Social Media Roundup: Herbie Fletcher’s Hawaiian Boards and More

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a smattering of social media posts from the past month or so, that I think you might enjoy. Keep scrolling for more…

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In 1969, I was having the time of my life living on the North Shore with Dibi, and surfing some of the biggest waves that ever hit the Hawaiian Islands. I hand shaped this 7’4” diamond tail board, and the nose on this board had plenty of concave; it was perfect for riding fast in the tube — and that’s just what I did! ——————————————————————————— (📷: @artbrewer) #astrodeck #theoriginator #since1976 #tractionpad #45degreetovert #wavewarriors #adrenalinesurfseries #thethrillisback #sideslipboogie #surfhistory #surffilm #fletcherdna #genepoolofcool #herbiefletcher #dibifletcher #artist #style #love #fun #performanceart #wrecktangles #wallofdisaster #archipelagos #bloodwaterseries #caseofarrows #hawaii #northshore #1969 #60s #fbf @dibifletcher @astrodeck @wavewarriors @fletcherdna @rvca @rvcasurf

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Pictured above we have two Herbie Fletcher boards shaped for Hawaii, happening at opposite ends of his career to date. The board in the top photo is a square nose longboard Herbie made recently and the lower photo features a 7’4″ diamond tail shaped in 1969.

This month Taylor Knox comes with not one but two separate entries. The first shot shows Ben Aipa making it look easy in some serious Hawaiian juice; the second is Taylor Knox putting a Mark Richards twinny through its paces.

And here’s one more that really ties the room together: MR, Owl Chapman, and Ben Aipa, sometime during the Seventies.

I wrote up this awesome Stussy twin fin recently. Here’s a shot of former Stussy team rider John Gothard brandishing another S double stick with some interesting looking fins.

Shawn Stussy Twin Fin

Here’s a little Shred Sledz trivia for you: any time I see a rad Stussy board posted for sale online, I have to write about it. (For another awesome Stussy board, check out this thruster he made for Michael Tomson, the founder and CEO of Gotcha.) Sorry, those are the rules, and I’m afraid there are no exceptions. Recently I saw this super rad Stussy twin fin pop up for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. You can find the listing for the board here. All pics in the post are via Craigslist and the board is not mine.

Shawn Stussy Twin Fin 3Shawn Stussy Twin Fin 2

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Stussy’s surfboards, and the board above hopefully makes it clear why I go so crazy over these shapes. The Stussy twin fin has all the bells and whistles you could want out of one of these boards. It measures in at a tidy 5’8″ x 20″ x 2 3/4″, and the serial number is 703. The board isn’t dated but I would guess somewhere in the early to mid Eighties. First, I absolutely love the airbrush. Generally speaking, if it was made in the Eighties and it has bright colors, I’m game. That said, Stussy’s boards from this era might fit into the overall aesthetic of the decade, but from an artistic standpoint, Stussy’s airbrushes are light years ahead of the standard fluoro spray job. It may sound obvious, stupid even, but the dude is a true artist, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Stussy’s boards are pieces of art.

Aside from the airbrush on the deck, there are a ton of other aesthetic flourishes on the Stussy twin fin that I can’t get enough of. First, I love the fact the Stussy logo has different colors on the deck and the bottom. The seller hasn’t provided great pics of the little laminates throughout the board, but you can see a small “Equipment for the Modern Age” hit on the bottom, just beneath the main logo. I also spy some artwork on the glass on fins, but I can’t tell what they are. I’ve said it many times before, but one of my favorite things about Stussy boards is how small logos and pieces of hand drawn artwork are scattered throughout.

Stussy Thruster QZ:3 1980s 6'4" 9.jpg
Picture from a different Stussy thruster that was listed for sale on eBay a while back. I love the logos on the glass on fins.

