US License Mark Richards Twin Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! We’ve got a quick hit for you tonight, but one that I think is still very much worth your valuable time. I originally saw this US-made Mark Richards twin fin on the awesome Vintage Surfboards Collectors Facebook group. You can find a link to the original post here. It’s a private FB group, but given that I’m a member, you know there aren’t any real standards. The board’s owner was kind enough to give me permission to run the pics here on the blog.

The board measures in at 5’10” and it was shaped sometime during the Eighties. I absolutely cannot get over the gorgeous airbrush on this thing! Is it me or are gradient airbrushes not nearly as popular as they used to be? And I can’t help but admire the way the color scheme is echoed in the laminate. The fins are a newer reproduction, but they look beautiful on the board.

Even better, the owner was able to contact Robin Prodanovich, who was one of Gordon & Smith’s production shapers at the time. (Side note: Prodanovich’s son, Todd, is an editor at Surfer Magazine.) The US-license MR boards were shaped out of the G&S factory in San Diego. Prodanovich had the following to say about the board:

There were other shapers besides myself, that shaped the MR twins and single fins at G&S. I did the bulk of them, but Hank Warner, Terry Goldsmith, Hoy Runnels, and Mike Richardson did their fair share. Larry Gordon would not allow any of the shapers to sign their shapes, so each guy had his own secret way of “signing” their work. I always placed a pencil dot between the numbers that indicated length, so a 6’2” length would be indicated as 6.2, and the dot would be raised to about the centerline of the numbers. I don’t recall how the other boys did theirs. Eventually Larry gave in and let us sign our work.

For more on this rad stick, check out the post in the Vintage Surfboard Collectors Facebook group.

Vintage Al Merrick Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! The weekend might be coming to a close but we’ve still got some heat for you before Monday rolls around. Yes, what you see here is a gorgeous vintage Al Merrick surfboard. Even better, the board has a beautiful airbrush courtesy of artist Bernie Tsao, and some other cool bells and whistles. 2019 marks the 50th year of Channel Islands Surfboards, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that incredible milestone than with a genuine Merrick hand shaped vintage stick. Many thanks to Shred Sledz reader Hanh, who was kind enough to pass along the photos you see here.

Make sure you click the photos above to enlarge. The absolutely killer vintage Al Merrick surfboard you see above measures in at 6’3″ x 20 1/4″ x 2 3/4″. It has double wings that end in a round tail, and a cool channel bottom that is accented by a killer airbrush. I love any and all vintage Channel Islands boards, but I have a particular soft spot for the single fins and the twins, which seem to be a bit more unusual. According to the board’s current owner, the board was shaped in 1983. The CI hexagon logo on the deck is a sticker, so I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of the CI logos during this era. By contrast, check out the CI hexagon logo on the bottom, which is a simple and uniform grey.

The airbrush, as you can plainly see, is ridiculous. I love the way it follows the contours of the channel bottom. You don’t see a ton of vintage Channel Islands with elaborate artwork, but I love everything that’s going on here. The airbrush was done by a gentleman by the name of Bernie Tsao. The board’s owner tells me that Bernie got his start making boards with David Pu’u, and did stints with folks like Bob Haakenson before moving to Kauai, where he lives today. By now you may also know that I’m a sucker for old school fins, and this vintage Al Merrick surfboard certainly does not disappoint in that department.

I’m intrigued by the channel bottom on this vintage Al Merrick surfboard. There’s another Eighties CI with a similar bottom that can be found on the excellent Vintage Surfboard Collectors Facebook Group. In addition, the board featured in this post looks similar to an earlier Channel Islands Surfboards Tri Plane Hull single fin I wrote up. Buggs has also featured a cool CI twin fin on his Instagram with a very similar looking bottom.

Last but certainly not least, you know I had to go deep on the Al Merrick signature. The board clearly has Al’s hand-written signature, versus the simple fish design that can be found on many stock CI boards, which were shaped by production shapers. It also has a “Shaped & Designed by Al Merrick” laminate, which you don’t see a ton. For more on identifying Al’s signatures, check out these earlier blog posts here and here. I’m not sure when exactly Channel Islands started using shaping machines to assist in their production. CI’s use of production shapers, however, goes back to at the least the Seventies, when folks like Bob Krause were producing boards for the venerable label.

Thanks again to Hanh for providing the pics of this sweet vintage Al Merrick surfboard, and I hope you enjoyed checking out this stick!

Yes, Another Vintage Liddle

You sick of seeing these vintage Liddle single fins yet? Me neither. This gem was lurking on Craigslist in Orange County last week before the listing was taken down. I have to assume the board was snapped up by another collector.

