Celebrating Skipe Frye: Happy Frye-Day!

Celebrate #Fryeday with some Skip Frye surfboards!

Greetings, Shredderz! If, like me, your thirst for vintage surfboards (and Skip Frye shapes) has long left reason and logic in the rearview, you have no doubt turned to Instagram for your fix. One of the nice little traditions you can find on Instagram is the #Fryeday hashtag, where users share photos of some of Skip Frye’s fine creations.

As a nod to Fryeday, I’d like to shine the spotlight on a few Skip Frye boards that are either currently for sale or were recently listed, along with some prices. Some collectors don’t like to discuss board prices — “throw it on eBay if you want to find out!” is a common (and unhelpful) refrain — but considering most mortals will have to buy a Skip Frye board on the secondary market, I think it’s a topic worth exploring.

First is a 9’9″ K Model that is listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. You can find a link to the board here. The seller is asking $2,485. I tend to think this is on the higher end of the spectrum for a Skip Frye board. The listing has been up for a few weeks now, and generally speaking, Frye’s designs tend to come and go very quickly, thanks to their limited availability. Unfortunately, I can’t say what Frye’s boards sell for when you buy them directly, but the issue is the access, not the price.

For contrast, there’s a 9’6″ Eagle — Skip Frye’s glider model — being offered in San Diego for $1200. You can find a link to that posting here. There are no pics with the listing, but it’s worth noting to get a sense for prices.

The second board is an 8’6″ mini-glider with a thruster fin setup that was recently for sale on Craigslist in New York (posting has since been taken down). The asking price was $3500. This seems extremely high. The board above also spent a few weeks on Craigslist before the listing was taken down. I know, I know — using Craigslist postings isn’t exactly science — but I take this as evidence that the 8’6″ board was overpriced.

Finally, there’s another 8′ Skip Frye K Model for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find a link to the board here. The board is going for $650…but there are more than a few catches. There’s current delamination on the board, it looks like one of the fins may have been partially ripped out earlier, and overall it’s not in the great condition of either of the examples posted above, cosmetically and otherwise. If anything, this is a testament to the fact that Skip Frye’s boards command premium prices, considering it’s a $650 project.

Hope this post was helpful. As always, if you have any feedback feel free to reach out using the Contact link, or leave a comment below.

The Sultan in Hawaii: Terry Fitzgerald for Dick Brewer

How to describe the North Shore of Oahu, the famed strip of surf breaks that, at the start of every winter, becomes the beating heart of the entire surf world? Volcom dubbed the most famous piece of real estate in surfing “The Proving Grounds”, and while surfwear marketing is rarely inspired, this is a fitting name. Surfers have long made pilgrimages to the North Shore, and Aussie Terry Fitzgerald, AKA The Sultan of Speed, is no exception.

Terry Fitzgerald North Shore of Oahu by Jeff Divine
Sam Hawk (left) and Terry Fitzgerald, preparing to paddle out at Rocky Point in 1976. Hawk was a Brewer team rider and respected shaper in his own right. Photo by Jeff Divine

Fitzgerald’s first exposure to Hawaiian influence came during the world contest in 1970, held at Bells Beach. The Australians — Fitzgerald included — were riding equipment that was inferior to those of their Hawaiian counterparts. According to Fitzgerald, at the time of the contest he wasn’t particularly well-liked by his Australian peers. As a result, Fitzgerald ended up rooming in a hotel with Hawaiian surfers Ben Aipa and Paul Strauch. The experience left a lasting impression. “I got a whole new perspective out of that contest, and I connected with the network that was to become the foundation of my surfing life. …I was put in with Aipa and Strauch, and my mind was opened to the whole Hawaiian deal.”

The quote above can be found in “Accelerator”, an excellent Fitzgerald profile written by Phil Jarratt and published in The Surfer’s Journal. I cannot recommend the article enough; you can find a link to it here (article is free for TSJ subscribers, or $3.99 to download.)

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TF surfing Sunset Beach on Oahu’s famed North Shore, winter of 1975. Pic by Art Brewer; via Surfer’s Journal.