The Stussy twin fin featured here is pretty well preserved, but there are some things worth mentioning. You can see there’s a big delam spot on the deck near the tail, to the left of the stringer. The bottom has a bunch of little nicks and dings on it, too. More than anything else, I just can’t believe that whoever owned this thing didn’t take better care of it. It’s like the Indiana Jones line whenever he sees a priceless artifact in the wrong hands: “It belongs in a museum!” The seller is asking $500 for the board. Perhaps this says more about my love for Stussy boards than anything else, but I don’t think that price is crazy. If this board were in better condition — a big if, I know — I could see it fetching multiples of that price. But it’s not, and fixing this thing up would require a decent amount of work. Either way, it’s a beautiful board, and I hope it finds a happy new home.

Check out the Stussy twin fin for sale on Craigslist here.

Phil Becker Single Fin

Today we’re paying tribute to one of the most prolific surfboard shapers of all time: Phil Becker. Becker comes from a long line of shapers and labels that hail from the South Bay of Los Angeles, in and around Hermosa Beach. Bing Copeland, Hap Jacobs, Donald Takayama and Pat Rawson all can trace lineage back to the South Bay area — and that’s just a partial list. Keep scrolling below for some more background on the shaper, and then some pics of a lovely Phil Becker single fin.

It’s thought that Phil Becker hand shaped more surfboards than anyone else in history. Estimates peg Becker’s total output at somewhere between 100,000 and 130,000 boards shaped by hand — a truly mind-boggling figure. Becker spent some early parts of his career shaping for Rick Surfboards, another surfboard label with South Bay roots. By now, some readers may know that I’m a big fan of the early Rick / Becker boards.

The board featured in this post is an unbranded Phil Becker single fin. I’m guessing the board was shaped during the Seventies, but I’m not certain. The fact the board is unbranded is a bit unusual. From what I can tell — Becker is famously private; the Encyclopedia of Surfing claims he only gave one interview throughout his multi-decade career — Becker mostly shaped for two labels: Rick Surfboards and Becker Surfboards. Becker Surfboards, however, can be thought of a continuation of the Rick Surfboards brand. Becker and some business partners bought the Rick Surfboards label in 1980 or so, and then continued operations under the Becker Surfboards name, until they sold the brand to Billabong in 2010.

That said, I have seen two other labels with Becker shaped boards: Natural Progression and Sunline. The board in this post, however, is the only unbranded Becker shape I have seen to date.

Speaking of the board in question…my goodness, that thing is sexy. I actually love that there’s no branding anywhere on this board. The end result is a surfboard with clean, unblemished lines. It also doesn’t hurt that the board is still in fantastic condition.

As you can see, the board has a triple stringer setup and a gorgeous glass on fin.

Phil Becker Single Fin 4

The Phil Becker single fin you see above was listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County over the weekend. The post is no longer up, so I can only assume that someone leapt on this thing. The asking price was $325, which I think is an amazing bargain for a board from a shaper of Becker’s caliber, not to mention just how beautiful the thing is.

That said, I’ve noticed that Becker’s boards tend to be pretty cheap overall. Maybe this is just a side effect of his prolific output over the years. Granted, the Phil Becker single fin featured in this post is a sample size of exactly one, so take that with a grain of salt. Either way, I think whoever ended up with this stick should be pretty stoked.

 

Jacobs Surfboards Donald Takayama Hawaii Model

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post comes to your courtesy of a reader who was kind enough to reach out with some great pics of a very unusual board: the Jacobs Surfboards Donald Takayama Hawaii Model. A few days ago I posted a Jacobs Donald Takayama Hawaii Model on Instagram, saying I had only seen one example of this board before. It wasn’t long before a gentleman named Marty sent me some photos of a different Takayama Hawaii Model he owns.

First, I’ll re-post the images that I shared on Instagram. I got these photos from the listing for an old auction, which you can find here. Note that Jacobs Surfboards had a separate Donald Takayama Model longboard. You can see an example of one here. The Jacobs Donald Takayama Hawaii Model, on the other hand, has a different laminate with the word “Hawaii” prominently featured in the center, as you can see above and in the photos below.

Click on any of the photos above to enlarge. According to the auction listing, the Takayama Hawaii Model was shaped in 1968 and it measures in at 8’6″.

