North Shore, Hawaii in 1975. Photo @merkelmedia I was in the USA on a Quiksilver tour recently & the boys stopped for a surf at El Porto, Manhattan Beach in the South Bay. I knew Mike was from Hermosa Beach just down the road & I wondered if he was around. We had only been there for about 15 minutes & Mike appeared !! It was cool to see him, I don't think I'd seen him since those early years in Hawaii. Mike was one of California's first Pro Surfers & he was invited to the prestigious Duke Kahanamoku event in Hawaii five times. It was usually run at Sunset Beach with Waimea Bay as the back up location. I thought I rode boards with a lot of color, but I think Mike's quiver was even more colourful. @southbayboardriders @benny_big #mikepurpus @cidoubleyou @taywhis @mikereilly1 @bmcknight @rcastroo2 @katin_surfshop @quiksilver @quiksilver_originals @chrisdarrah

A post shared by Mark Richards (@markrichardssurfboards) on

Once again, thank you to Ted for sending me the ad in this post. Give him a follow on Instagram — he posts some great content. I hope you enjoyed this installment of Sagas of Shred, and as always, come visit late next Thursday, California time, for even more awesome vintage surf ads.

Vintage Hansen Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s entry in Sagas of Shred features a vintage Hansen Surfboards ad. The Hansen ad originally appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1963. It’s interesting to note the Hansen logo has Cardiff text on it, signaling the brand’s San Diego roots. A quick look at Stanley’s Surfboard Logo Library reveals that there have been many versions of the classic Hansen logo over time, both with and without the Cardiff text. It’s also funny that the ad is ostensibly about wooden tail blocks, but there’s no use of the exact term, hence “The End” text. The ad also suggests that Hansen seems to have invented the wooden tail block, but I’m sure that’s opening up a can of worms, and given that it’s almost midnight in California, I don’t really have the bandwidth to get into that debate. The other thing about these vintage ads is the pricing is always incredible. How about that $10 delivery to anywhere in California?!

Thanks for reading and tune in next Thursday night for another installment of Sagas of Shred, where we feature a “new” vintage surf advertisement every week.

Rip Curl Freelite Ad Featuring Rabbit Bartholomew: Sagas of Shred

Please excuse the technical difficulties! Shred Sledz has been having a few problems with some missing posts. We hope to have the problem fixed ASAP. In the meantime, enjoy this vintage Rip Curl ad from the Eighties featuring none other than Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, laying it on a rail. As always, swing by on Thursday evenings for more Sagas of Shred, where we run a vintage surf advertisement every single week on the dot.

Vintage Gordie Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

I haven’t written much about Gordie Surfboards before — in fact, I’ve only featured one post on Gordie in the brief history of this humble little vintage surfboard blog. I don’t know that much about the label, either, other than it was once upon a time a well-known brand based out of Huntington Beach, in the heart of Orange County’s surf scene. In the meantime, though, enjoy this Gordie Surfboards ad that appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1963. I love how these early ads often featured Walker Foam logos, which means they pre-date the infamous Clark Foam hegemony.

Thanks for reading and tune in next week for Sagas of Shred, where we feature a cool vintage surf ad every Thursday evening.

Mike “Slambresi” for Vans: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! I don’t have much to write today, except to say that this is an old Vans ad that originally appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1990. After all, there’s not really any room for improvement on an ad whose tagline is “SLAMBRESI BY VANS.”

As always, thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred, and tune in late next Thursday for more vintage surf ads.

Christian Fletcher for T&C Surf Designs: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! For those of you who don’t know, Sagas of Shred is a series on the blog where we run vintage surf ads. While old magazine articles are great — The Surfer’s Journal digital archive, available to subscribers, is amazing — an overlooked angle is the fact that surfing’s story often gets told in the form of ads.

The T&C Surf Designs Christian Fletcher ad featured here ran in a 1990 issue of Surfer Magazine. To me, it’s a pretty classic expression of surf culture at the time, between the tail end of the Eighties and the Momentum Generation, which would arrive a few short years later. If I’m being honest, I often struggle to describe these ads. There’s no denying the unintentional humor. But the last thing Sagas of Shred aspires to be is the douchebag hipster that hides its unpleasant contempt behind a thin veneer of so-called irony. I can genuinely say I love this ad, and not just because it features one of the most influential surfers of the late Eighties and early Nineties. I love everything about it, whether it’s the odd torn paper effects, Fletcher’s vintage T&C shirt, or the unsettling feeling that Christian Fletcher might be trying to challenge you to a staring contest.

While many elements of the ad are charmingly dated to the late Eighties and early Nineties, the same cannot be said of Fletcher’s surfing. His front hand layback gouge is every bit as radical as it was when the advertisement first ran.

I’ve written a lot of Sagas of Shred posts about Fletcher and his family over time. We have featured T&C Surf Designs in Sagas of Shred a number of times as well, whether it’s a 1982 ad featuring Dane Kealoha in some short shorts, or another entry featuring the evolution of Ben Aipa’s famous Sting design. I think we can all agree that the Christian Fletcher / T&C Surf Designs marriage is one for the ages.

Thanks again for checking out Sagas of Shred and tune in late next Thursday night for more vintage surf ads!

Reno Abellira Ad for Reno Hawaii: Sagas of Shred

First, let’s get a few things out of the way. Reno Abellira is one of the greatest surfer / shapers of all time, and from all accounts, the Hawaiian is an all-around classic dude to boot. As evidenced in the photo above, which was taken from this excellent Surfing World writeup, Reno has style to burn, and then some.

Reno Abellira Ad.jpg

Now, as for the ad above? I hesitate to say I find this ad hilarious, because in some way that suggests that I’m having fun at someone else’s expense. But I can’t help it: this ad cracks me up, whether it’s Reno’s glorious mustache or the fact the woman looks like she dropped her wallet somewhere right outside the frame. The Reno Abellira ad was originally published in Surfer Magazine in 1979, as if the visual aesthetic wasn’t a dead giveaway.

I believe the ad is for a Reno Hawaii clothing line. Reno definitely shaped boards that bore the Reno Hawaii logo as well, and you’ll still some pop up for sale from time to time. I don’t know a ton about Reno’s boards, but given his influence on surf history, I’m sure there will be more on his creations here at some point in the future.

Thanks for visiting and give us another visit next week for more Sagas of Shred!


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.

Energy Simon Anderson Thruster Logo.jpg

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.