Fitzgerald made his first trip to Hawaii in the spring of 1971. In Hawaii Fitzgerald met none other than Dick Brewer, one of the statesmen of Hawaiian surfing. “Accelerator” has a number of excellent details on how the two shapers’ partnership began to emerge. Brewer witnessed Fitzgerald surfing Rocky Rights and dubbed the young Australian the best surfer in the world. In the summer of that same year, Fitzgerald followed Brewer back to Kauai, where the two began to exchange ideas on surfboard design. Fitzgerald credits Brewer’s influence, but disputes the notion that he left Hawaii intent on aping Brewer.

“The boards I took to Hawaii in 1971 were very much Terry Fitzgerald creations. They were the boards that created my reputation, and they were made before I met Brewer. Basically, I’d taken the twin fin that Greg Hodges and I made, put a single fin on it and refined it along the lines of the boards that Russell Hughes and Dana Nicely were doing at Byron Bay. Dick’s genius was that he could look at what a TF or a Sam Hawk was doing and subtly integrate that into his own designs. He could pull together influences from a whole range of people in a way that worked. …By the end of 1971, I was in California making a real statement in foam, and I know I couldn’t have done that without the Brewer experience.”

Shortly after returning to his native Australia, Fitzgerald opened up his own shop and began selling his shapes under the Hot Buttered label. Even the name Hot Buttered has its origins in Fitzgerald’s Hawaii experiences: during the winter of 1971, Fitzgerald and Hawaiian surfer Owl Chapman had been listening to Isaac Hayes’ album “Hot Buttered Soul”, and the name stuck.

A few years later, Fitzgerald’s Hawaiian experience would come full circle.

Hot Buttered Terry Fitzgerald for Dick Brewer 1975:1976 6'56
6’5″ Single Fin shaped by Terry Fitzgerald for Dick Brewer as a gift. Board was shaped in 1975 / 1976. Photo via the board’s owner, Mark Loh.

The board pictured above is an incredible piece of surfing history that serves as a document for the cultural exchange between TF and Dick Brewer. It is a Hot Buttered single fin, shaped in either 1975 or 1976, that Terry Fitzgerald made for Dick Brewer. The board belongs to Mark Loh of Beach Beat, who kindly contributed the photos to this post.

The winged pintail setup is a hallmark of Fitzgerald’s designs from the Seventies. The board above measures in at 6’5″, and it is a single fin. According to Loh, the board has had some small repairs, but otherwise completely original. The board is in excellent shape considering its age, not to mention that swallowtails and wings are notoriously prone to damage.

You can see Fitzgerald’s signature on the board. It clearly reads “T.F. Hawaii for Dick 6’5”. However, the board’s owner went one step further, and contacted Fitzgerald directly. Fitzgerald was able to issue a certificate of authenticity and provide some more details on the board itself.

Hot Buttered Terry Fitzgerald for Dick Brewer Certificate of Authenticity.jpg
Official Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Terry Fitzgerald. Photo via Mark Loh

Fitzgerald provides great insight on the various elements that went into the board’s design. It’s amazing to hear that despite the time spent together, Fitzgerald had never actually ridden one of Brewer’s boards! Finally, Fitzgerald notes the board was glassed by Jack Reeves and sanded by Tom Hawk (brother of the aforementioned Chris).

Jack Reeves Logo
Jack Reeves logo taken from a different Owl Chapman surfboard. I love the simplicity and clean lines of this logo. Pic via The Surfboard Project

This is an amazing board, and Fitzgerald’s certificate is a wonderful source for some first-hand information. Finally, check out the original post featuring the board on Vintage Surfboard Collectors (Facebook). As you can see, I’m not the only person who was stoked about this find!

Thanks to Mark Loh for sharing the pictures and the story.

Ken Bradshaw 80s Thruster Redux

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Beautiful example of a 1980s Ken Bradshaw shape. Pic via eBay

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post is going to revisit a shaper / surfer I covered recently: native Texan turned Hawaiian big wave charger Ken Bradshaw. You can see my original post here. This time, my post will be focused on the market for Bradshaw’s boards, and the prices that are being fetched.

The board pictured above is a Ken Bradshaw thruster, shaped sometime in the 1980s, that is currently for sale on eBay. You can find a link to the board here. As of the time of this post, the bidding was a little over $200, with less than six days until the auction ends.

The original Ken Bradshaw post on this site featured a very similar board that went for sale a few months ago. I have posted a picture below.