The photos above are of Marty’s Jacobs Surfboards Donald Takayama Hawaii Model. As you can see, his photos provide some great context on the design elements of this rad surfboard. You can really see the extra foam in the tail as part of what looks like an S Deck, which isn’t really visible from the pics of the auction board. Overall, Marty’s photos really help shine a light on what I would almost call the more hull-like properties of the board. The fin looks identical to the one on the auction board, except it’s yellow on Marty’s stick.

The other thing that’s interesting to me is Marty’s board has a slightly different logo. It’s hard to tell, but if you look at the pics from the Jacobs Donald Takayama Hawaii Model sold at auction, the logo is in black and white. As you can see directly above, though, Marty’s Takayama Hawaii Model has some red in the logo. Otherwise the boards look extremely similar.

Thanks again to Marty for sharing these pics! If you have any super rare boards you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Price Checks: Skip Frye Fish Simmons and More

Greetings, Shredderz! As many of you know, I’m a keen observer of the Skip Frye secondary market. Unless you’re a plugged in San Diego local, the only way to get one of Skip’s creations is to find someone who’s willing to get rid of one. (I’ve also heard that you can place orders through Waves Forever, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who has actually gone through with an order.) The good news is there are a few of Skip’s boards listed for sale on Craigslist right now, including a very tasty looking Skip Frye Fish Simmons. Anyway, scroll more for the rundown on the boards, and some thoughts about the pricing. Also, it’s worth noting that since these boards are listed on Craigslist, I can only tell you asking prices. As for how much cash actually changes hands, your guesses are as good as mine.

Skip Frye Eagle Glider ($3,500) & Skip Frye Egg ($3,500)

Both boards are being offered up by the same seller, and both are in pretty gorgeous condition. The pricing is interesting in the sense that the seller is asking $3,500 for each board. The egg measures in at 8′ and the Skip Frye Eagle glider is 11′. In terms of pure foam, you’re getting more bang for your buck out of the Eagle. As for whether or not each price is “fair”…well, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but it’s really difficult to say. Either way, I’ve seen people charge way more for boards that aren’t in perfect condition the way these two are.

Skip Frye Fish Simmons ($2,200) and Skip Frye Egg Longboard ($1,800)

Just as we saw with the duo above, there’s another seller in San Diego who’s getting rid of two Skip Frye boards at the same time. The one pictured directly above is a 9′ egg shape with a 2+1 fin setup; the board above it is the famous Skip Frye Fish Simmons in a thruster configuration. PThe seller has kindly called out a repair that was done on the bottom, but other than that, it looks to be in pretty good condition. One interesting thing to note: the Skip Frye Fish Simmons was glassed at Pacific Surfglass, which I feel like you don’t see all that often. The egg was shaped at Moonlight, and it has the famous frog logo on the bottom. Looks like the egg was actually sold by The Board Source earlier, for a cheaper price as well.

Miscellaneous Used Skip Frye Boards

Finally, there are a few more boards floating around on Craigslist, all in various states. None of these boards are quite as nice as the ones above, but I still think it’s worth reviewing the prices.

8’1″ Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Pintail ($1,300): This board is being sold by The Board Source. It has been professionally restored.

7’6″ Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Single Fin ($650): If you’re wondering why this board is so cheap, well, it has had some big delams repaired, and the thing has been put through its paces. That said, it’s still the cheapest option by far. I can’t really say when either of the two G&S Skip Frye boards listed here were shaped.

7’6″ Skip Frye Magic Model ($1,250): This is also being sold by The Board Source. Likewise, this board has seen a decent amount of repairs.

8’0″ Skip Frye Egg ($1,150): Yes, it’s also being sold by The Board Source, who seem to have cornered the market on used Skip Frye sticks. Like the other ones, it has been repaired a decent amount.

First and foremost, please don’t interpret any discussion around the pricing to be a criticism. The Board Source sells a ton of rad boards and you should definitely give them a visit! That said, personally, I think the cheaper Frye boards inhabit an awkward area when it comes to pricing. I’m not saying the prices are wrong, but I would much rather shell out as much as an extra $1,000 to have the Skip Frye Fish Simmons, for example. Then again, that $1,000 could buy a different new stick, so I completely understand why people would disagree with that stance.

