Herbie Fletcher Square Nose “Killer Model”

Greetings, Shredderz! Happy Father’s Day to you and yours. Speaking of fathers, here’s a board from Herbie Fletcher, dad to Nathan and Christian, grandfather to pro skater Greyson, and husband to wife Dibi. I’ve written about the Fletcher clan many times before, including some cool old Astrodeck ads. Herbie is something of a renaissance man: he invented the surfboard traction pad; he is an artist who has collaborated with Julian Schnabel; and helped pioneer the modern surf video. But given Shred Sledz is primarily a blog about vintage surfboards, it’s only natural that we would focus on Herbie’s accomplishments as a shaper.

I covered this in an earlier post, but for the longest time I didn’t grasp the significance of Fletcher’s famous arrow logo. Fletcher, as it turns out, means arrow maker. Herbie talks about the personal significance of the arrow on his website, which adds some gravitas to his logo choice, beyond the fact it happens to look cool. One of Fletcher’s most famous surfboard designs is his square nose noserider. Sadly, I can’t find any interviews or first hand material online about the origins of Herbie Fletcher’s square nose surfboard. All I can tell you is that Herbie has shaped and ridden square nose boards for years. According to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, Fletcher founded his eponymous surfboard label in 1976. During the Seventies and Eighties, when the rest of the surf scene had fully embraced the shortboard, Fletcher was one of the few advocates for longboards and the art of noseriding. I imagine his square nose boards were shaped for better noseriding — or, at least, more convenient toe placement — but I can’t say for sure.

There’s currently an intriguing Herbie Fletcher square nose surfboard for sale on Craigslist. As you see in the photo above, it’s a doozy. When I first saw the ad, I assumed the board was a longboard. In fact, it turns out the board measures in at a tidy 7’2″.

On an aesthetic level, I’m a sucker for any surfboard with wings. There’s something so cool about the curves, particularly when they’re slightly fluted, as the wings on this board seem to be. There is an undeniable visual flair to the square nose Herbie Fletcher board pictured here. You don’t have to know about surfboards to take one look at the outline and go “wow, that thing looks awesome.” And, if you’re like me and you like to geek out on laminates and placement, I think the two small arrow logos right near the wings are a killer, subtle touch.

At first, I was surprised to see that the square nose board was only 7’2″. But a little bit of digging — particularly on Dibi Fletcher’s Instagram — revealed some very similar Herbie Fletcher boards.

As you can see in the Instagram post immediately above, Dibi describes a board called the “Killer Model”, which is a mini version of Herbie’s square nose longboard. The Killer Model in the photo above measures in at 6’10”, putting it in the same ballpark as the yellow Craigslist board featured in this post. Herbie shaped the Killer Model for himself in order to navigate the barrels at V Land on Oahu’s North Shore. There’s no mention of the Star Wars airbrush, but it’s awesome. Dibi describes the Killer Model mini square nose as a sting running into a pintail. I believe that the yellow Craigslist board is almost certainly a Herbie Fletcher Killer Model, too.

I’m not sure whether the yellow Fletcher surfboard was shaped by Herbie. Fletcher, like countless other surfboard labels, employed in house shapers. (See here for a Herbie Fletcher longboard that I think was shaped by Tim Stamps, but it’s clearly signed by someone other than Fletcher himself.) I also can’t say whether the Craigslist board was one of Herbie’s personal boards. That said, I would not be surprised to learn that the yellow board belonged to Herbie at some point, given that he clearly surfed other boards with the same outline and almost identical dimensions.

Finally, here’s a quick note about the price. The seller has listed the yellow Herbie Fletcher square nose surfboard for $1,895. On one hand, I think this is expensive, especially when considering the condition of the board. Apologies to the seller, who was kind enough to link to my original post on Herbie’s square nose surfboard on the Craigslist listing, but that’s my take. On the other hand, if the board is indeed a Herbie Fletcher personal rider, that would obviously change the math a bit. But I have no way of proving it one way or another.

