Offshore: Not All That Glitters…

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a doozy for you, courtesy of Offshore, a defunct surfwear brand. Once upon a time Offshore was a surf industry staple, but at some point it must have folded. Second from right in the Offshore ad above is none other than Michael Ho, Pipeline royalty and father of Mason and Coco. Michael Ho still charges Pipeline in his fifties, surfing at a level that would be impressive for someone literally half his age. (And here’s Derek Ho, younger brother of Michael and uncle to Mason and Coco, navigating a proper cavern just this past winter.) The Offshore ad originally ran in the June 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine  (Vol 23, No 6).

That said…there appear to be some nervous smiles in this photo. I’m no fashion expert, but c’mon, these shorts are hilarious. The poses don’t appear to be doing anybody any favors, either.

I may have said too much already. I recently visited the North Shore for the first time ever, and I’d like to go back, so I’m not going to risk offending any locals who may have starred in some ill-advised surfwear ads back in the day.

Thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred, and we’ll be back next Thursday evening with some fresh scans of some vintage surf ads.

Rhythm Division: Sagas of Shred

Before “More Core”, Gotcha was apparently focused on keeping the beat. Sagas of Shred has featured some Gotcha ads before, including this classic, and for good reason. I still think Gotcha’s contributions to surf culture are criminally overlooked. (On a related note, here’s an incredible Stussy thruster that belonged to Gotcha founder Michael Tomson.) Sadly, the brand didn’t stick around much further past the Nineties, although even in its waning days it still counted Rob Machado and Andy Irons (through the More Core Division label) among its flag bearers. A lot about this Gotcha ad feels thirty years old — unless I’m mistaken and abstract neon bikinis are back in style — but the distinctive energy and creativity is palpable. I don’t mean to kick the surf industry when it’s down, but you compare this Gotcha ad to the recent and rather lifeless offerings from Billabong, Quiksilver et al, and the difference is stunning.

Gotcha also had the benefit of counting Martin “Pottz” Potter as its marquee rider. This ad was published in the May 1990 issue of Surfer Magazine, shortly after Potter captured the world championship. Pottz’s brand of raw aggression was a perfect match for Gotcha’s rebellious aesthetic, and I think it’s one of the great athlete / sponsor pairings in the recent history of the sport, joining partnerships like Slater and Quiksilver, Occy and Billabong, etc.

What can I say? This ad is so awesome. The photos, the clothes, the typeface…everything is perfect. Oh, and lest I forget, shout out to Dino Andino, father of Kolohe, who was also a staple throughout some of the better Gotcha marketing during the Eighties and early Nineties.

At some point Gotcha’s website had a vault featuring its old ad campaigns, but sadly it doesn’t look to be functional right now. This is a shame and I hope it gets restored, as there are a ton of gems in there.

Thanks for reading and visit next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads, courtesy of Sagas of Shred!

1989 Campbell Brothers Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

There’s something to be said about consistency, and the Campbell Brothers have been nothing if not steadfast in their belief about their groundbreaking design. It’s hard to refer to the Bonzer as an “alternative” design these days, given the fact the design counts surfers like Taylor Knox and brands like Channel Islands among its fans and collaborators. I’ve featured some vintage Bonzer ads before, such as this ad for the Bonzer produced under the Bing Surfboards label, and then another Campbell Brothers ad from the early Nineties. The brothers behind the design have also been very upfront about their progressive views over the years, resulting in the bold copy you see here. But you gotta love the fact the Campbells have never been afraid to challenge surfing orthodoxy.

The other interesting thing about the ad is the inclusion of Max McDonald. I was actually able to find out more about the board featured in the ad thanks to Surfy Surfy, whose excellent blog is always worth a visit.

Surfy Surfy Campbell Brothers Bonzer Mac McDonald.JPG
The EB5 featured here is a bit different from the one at the top of the page. Pic via Surfy Surfy

Surfy Surfy ran the photo above in a blog post, which you can find here. The photo you see above ran in Breakout Magazine in 1989, the same year as the ad found at the top of the page. The EB5 board that is featured in both advertisements is a collaboration between Max McDonald and the Campbell Brothers. (EB5 stands for Elevated wing Bonzer 5.) The Campbells started experimenting with five fin Bonzer surfboards in 1983. By the late Eighties they were working alongside McDonald, combining the fin setup from the five fin Bonzers with McDonald’s elevated wing design. McDonald began working on the wing design in the mid Seventies, after seeing Dick Brewer and Sam Hawk’s experiments with the design. All of this info is contained in the article that Surfy Surfy reproduced on their great blog.

If you look closely at both advertisements you can see the elevated wing design. The Campbell Brothers still use the elevated wing in a good number of their boards today.