Ken Bradshaw Thruster 6'6".jpg
I first wrote about this board a few weeks back. Link to the original post here. Pic via eBay

Both of these boards were originally sold by the same seller (eBay username cashjack). The blue board above was sold less than two months ago, and the final sale price was $725. You can find a link to the blue board’s original eBay auction here.

 

The blue board has actually been re-listed on eBay. The board has a Buy it Now price of $1500 — almost double its original closing price. I suspect the original buyer is now trying to flip the blue board for a quick profit. In fact, the new listing (link here) contains the exact same description as the original one! The new seller, unlike cashjack, looks more like a professional eBay seller than a surfboard collector. I don’t know that the blue Bradshaw will command $1500, but it will be interesting to watch.

Likewise, it will be interesting to see what the red board sells for. I personally prefer the look of the red board, with the distinctly 80s wave design on the deck.

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This is not the most subtle spray job I have seen on a surfboard…and I like it! Pic via eBay

One thing to note about the red board is that it does not have a Bradshaw signature on it. I don’t know enough to say whether or not this means the board was shaped by someone other than Bradshaw. Contrast this with the blue board, which has a clear Bradshaw signature on the stringer:

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Ken Bradshaw signature. Pic via eBay

Finally, there’s a third Bradshaw board up for sale on eBay. You can find the link to the board here. This one isn’t in nearly the same condition as either of the two boards posted above, and as a result, I expect it to command a much cheaper price. Buy it Now price is $175. As much as I like this board — I love the rainbow gradient logos on the deck — it’s simply not in the same class as either of the other boards. There are also some dings that need repairs.

Ken Bradshaw Thruster
Yet another Ken Bradshaw thruster. This one is only 5’9″, and you can see it has some yellowing that is expected given its likely age. Pic via eBay

I’m curious to see where final prices will end up for all three of these boards. As always, boards with distinctive 80s spray jobs seem to command a premium. Check out the listings on eBay and, as always, Happy Shredding!

Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus

The Transition Era of surfboard design was a time period marked by widespread experimentation. Oftentimes, these unorthodox approaches could extend beyond just the design of a surfboard.

Pictured above is a Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus Model. The board is listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego, currently going for $600. Pics are via the Craigslist post, and you can find a link to the board here.

I can’t say the Micro Platypus has the elegance of, say, a Yater nose rider from the same era, but it has an irresistible, freewheeling charm to it. I love the name and the logo, for starters. The board also appears to be in great condition, especially when considering its age. According to Stoked-n-Board, the Micro Platypus was only produced in 1969.

However, the poster lists the Micro Platypus as measuring in at 7’6″, and Stoked-n-Board only has record of Micro Platypus models at either 7’2″ or sub 7′. This is the first and only Micro Platypus I have ever seen, so it’s difficult to say. As always, please drop me a line if you have more info about the board!

There are a bunch of neat design details here as well. Check out everything that’s going on in the nose:

Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus 1969 7'6 2
Look at those rails! Appears as if there is something of a hull-esque belly in the front, too. Pic via Craigslist

The board comes with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin, which is always a nice touch.

Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus 1969 7'6 6
W.A.V.E. Set fin, as designed by Tom Morey. Pic via Craigslist

Island Trader Surf Shop has an example of an original Challenger Platypus on their website. You can find a link to that board here. Based on both sets of pics, it’s difficult to compare the outlines of Island Trader’s Challenger Platypus with the Micro Platypus pictured above. However, here’s a shot of the original Platypus logo. Note that there’s no “Micro” above the Platypus logo, and the addition of the “by Challenger Surfboards” script below.

Challenger Surfboards Platypus
Original Challenger Surfboards Platypus logo. Pic via Island Trader Surf Shop

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say who may have shaped the Micro Platypus pictured at the top of the page. Island Trader’s original Platypus was shaped by Bobby Thomas, and there’s a Swaylocks thread that indicates Thomas shaped a bunch of these boards. Apparently, Billy Caster — who later founded Caster Surfboards — also churned out some boards for Challenger at this time as well.

The Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus is going for $600, and you can find the Craigslist posting for the board here.

Vintage Yater Single Fin

Kon-nichiwa, Shredderz! There isn’t much in the way of waves here in Japan, but luckily I can still trawl Craigslist from the safety of my hotel room. Today’s post features a single fin shaped by none other than Reynolds Yater.

The board pictured above is currently for sale on Craigslist in Los Osos, just a little bit north of Santa Barbara. Pictures are via the Craigslist post.