At the end of the day, I don’t care too much whether the board was shaped by Herbie or if it belonged to him. Of course, all else being equal, I’d rather those things be the case. But it’s a distinctive vintage surfboard from one of the surf world’s all time characters, and to me, that’s always worth noting.

You can find the Craigslist listing here. All photos of the board in this post are via the listing.

Photo at the top of the page via Terry Snyder; I believe the photographer is Mike Blabac.

Hobie Phil Edwards Model #463

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a prime example of one of the greatest surfboards ever made: the original Hobie Phil Edwards Model. It is a board I have written up before, and it’s a board that I intend to write about for as long as I keep coming across new examples. It’s also worth noting that it was Edwards’ birthday just a few days ago. One of the coolest things about the Hobie Phil Edwards Model is the fact that every single board from the original run was numbered. Here we have #463, stamped into the board’s unmistakable and beautiful foil logo. This board comes courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Aaron. Many thanks to Aaron for sharing photos of this incredible stick.

Click the photos above to enlarge. The story behind the board is pretty amazing as well. Aaron’s father was working on a house in San Diego about thirty years ago and he found the board stashed in the rafters. Later on, Aaron was working in Donald Takayama’s factory, where he fixed up the board to the state you see it in today. I am very stoked to report that Aaron continues to ride this board today! (Note: sadly, I myself am guilty of being way too precious about not riding some of the boards I own…I’ll have to address that pretty soon.)

One of my favorite features about the Hobie Phil Edwards Model is the gorgeous fin. As you can see, Aaron’s board has the classic maple reverse D fin, and it is gorgeous. Aaron’s Hobie Phil Edwards Model measures in at 9’10”. The owner estimates it weighs about 50 pounds or so, which is no joke!

Thanks again to Aaron for sharing the photos you see in this post. I absolutely love the Hobie Phil Edwards Model, in case that wasn’t already clear. To me, the board seems to be something of an expression of everything I know of Edwards’ reputation: timeless, classic style that will never get old.

1994 Hawaiian Pro Designs Donald Takayama DT-2

Greetings, Shredderz! I’ve been seeing a lot of neat boards pop up for sale, so I decided to write up one of my recent favorites. Pictured here is a 1994 Hawaiian Pro Designs Donald Takayama DT-2 model. According to the seller, the board was ordered directly from Donald and shaped by Takayama. The DT-2 model, which is described as “Donald’s ‘all-rounder'”, continues to serve as a staple of the Surfboards by Donald Takayama lineup.

The Donald Takayama DT-2 Model featured here measures in at 9’6″ x 22 1/2″ x 3 1/16″. The board was listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego earlier this weekend, but by the time the post went live, the listing had been taken down. All photos here are via the original listing.

This is a nice, clean example of Takayama’s DT-2 Model. I really dig the blue glass on side bites and the muted cover palette. The board has all the lamiantes you’d expect from a mid-Nineties Hawaiian Pro Designs Donald Takayama stick: the script down the rails, the oval logo on the bottom, and the signature bird design.

According to the seller, there were some dings that were professionally repaired, but I can’t tell where these are. Overall, the board looks to be in very good shape.

The DT-2 model pictured in this post has an interesting signature on the stringer. It’s extremely hard to make out, and I did my best to tweak the pic a bit to bring out the text. According to the listing, the line above the stringer reads “From Dad, September 4th 1994”, and the line below lists the serial number (which is illegible) and the dimensions. The vast majority of Donald Takayama boards from this era have clear signatures on the stringer, like this example. However, the DT-2 does not. The handwriting looks very similar to Donald’s, based on the other boards I have seen. I also think it’s extremely unlikely the seller whipped up a crazy story to lie about the provenance of the board. Moreover, all the details on the board support the seller’s explanation that it was hand shaped in 1994, from the era-specific logos to the custom inscription on the stringer. I feel very confident in saying this is a Donald Takayama hand shape, and I thought the unusual inscription was worth a closer look for those who like to geek out on small details.