The moral of the story is pricing boards is hard, and it’s even more difficult when dealing with Skip’s boards, given how few exchange hands. As always, if you have a Skip Frye you’re just dying to give away, you know where to find me. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it somewhat helpful in gauging the market for used Skip Frye surfboards.

Channel Islands Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’re featuring a board from a label I haven’t written about for some time, but one that remains an all time favorite: Channel Islands Surfboards. CI is the label of Al Merrick, one of the most influential shapers of all time, thanks to collaborations with at least three surfers who are immediately recognizable on a one-name basis: Curren, Slater and Tomson. My first ever surfboard was Nineties Channel Islands thruster, and ever since then, I’ve had a soft spot for the brand. Of course, this being a vintage surfboard blog, I love older CI boards, and you can imagine my delight when someone reached out with some photos of a beautiful Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull.

Click on either of the photos above to enlarge. Many thanks to Ryan, who shared the photos and story behind this sled. You can clearly see the double concave in the bottom (see the photo on the right). The double concave is one of the defining elements of Merrick’s Tri Plane Hull. Surfline recently ran an interview with Merrick in which he described the history and mechanics of the Tri Plane Hull design:

“Early on, the Tri Plane Hull was a big part of what I was doing. I started doing it in single fins. Actually, it was a take off on a Greenough bottom—not exactly like it, but a take off from it. I started using it on single fins then twin fins, and then on the thrusters. There was a lot of concave and curve about four inches from the rail, and then there was a double concave that went down between the fins. It was about lift and drive, giving it that extra punch, extra speed because [the concave] would straighten out the rocker through the center with the double concave. A bit of rocker through the tail, there was the vee back there so you had lift on either side. As you went side-to-side you’d get a little lift out of it, channeling the water between the fins. The Tri Plane was probably the most effective in the twin fins, but I used it in the Thrusters too. It was pretty popular with the guys and it gave the boards a lot more punch out of the bottom turn, and gave more drive to the board. It was probably a little easier [to ride] edge-to-edge—instead of having total concave across the bottom there was a lot of release on the edge of the board.”

Although I had never realized the Tri Plane Hull owed its history to Greenough, I can’t say I’m totally surprised, given Greenough’s near endless contributions to modern surfboard design. After a little digging I was able to find an example of a Sky Surfboards twin fin shaped by Michael Cundith. According to Von Weirdos, the Sky twin fin’s tri plane hull bottom was designed by Cundith, George Greenough and Chris Brock in the late Seventies. You can clearly see the resemblance between the Sky board and the Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull above.

Sky Michael Cundith Twin Fin Von Weirdos.jpg
Here’s a neat Sky Surfboards twin fin with a tri plane hull / double concave bottom designed by Michael Cundith, Chris Brock and George Greenough. Merrick, in turn, took inspiration from Greenough when designing the Tri Plane Hull. Photo via Von Weirdos

I’m still a bit taken aback by the dramatic double concave bottom in Ryan’s board, pictured at the top of the page. I’ve seen a few other CI Tri Plane Hulls and they seem to have much subtler concave bottoms. However, it’s hard to tell just by looking at photos, and unfortunately I haven’t seen any of these boards from this post in person.

Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull Single Fin eBay 5.jpg
Here’s another example of a Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull single fin, likely from the late Seventies or early Eighties. It’s hard to say for sure, but the double concave looks far less pronounced on this board than on Ryan’s single fin above. Pic via an old eBay auction.

Anyway, returning to Ryan’s board, it has a very clear Al Merrick signature on the stringer, which I have reproduced below. (For more, you should also check out an earlier blog post I wrote about how to identify Al Merrick hand shapes.)

Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull Al Merrick Signature .jpg
Close up of the signature on Ryan’s Tri Plane Hull. You have the fish design, and in a somewhat unusual touch, a full “Shaped by Al Merrick” signature.

Ryan’s Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull doesn’t have the classic “Al / Fish” icon as part of the signature, but I feel pretty comfortable declaring his board an Al Merrick hand shape. One note about the dates and the numbering: Ryan’s board is numbered #6653. The Tri Plane Hull I posted about on Instagram, which you can see further up in the post, is numbered #6044 and was apparently shaped in 1978. I’d roughly peg Ryan’s board as having been shaped in the late Seventies or maybe the early Eighties — assuming Merrick numbered his boards in order during this era.

Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull Bob Haakenson Logo
The Bob Haakenson logo is a welcome sight on any vintage Channel Islands stick!

It’s always worth noting that surfboard production involves more craftsmen than shapers. Bob Haakenson is one of Santa Barbara’s most distinguished surfboard glassers, and I always love seeing his logo on old Channel Islands boards. I recently had Haak repair a vintage Andreini single fin for me, which I’m still thrilled about, but that’s a subject for another post entirely.

Finally, Ryan’s board clocks in at 6’5″ x 20″ x 3″. Thanks again for sharing pics of this awesome piece of Santa Barbara surfing history, and if any of you Shredderz have some gems you’d like to see written up, you know where to find me!

Dave Parmenter on Surf Splendor Podcast

Greetings, Shredderz: how would you like to feel a lot dumber today? Now, I realize this is an unusual proposition, but trust me, in this case, it’s worth the hit to your ego. Because after you listen to Dave Parmenter on David Lee Scales’ Surf Splendor Podcast, you will likely come to the sudden and sickening realization that you actually know very little about how surfboards are built. Well, that was my reaction, at least. The flip side is this podcast is an excellent way to learn about surfboard manufacturing and history from one of the most fascinating shapers on the entire planet. This is actually just the first part of a four part series, and I’m eager to dig into the rest. Parmenter is brilliant and captivating, and even if none of the technical details stick, you’ll probably leave with a strong urge to order one of this beautiful Aleutian Juice shapes. You can listen to the podcast below, but also give some thought to supporting Surf Splendor via a donation, as it is an all-around excellent podcast.

Finally, just for kicks, here’s a photo of some candy coated Aleutian Juice sleds being prepped for some very lucky customers:

Acid Splash Harbour Spherical Revolver

Greetings, Shredderz! I’m not much of a Halloween guy, but I do have a nice little treat for you all: an exceedingly groovy Transition Era Harbour Spherical Revolver, complete with an eye catching acid splash paint job. The board is currently for sale on Craigslist, and it’s listed at a not-offensive $450. You can find a link to the Craigslist post here. All photos here are via Craigslist.

Harbour Spherical RevolverHarbour Spherical Revolver Bottom

I hesitate to say what the fin is; frankly I always get confused by these Transition Era fins and I end up being wrong more times than not. So I’ll decline to comment until someone fills me in! The board isn’t perfect — check out the Craigslist link for a closeup of a bit of the water damage around the nose — but it’s a lovely Transition Era shape and the color on the deck is killer. All in all, I think this is a fair deal for a very cool, approximately fifty year old (!) board.

You can check out the Harbour Spherical Revolver on Craigslist here.

Shawn Stussy Thruster for Michael Tomson of Gotcha

Greetings, Shredderz! The board I’m writing up today is one of the coolest I have ever seen. By now some readers might know that Shawn Stussy is a favorite of this humble vintage surfboard blog. Stussy’s Eighties thrusters are likely his most popular shapes, and for good reason. But what makes this Shawn Stussy thruster special is the fact it was shaped for none other than Gotcha founder Michael Tomson.

First and foremost, a big shout out to Rob, who owns the board above, for sharing the photos you see in this post. He’s on Instagram here.

Anyway, back to the board in question. By now we all know Shawn Stussy’s legacy as a renowned surfboard shaper and an early streetwear pioneer. But early on, Michael Tomson looked to be on the exact same trajectory, having transitioned from a pro surfing career to founding Gotcha, which was one of the hottest labels in surfing during its heyday. It’s also worth noting that Tomson ripped.

Michael Tomson Pipeline.jpg
MT charging Pipeline, as featured in a Gotcha ad. I believe this ad was likely from the mid Nineties or so, given the logo. Photo via Adventure Sports Network

Sadly, Gotcha no longer exists today, but at one point the label was producing some truly interesting work, including the legendary “If you don’t surf…don’t start” ad campaign. More importantly, Gotcha’s early logo was actually designed by Shawn Stussy!