The board measures in at 6’4″, and it looks to be in pretty good shape. I have left out a picture showing an obvious repair on one of the rails, which looks like it could be re-done without too much fuss.

The seller for the board above claims it was shaped in 1982. There are other examples of similar Yater boards that raise interesting questions about when this board might have been made.

First is another Yater single fin that was up for sale on Craigslist a few months back, which I featured in an earlier post. You can find my original post here. I’ve included some of the pics below:

I originally theorized the green board was shaped in the 1970s. This was based on a few factors: the outline is pretty typical for a 70s board; the Rainbow fin; and finally, the logo, which Stoked-n-Board dates to the 1970s.

Note the logo above has the almond eye outline in yellow. Compare this to the board at the top of the page, which is identical, except for the lack of the almond eye outline.

The green board and the blue logo board at the top of the page both have very similar outlines. The green board is just a tad longer, measuring in at 6’9″, but both boards have similar winged pintail outlines.

There’s another Yater board that got featured on Shred Sledz recently. This board is a board Renny shaped for himself, and it was recently sold at the California Gold Surf Auction. You can find a link to the auction listing here. According to the auction description, the Yater personal rider was shaped in 1976. I think this date is the most reliable of any of the three boards, given the credibility of the folks behind the California Gold auction. Pics below were originally posted with the auction link.

First, you’ll notice the logo for the auction board is also missing the almond eye outline. More importantly, though, the board doesn’t seem to have the distinctive winged pintail found on both the green board and the blue logo board.

I wish I had a clear conclusion regarding the dates of the green board and the blue logo board, but unfortunately, I do not. I tend to think they must be from similar timeframes, given the similarity in their outlines. But I’m not sure if they pre-date the Yater personal rider sold at auction or not. There are other possibilities, too: perhaps Yater produced wing pin single fins over a long period of time, meaning that both dates (early 1970s for the green board, and early 1980s for the blue logo board) could be correct.

If you have any info, I’d love to hear it! Until then, Happy Shredding!

Shawn Stussy Trivia

Surfboards and Coffee had their second event this past weekend, and it looks like it was a doozy. Expression Session #2 was a celebration of all things Echo Beach, and as you might expect, there was enough neon to hurt your eyes (this is a good thing!). Peter Schroff and Lance Collins (Wave Tools) both made cameos, alongside a serious collection of classic 80s boards. I would have liked to drop by, but luckily, there are some great recaps to be found on Instagram.

Expression Session 2: Echo Beach

A post shared by Surfboardsandcoffee (@surfboardsandcoffee) on

The event also shed a light on some cool info on Shawn Stussy, whose designs have a special place in the hearts of Shred Sledz’s editorial staff. One-time Stussy team rider John Gothard showed up to the event and provided some awesome context on decoding some of Stussy’s mysterious stringer markings. To summarize the video below, at some point during the 80s Stussy was obsessed with James Bond. As a result, Stussy signed his personal boards “007” on the stringer. Gothard’s boards were marked “008” in a reference to Bond’s friend and Secret Service colleague.

Here’s an example of a Shawn Stussy “007” personal rider. It’s also interesting to note the logo in the board below is slightly different from the classic Stussy script we all know and love.

See below for a nice contrast between the different Stussy logos. The boards on either side have the what I’m guessing is an older logo, and the board in the middle sports the classic version.

Shawn Stussy Surfboards
A nice collection of 80s Stussy surfboards. Picture via Chicago Fashion Blogs

I was able to find another Stussy board on Instagram, which I believe pre-dates the script logo entirely. I believe the board below is from the late 1970s or early 1980s. (Note that Stoked-n-Board says Stussy didn’t start shaping until 1980).

Finally, another one of Stussy’s personal riders was up for sale earlier this year at the California Gold Surf Auction. See below for a picture, which was originally posted on the auction listing. There’s no “007” anywhere on this board, which dates to 1991. I’m guessing the “007” signature was relatively short-lived, but it’s just a guess.

Shawn Stussy Personal Rider Twinzer 1991
Shawn Stussy personal rider from 1991. No “007” markings, but a very clear signature with dating. Pic via California Gold Surf Auction

I’m bummed to have missed the event, but hopefully Surfboards and Coffee will continue to do God’s work in bringing together some killer boards and old school shapers! If you haven’t already, give them a follow on Instagram here.