The seller listed the board for $745. I think this was a great price, and I’m not surprised to see that the listing was quickly taken down. I’m no fortune teller, but given Takayama’s incredible career, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his hand shaped boards continue to rise in value.

Doug Haut Surfboards 1979 Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a quick hit for you. I’ve been on a bit of a Santa Cruz kick lately, including a ridiculous Steve Coletta / Natural Shapes Surfboards single fin I wrote up a few days back. Today’s blog post features a board from none other than Doug Haut, who has been a pillar of Santa Cruz’s board building scene for decades. The board is a 1979 single fin and it was briefly listed on Craigslist for $225 before the listing was pulled. I can only guess that another enterprising collector snagged the thing. All the photos in this post are via the Craigslist post, which is no longer live.

This Doug Haut Surfboards single fin measures in 7’0″ and 20.5″. The thickness is unclear, but I feel safe in saying that it’s probably got more than enough float for whatever you’re looking to do with it. As you can see in the photos, it’s got a beautiful outline, courtesy of probably the best known shaper in Northern California.

The board features a neat wedge stringer design and the original fin. As you can see in the photos, it’s not in flawless condition. There’s a decent amount of discoloration, a bunch of spots, and the tail has obviously seen better days. Still, though, there’s something about this board that I absolutely love.

If you ended up snagging this stick, I’d love to hear from you! Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this gorgeous Seventies single fin from master shaper Doug Haut.

Mike Eaton Bing Bonzer with Seventies Airbrush

Greetings, Shredderz! For those of you here in the good ol’ US of A, I hope you’re having a wonderful Memorial Day. And what better way to close out the three day weekend than with a feature on a cool surfboard? Pictured here is a straight up ridiculous Mike Eaton Bing Bonzer shaped in 1978. The board’s owner, a gentleman named Mike who lives in Leucadia, was kind enough to send over pics of this top notch sled. Thank you Mike for sharing!

There’s a lot to dig about the Mike Eaton Bing Bonzer featured in this post. The Bonzer is not just a subject of fascination for this humble little blog; it’s also one of the most enduring designs in surfboard history. I’m particularly interested in the Bing Bonzer, given that it’s the only variant of the Campbell Brothers’ shape that was produced in collaboration with another label (I don’t count the more recent Channel Islands version). Finally, as someone who admires the arc of Mike Eaton’s career, I find myself gravitating towards the surfboards he shaped for the Bing label before striking out on his own.

But hey, why bore you all with this history talk when there’s a sick sled to be ogled? Even if you don’t care to learn more about Eaton’s contributions to shaping, this board has an unbelievable airbrush that anyone can — and should! — appreciate. Click the photos below to enlarge.

The board sports a classic Seventies airbrush depicting a dreamy lineup in soft pastels. Part of me wants to point out that yes, it’s a little cheesy…but really, it’s a gorgeous painting. I also love the hourglass shape of the airbrush. I wonder if some of the lines of the painting match the curves of the board itself.

I can’t quite make out the artist’s signature. If anyone knows more, please let me know! I’d love to credit whoever was responsible for this bitchin’ artwork. Scroll below for photos of both signatures on the board.

Last but not least, the board’s owner was able to provide a great shot of the tail. Most, if not all, of the Mike Eaton Bing Bonzer surfboards I have seen sport pretty dramatic double concaves in the tail. It’s hard to see from the angle below, but it appears as if there’s some deep concave here as well. As always, I love the branded side bite fins. The center fin is an interesting design, too.

I have seen many Mike Eaton Bonzers with stubby, almost hatchet like fins on them. The fin on the board above is much shorter than those found on the original run of Bing Bonzers, but it doesn’t have the bulbous hatchet outline I have seen on other Eaton boards. See below for two other examples of Eaton Bonzer fins. You’ll notice fin on the airbrushed board is similar to the one below and on the left; an example of what I have been referring to as the hatchet-esque fin is below and to the right. Click the photos below to enlarge.