As you can see from the Instagram post above, Stussy and Tomson’s history goes back to the early Eighties. This isn’t totally surprising, given Stussy’s Laguna Beach roots, which also was home to Gotcha’s offices.

Gotcha Ad Gary Busey.jpg
Example of another Gotcha ad, this one plucked from Tomson’s own website. My guess is this ad was late Eighties / early Nineties but I’m not sure.

Befitting Gotcha’s raw, in your face style, Tomson was one of the most outrageous characters on the surf scene at the time. Sadly, Tomson’s hard charging lifestyle has lost a considerable amount of its romance, given Gotcha’s eventual fade and a string of drug arrests that occurred well into middle age.

I love the fact this surfboard was not only shaped by Stussy, but also created for a true character who happened to be a world class surfer. And even if you don’t care about Tomson’s colorful history, well, at the end of the day, the board is still a Stussy thruster, with all the details and flourishes that make his boards so collectible.

Of course, the board wouldn’t be complete without a Gotcha logo — beneath the glass, naturally. You can also see an additional Stussy signature on the deck right above the tail.

What really gets me going are the awesome hand drawn logos found on the Stussy thruster. The planer laminate is one I don’t believe I have seen on any other Stussy boards. And how cool is that Stussy Team laminate?! That must have been the ultimate Eighties surfing street cred accessory. I love the touch of having the logo on the glass on fins, too — I wish more shapers did this nowadays.

You might be wondering what kind of psycho writes five hundred plus words about an Eighties surfboard. Well, I regret nothing, because this Stussy thruster shaped for Michael Tomson is an absolute gem. Thanks again to Rob for generously sharing the pics of the board — you can follow him on Instagram here.

 

Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii Sting

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ll be featuring a board that is equal parts unusual and cool. Pictured here is an Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii sting with some positively supersized dimensions. The board clocks in at a whopping 9’4″, which is a good two plus feet longer than what you might expect from a classic Aipa sting. You can find a link to the eBay listing for the sting gun here.

Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii Sting Gun.jpg

Every time I look at this board I find myself doing another double take at its outline. Look at how high up those wings are from the tail! If the board is 9’4″, per the listing, you have to figure the wings are good four feet, minimum, from the back of the board. I’ve never seen another sting with dimensions close to this one. Maybe I need to get out more, but all the other examples I have seen are in the six foot plus range, to maybe hovering just under eight foot.

I can only imagine that this Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii sting must have been designed for some serious Hawaiian surf. Sadly, I’m much better at writing about surfboards than I am at riding them, so I’ll defer to someone else on how the stretched out dimensions of this outline might have affected the performance of the board.

The sting also has beveled rails on the bottom. The red board pictured above on the left is the same board featured in this post; the yellow board to its right is a different Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii sting that I own. Apparently the beveled rails, often paired with a step bottom, were a fairly common feature for later editions of the famous Aipa sting.

I think there is a good chance the red Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii sting was not shaped by Ben Aipa himself. (I’ve also written up the Aipa Surfing’s New Image boards, apparently none of which were shaped by Aipa.) Randy Rarick told me over email that Ben Aipa consistently signed his name and a number on the decks of his boards. In addition, Aipa also used some ghost shapers to produce some boards under his namesake label. The Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii sting doesn’t appear to have an Aipa signature or a number anywhere on its deck. That said, it is still an absolutely awesome surfboard.

The sting in question has seen better days, and shout out to the seller for carefully documenting the board’s condition throughout all of the photos. If you click through to the eBay link you’ll see, for example, that there’s a wide open spot on the tail that would require a decent amount of work.

That said, this Aipa Wave Crest Hawaii sting’s fixer upper status doesn’t seem to have hurt the price. There’s already a bid on the board for $650, which doesn’t even include the cost of any repairs or shipping. I think that speaks to the collectibility of any sting bearing Aipa’s name, regardless of whether or not Ben shaped it himself. And for good reason, too — Aipa’s sting is one of coolest designs ever, if you ask me, and there aren’t a whole lot of them floating around.

Check the board out here on eBay if you’d like to see more.