Campbell Brothers Bonzer Elevated Wing Tail.jpg
Max McDonald’s elevated wing design has its roots in Dick Brewer and Sam Hawk’s shapes of the Seventies. It’s purely functional, but I happen to think it looks absolutely gorgeous, too. Photo via the Campbell Brothers Bonzer 5 site

Thanks for reading and visit again next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads as part of the Sagas of Shred series!

Lightning Bolt Rory Russell Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! For tonight’s entry in Sagas of Shred we’ve got something quick but undeniable: an early Eighties Lightning Bolt ad featuring none other than Rory Russell posing with a quiver of his own boards. I actually posted a Lightning Bolt Rory Russell twin fin on Instagram earlier today. I really love the distinctive graphics on Rory’s Bolt boards, which include dual angled bolts on the deck and some color. Russell, also affectionately known as “Dog”, was an early mainstay on the Lightning Bolt roster. It’s too bad the Lightning Bolt Rory Russell ad above doesn’t showcase the tails and fins on the boards, but it’s still a doozy.

Thanks for reading and check back in next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads on Sagas of Shred!

Ian “Kanga” Cairns for Bronzed Aussies: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Look, I realize that I can be excitable at times, and I’ve referred to more than a few shapers and/or surfboard labels as my favorites. But this time I mean it: in terms of sheer entertainment value, I think there are few, if any, brands with a better name than Bronzed Aussies. Technically speaking, I think the advertisement you see here is for Bronzed Aussies Sportswear, which seems like it was an American clothing licensee for the Bronzed Aussies brand. I’m also unsurprisingly a huge fan of Bronzed Aussies Surfboards. Ian “Kanga” Cairns’ signature model for the Bronzed Aussies Surfboards label has perhaps the single funniest laminate in the history of our great sport.

I can’t begin to explain why the decision was made to depict Kanga as a kangaroo centaur with a hilariously out of proportion lower body, but I couldn’t be happier that this was the case. But while it’s easy to have a laugh at the logo, Ian Cairns was an early power surfer, who transitioned from an upbringing in Perth, Western Australia’s largest city, to standout performances in serious Hawaiian surf. In addition, Cairns was one of the driving forces behind surfing’s transformation into a real, competitive sport. The modern tour no doubt owes much of its current success to Cairns’ organizing efforts.

Bronzed Aussies via Tracks Mag.jpg
Cairns, in what I can only guess was a promotional Bronzed Aussies photoshoot, can be seen in the black outfit. Note the Bronzed Aussies logo on the board. Pictured left to right are Jim Banks, Cheyne Horan and Peter Townend. Photo via Tracks Magazine

The Bronzed Aussies ad you see here originally ran in the May 1981 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 22, No 5). I was surprised to read that Cairns went from his Bronzed Aussie roots to relocating full-time to California, where he apparently still resides today.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and check in next Thursday evening for another vintage surf ad, courtesy of Sagas of Shred!

 

Cruisin’: Nat Young for Rip Curl

Greetings, Shredderz! Apologies for the relatively sparse posting schedule this week. That said, they say it’s all about quality, and not quantity, and I can’t think of many things better than this 1981 Rip Curl ad featuring the great Nat Young. I absolutely love the surfboard Nat’s got tucked under his arm. If you look closely you can see the clean and simple “Nat Young Surf Design” text in black.

Nat Young Surfboards
An enviable lineup of Nat Young Surfboards 70s single fins. Photo is via the Vintage Surfboard Collectors group on Facebook

I don’t really see a ton of Nat Young Surf Design boards. I imagine that’s due to the fact I live in California. The photo above is courtesy of the Vintage Surfboard Collectors group on Facebook, which I would say leans towards Aussie shapers and labels.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, it shouldn’t surprise you that the great surfresearch.com.au has extensive information on the Nat Young Surf Design label. Check out the entry on Nat Young here, which also has links at the bottom for a variety of different Nat Young shapes. I’ve written before about the fascinating intersection of Australian and Hawaiian surfboard design influences, such as this Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt shape, and it remains one of my favorite topics in surf history. According to Surf Research’s wonderful site, Nat Young drew inspiration from Hawaiians like Harold “Iggy” Ige and Joey Cabell for his equipment, especially during the Transition Era. I wish the Rip Curl ad at the top of the page showed more of the board itself, but alas, we only get a glimpse of the outline.

The Nat Young Rip Curl ad you see here originally ran in in the July 1981 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 22, No 7). I’m guessing the photo was likely taken sometime in 1980. Surf Research details a couple of 1981 Nat Young Surf Design sticks with early thruster setups. Given all these timelines, I wonder if the Nat Young Surf Design board in the Rip Curl ad was shaped towards the end of Young’s single fin phase, right as the rest of the surf world began to embrace Simon Anderson’s thruster invention.