I hope you all enjoyed the photos of Mike’s vintage 1978 Mike Eaton Bing Bonzer. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: how killer is that airbrush? And if you know who the artist might be please do drop me a line. Thanks again Mike for sharing your photos of this beautiful surfboard!

Dane Kealoha Surfboard by Glenn Minami

Old surf ads are fun and all, but let’s face it: if you’re reading this blog, you came here for one thing, and that’s the straight dope on vintage surfboards with some heavy hitter pedigree. I think you’ll all agree that today’s stick fits that description. And, if for some reason, a Dane Kealoha personal rider shaped by Glenn Minami still doesn’t have you convinced, drop me a line and we’ll set you straight ASAP. Yes, pictured below is a Dane Kealoha surfboard shaped by Minami under the storied T&C Surf Designs label. The board comes courtesy of a private, anonymous collector. Thanks to the owner for sharing the photos you see in this post!

You can click the pictures above to enlarge. The Dane Kealoha surfboard you see was shaped in 1979 and it measures in at 6’3″ x 19 1/2″ x 2 3/4″. The owner contacted Glenn Minami to get more info on the board. Minami believes the board was shaped for Kealoha as a personal rider, based on the “D” in the signature, which you can see below.

Close up of the signature on the Dane Kealoha surfboard featured here. You can see Glenn’s “GM” on the far left. The first two digits of “791603” indicate it was shaped in 1979; and the “D” at the end means it was a board shaped for Dane.

The owner was unable to find any pics of Kealoha surfing this board, and I couldn’t either. That said, you’ll notice it has a similar color scheme to the red and yellow Dane Kealoha surfboard seen at the top of the page. (Not sure who took the photo of Dane riding the red and yellow board; let me know if you have more clues.) Moreover, according to Minami, the fact the board was 6’3″ indicates it was likely a step up. Apparently Dane liked to surf shorter boards in powerful surf.

It looks like this board is unusual in the sense it was shaped for Dane as a personal rider. From what I can tell, T&C produced a Dane Kealoha Model for everyday consumers. There appears to be an example of a Kealoha model available on eBay right now. The eBay board doesn’t have a shaper signature anywhere on the board, and according to the listing, it was shaped somewhere in Australia, likely under license. I think Dane Kealoha Model boards are likely to command high prices on the open market, but as cool as those boards are, I love the fact the single fin featured on this post was made for Dane to ride himself. It’s also worth noting that the eBay board is a twin fin.

There are some interesting subtleties found on the laminates on this Dane Kealoha board.

Click the photos above to enlarge. The logo found on the deck of the board is on the left; the pic on the right is the logo found on the bottom. You’ll notice the Dane Kealoha surfboard has two slightly different laminates. The deck laminate reads “Dane Kealoha Hawiian Designs” and the bottom says “Dane Kealoha Designs Hawaii.”

Close up of the fin. The fin alone is gorgeous and the fact the sticker matches the rest of the board is such a rad little touch.

 Last but not least, the Dane Kealoha surfboard comes with an absolutely bitchin’ fin, which I believe is original. And yes, I really dig the fact the T&C Surf sticker on the fin matches the color scheme of the board.

Thanks again to the individual who shared pics of this incredible surfboard, and I hope you enjoyed learning more about this awesome stick!

Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a quick hit for your viewing pleasure: a Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson single fin that was recently listed for sale on Craigslist. The board you see here was originally posted early last month, but the listing has since been taking down. All the photos you see in this blog post are via the original Craigslist listing and the board does not belong to me.

As you can see, the main draw of the Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson board is the combination of the label, the shaper, and of course, the psychedelic airbrush spray on the bottom. Click the photos above to enlarge them.

Closeup of the airbrush on the Rainbow Mike Hynson board; artwork done by Peter St Pierre.

According to the original listing, the Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson board you see above sports an early airbrush from Peter St Pierre. St Pierre still sprays boards today, out of the Moonlight / Christenson factory in San Diego. You can find St Pierre on Instagram here.

I thought the board was particularly interesting in light of the recent sale of a somewhat similar board at the California Gold Surf Auction. (See here for my writeup of some boards I liked best at the show.) A different Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson board was auctioned at the show, and it ended up closing for a tidy $26,000. You can find the auction board here. Granted, the auction board is in impeccable condition. Likewise, the auction board sports a Peter St Pierre airbrush. See below for a closeup of the airbrush on the Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson board that was sold at the auction. [EDIT: See below for additional info on the airbrush for both boards.]

Close up of the airbrush on the auction board, also done by Peter St Pierre

As you can see, there are some clear similarities between the two boards. The Craigslist board is in far worse condition, but it was listed for a way more modest $1,000 originally. There’s no saying what the final sale price was, but in general, auction boards tend to attract higher price tags, given that they’re usually carefully selected for condition and rarity.

Anyway, here are two rad examples of Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson sticks, and I hope you enjoy those insane airbrushes as much as I do!

[EDIT: At a minimum, the Craigslist board’s airbrush was done by Starman, and not Peter St. Pierre. I posted the Craigslist board on Instagram and in the comments Mike Hynson Jr confirmed that the Craigslist board had been signed by Starman. Personally, I don’t know what the signature looks like or how to identify it, but I’ll take his word on it! It seems to me that the Craigslist board and the auction board were likely airbrushed by the same person, but I can’t confirm. Thanks to Joel Tudor for bringing the post to Mike’s attention!]

Herbie Fletcher Surfboard: Seventies Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a quick hit for you, but I promise it’s a good one. The Hoffman / Fletcher clan is the closest thing surfing has to a first family — a counter culture version of the Kennedys. For all you hear about the Hoffman / Fletcher clan, it’s still amazing to me that people don’t talk more about Herbie Fletcher surfboards. And who knows? Maybe people just don’t care as much as I do. But any time I see a rad Herbie Fletcher surfboard pop up for sale, I think it’s worth a few words and some accompanying photos.

The Herbie Fletcher surfboard you see above was recently listed for sale on eBay. All the photos in this blog post are via the original listing, which you can find here. The Herbie Fletcher surfboard was taken down before the auction closed; I’m guessing the buyer received a decent offer and pulled the listing.

I dig Seventies single fins in general, but the Herbie Fletcher surfboard pictured above is not only super clean, it’s also from one of the most colorful characters in surfing history. That said, it’s unclear to me whether or not the board was actually hand shaped by Herbie himself. I have seen boards with the Fletcher logo that were signed by others. It doesn’t appear the board above has any sort of signature or distinguishing marks on it.

The Herbie Fletcher surfboard measures in at a buoyant 6’4″ x 20 1/2″ x 3″. If you look at the photos immediately above, you’ll notice there’s a single wing that ends in a round tail. Overall, the outline is pretty classic for the era in which the board was made. According to the original listing, the Herbie Fletcher surfboard is all original.

Herbie’s entire career is a trip (and it’s still going strong!) But I have a special affinity for his surfboards, square nose and otherwise. If you have a rad Herbie stick you think the world needs to see, then don’t hesitate to drop me a line! Mahalo for reading and stay tuned for more sweet vintage sticks.

The Boardroom Show / California Gold Surf Auction 2019

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s that time of year again: the Boardroom Show is almost upon us. For those of you unfamiliar, the Boardroom Show is an annual event that showcases the surfboard manufacturing industry. Sadly, I won’t be in attendance this year, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

While there’s a ton of great stuff about the show — for starters, Wayne Lynch will be making an appearance — in this blog post I’ll simply cover my favorite boards from the accompanying California Gold Surf Auction. The auction closes in less than three days, so hop on it if you’re eyeing any of the pristine sleds that are up for grabs.

It’s interesting to note how the selection of boards has changed over time. In my write up of last year’s auction I noted the increasing popularity of Eighties neon / Echo Beach influenced designs. I think this year’s California Gold Surf Auction represents a bit of a return to the classics. There are a ton of Sixties longboards, some cool Transition Era shapes, and a host of cool Seventies single fins, and some newer stuff, too.