Thanks for checking out the blog and check in next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads, as part of Sagas of Shred!

 

 

 

Vintage 70s Con Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! I’m afraid that our technical difficulties are ongoing, and so today I don’t have another freshly scanned vintage surf ad for you. Instead, this wonderful Con Surfboards ad was originally spotted on eBay, and I’m sharing it with you here. I’m unfamiliar with Larry Sheflo and Mike Marsh, the two team riders featured in the ad. Generally speaking, I’m a bit hazy on Con Surfboards’ history during the Seventies. I trend to think of Con Surfboards and their Sixties longboards, and even some of the Transition Era models they produced, but the label still manufactured boards in the Seventies. Con Surfboards also seems to have been around during the dawn of the Dogtown and Z Boys era, although I haven’t read anything truly informative on the subject. There’s an old photo I can’t find of I believe Tony Alva and Jay Adams skating with some Con Surfboards single fins under their arms. Saturdays has an excellent feature on Susea McGearheart, who captured some incredible photographs of the surf scene around Pacific Ocean Pier during the Seventies. The Saturdays feature has a pic of the Con Surfboards shop, which I’m assuming was another hangout for surfers in the Santa Monica / Venice area of Los Angeles.

As always, if you have more info on the topic of Con Surfboards in the Seventies, hit me up! I would love to hear more.

Vintage Gordon & Smith Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Usually for Sagas of Shred I like to dip into my stash of Surfer Magazine back issues and scan something. Sadly, technical difficulties prevented me from doing so this week. In the meantime, enjoy this vintage Gordon & Smith ad, which I originally found on eBay a while back. I’d guess this ad was from sometime in the late Sixties, given the clear Transition Era shapes. From top to bottom: a Skip Frye “fast shape” (which I have also seen referred to as a “speed board” and a “baby gun” in other ads); a G&S Hot Curl, available in either a round tail or pin tail design; and a Midget Farrelly “contest design.” It’s also interesting to note the ad features a bit of copy for “variable Wave Set” fins available on the boards.

Stop by next week for more Sagas of Shred!

Tom Curren and Brad Gerlach for Rip Curl: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening, and I come bearing gifts. For those of you who have never read the blog before, welcome to Sagas of Shred. It’s a weekly series, published Thursday evenings (California time), where I scan a different vintage surf ad for every entry. Tonight we have some pretty familiar territory: a Rip Curl wetsuits ad from the Eighties featuring Tom Curren and Brad Gerlach. (Here’s an earlier Sagas of Shred entry that has a Rip Curl ad with Tom as a goofy foot; and here’s a shot of Gerr modeling a very similar wetsuit to the one in this post.)

I love that the ad features two style masters doing similar turns, but enough variation to allow for some contrast of their respective styles. Gerr’s wetsuit, of course, is either an eyesore or the coolest thing you’ve seen, depending on your perspective. I think it goes without saying that I’m in the latter camp. This Rip Curl ad originally ran in the March 1987 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 28, No 3). The photo of Tom Curren was taken by Jeff Hornbaker, and the photo of Gerlach was taken by Sonny Miller (RIP).

As always, thanks for checking out the blog and visit again next Thursday for another peek into some surf ads from an earlier time.

Occy Reads Surfer Magazine: Sagas of Shred

Leave it to good ol’ Occ to not overthink things! This ad, which ran in the December 1986 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 27, No 12), absolutely kills me. I also happen to think it’s a good summary of Occy’s considerable, offbeat charm. (For more Occy and Sagas of Shred, see here and here). Last, but not least, it’s also a great reminder of why Surfer Magazine has earned its title as “the Bible of the sport.” It’s no secret that the media business has been hit hard as of late, and sadly, times are looking tough for Surfer. The iconic magazine saw a round of layoffs earlier this month, and there are rumors that Surfer’s parent company is set to be acquired by AMI, which might be in a bit of trouble itself.

But rather than dwell on Surfer Magazine’s uncertain future, I’d like to celebrate all the incredible content it has put out over the years, including the ads that get posted here every Thursday evening. (It’s not too late to subscribe, either.) Almost all of the content in Sagas of Shred comes about from scanning ads from back issues of Surfer Magazine. This, of course, doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the wonderful editorial output over the years, which has single handedly helped shape surf culture into what it is today. I don’t pretend to know the future of the media business, or how that relates to surfing, but it’s my sincere hope that Surfer Magazine continues to publish the same high quality content for many years to come.