You can learn more about the Boardroom Show here, and see here for a full list of the boards listed at auction. All photos in this post are via the Boardroom Show’s website. Keep reading below for a brief summary of my personal favorites from the 2019 California Gold Surf Auction:

Terry Fitzgerald Hot Buttered Winged Pin (Link)

If you forced me to choose a favorite board from the auction, I think this would be it. I think Fitz’s boards are still a bit underrated here in the States, and this one has it all. How about that rainbow stringer? The airbrush on the bottom is killer, and the unmistakable, sleek Seventies outline is gorgeous. You can read my post on an unusual Fitz-shaped Lightning Bolt here.

Rick Rasmussen Seventies Single Fin (Link)

As a native New Yorker, I will always think of Rick Rasmussen as the gold standard for Empire State surfing. (Apologies to Balaram Stack, who is another favorite.) Here’s an absolutely stunning Rick Rasmussen single fin that’s listed for sale. The board pictured above is in much better condition than a previous Rasmussen surfboard I wrote up earlier this year. Click the photos to enlarge and get a shot of the black pin line on the deck.

Bing David Nuuhiwa Lightweight Fabric Inlay (Link)

The Bing David Nuuhiwa Lightweight is special enough on its own, but this example has the rare and gorgeous floral fabric inlay. I love the color of fabric pattern, especially in contrast with the fin. I have nothing against boards that have been fully restored, but I prefer them all original, imperfections and all. If anything, I dig the natural look of the slight discoloration on the deck.

Tom Parrish Lightning Bolt (Link)

Here’s another gorgeous Hawaiian heat seeking missile. Lightning Bolt is a classic for a reason. The board is all original, and for my money, I think it’s one of the prettiest sticks in the entire auction lineup. Check out that subtle double pin line, and the creamsicle colorway — complete with matching glass on fin — won’t ever go out of style. Parrish, of course, is a legendary shaper and one of the Lightning Bolt OGs. He’s still making boards today, so hit him up!

Miscellaneous / Final Thoughts

In no particular order, here are some other boards that I thought were really rad:

I realize some of my picks are a little unorthodox, but I like what I like, and that tends to skew more towards the Seventies and Eighties. No matter what, though, if you’re interested in surfboards, you can’t go wrong by giving the auction lots a closer look. Check out the California Gold Surf Auction site here and if you’re in San Diego, the Boardroom Show is well worth your time.

Radical Elegance: The Electric Acid Surfboard Test with Steph Gilmore

It’s not often that I’ll tell people to stop reading Shred Sledz, but today we’ve got a great reason. I’d like to point you all in the direction of Stab Magazine, which has just dropped the second installment of its Electric Acid Surfboard Test series. The first entry in the series, which I covered here, featured Dane Reynolds on a variety of “alternative” surfboards from a selection of well regarded shapers.

EAST, as the series is known, selects a talented surfer, whisks them to a wave rich location with a quiver of brand new surfboards, and then films the results. As much as I enjoyed the last entry — and it must be said that Dane Reynolds’ surfing is beyond reproach — I happen to think Steph Gilmore is a perfect fit for EAST. Gilmore brings to the table an approach that is equal parts feline grace and world champion shred. The end result is a bunch joyful, assured surfing on some cool experimental shapes. The “Radical Elegance” tagline from the title of this is a quote taken from Steph in the film, which I think is an apt description of her style.

Personally, I was delighted with the shapers Stab selected for the video. You can find a full list on Stab’s site, but I particularly geeked out on the inclusion of Simon Anderson, Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, a Shawn Stussy twin fin pictured below, a dramatic Alex Knost bonzer, and many more.

Throughout the video, Gilmore looks as if she’s having the absolute time of her life. The enthusiasm is nothing short of contagious. Shout out to Stab for delivering a rad piece of content, and make sure you check out their site for more behind the scenes pics from the shoot.

Photo at the top of the page by Alan Van Gysen; via Stab Magazine. Pictured in the photo is a Ryan Lovelace / Dan Malloy RabbitsFoot finless board.