The Liddle single fin you see pictured here measures 7’1″, and it’s far more of a traditional Seventies single fin outline than the displacement hulls that one mostly associates with Greg Liddle and his eponymous label.

The board featured in this post is similar to another Liddle single fin I wrote up a little over a year ago. For whatever reason, the orange laminates mostly appear on older Liddle boards. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I can’t think of any post 2000s Liddle boards I’ve seen with an orange laminate.

The Liddle single fin isn’t in pristine condition, but all things considered it is in pretty good shape. The board was listed on Craigslist for $800, which seems about right given everything going on. I tend to think the hulls command a bit of a higher price than the standard single fins, but I’m down with both.

And no blog post on a vintage Liddle would be complete without some complete overkill on analyzing the signature on the board. I wrote up an Eighties Liddle hull last week, and in the post I did some analysis around the serial numbers of various vintage Liddles, as well as the dates assigned to the serial numbers per the Liddle Surfboards website.

Judging from the outline of the orange laminate board here, as well as the single fin setup, it’s almost certainly shaped in the Seventies, or maybe the Eighties. For example, see here for some similar boards from the Liddle website — single fin round pins, just like the one above — that are dated to the Seventies or Eighties. I have also heard that an X on the signature, like the one above, denotes a stock shop board (versus a custom shape).

I’m having trouble reconciling the number on this board — X-1036 — with other similar boards I have seen. For example, I wrote up a different Liddle single fin that looks like it was shaped around the same time as X-1036, and the other board has X-142 written on the stringer. I have reproduced the photos below.

First, I’m not quite sure why the “X” boards are numbered differently. As a reminder, the hull I wrote up last week had the serial number #3070; and before that, I wrote up a single fin with serial number #3249. But even looking strictly at the X boards, I have hard time thinking those numbers are sequential. In other words, I can’t imagine that there are nearly 1,000 boards that were shaped between X-142, the board immediately above; and X-1036, the orange laminate single fin that is the subject of this post.

If you’re a Liddle-ologist with more insight into how Greg numbered his boards, I’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the pics of this neat vintage Seventies Liddle single fin.

Straight Up Occy Pro Model by Carl Schaper

Greetings, Shredderz! I don’t know about the garbage bins near you, but apparently parts of New Jersey have trash cans overflowing with incredible vintage surfboards. Thanks to Tom on Instagram for sharing the photos of this beautiful Straight Up Occy Pro Model, which, unbelievably, was a trash find. In fact, I just might head out of the house and dig around some dumpsters and see if I can come up with a Channel Islands Tom Curren model.

Occy is probably best known for his association with Rusty Surfboards, especially during the mid-Eighties, at the height of his rivalry with Curren. I’m not sure when Occy parted ways with Rusty. As a side bar, I find it interesting that Occy never re-joined the Rusty stable, other than a recent limited edition re-issue of his classic Eighties thruster, which was produced in conjunction with Billabong.

Straight Up Surfboards produced the Occy Pro Model during the early Nineties, and perhaps even earlier. As is usually the case with surfboards, it’s hard to find reliable information on specific dates. That said, 1992’s “The Green Iguana”, released by Billabong and directed by Jack McCoy, features Occ with a Straight Up stick on the cover.

More importantly, though, the film includes a section of Occ putting on a backhand surfing clinic. Did I pause this video a million times to see if Occy was surfing a Straight Up Pro Model? Sadly, the answer is yes. Even sadder, I still don’t know the answer.

Judging from a post on Straight Up Surfboards’ Facebook page, the label was founded in Hawaii in 1983, by Kaui Hill and Dave and/or Kim Purington. I’ve featured a Straight Up Surfboards stick on this blog only once before, and that was a beautiful channel bottom thruster shaped by Mike Croteau. It looks like Straight Up is still producing boards today.

The Occy Pro Model you see here measures in at 6’4″ x 19 1/4″ x 2.5″. It was shaped by Carl Schaper, who is a longtime North Shore craftsman. Schaper also shaped the board that can be seen on the cover of The Green Iguana — you can clearly see his logo beneath the Billabong laminate. (Shameless plug alert: Schaper was an early mentor to Todd Pinder, whom I featured in the inaugural Shaper Spotlight entry a few months back.) I love the fact that the airbrush on the board is almost identical to the one on the Occy Pro Model laminate. And the fact the laminate features Occ going vertical on his backhand is another nice touch.

The board in question was clearly shaped by Schaper himself. Apparently someone else reached out to Schaper for info on the board. Schaper couldn’t recall whether or not the board had been shaped for Occy as a personal rider. Even if the board is a stock model, I think we can all agree that it’s still a ridiculous score!

80s Liddle Hull

Greetings, Shredderz! We’ve got a quick hit for you today, but given how collectible Greg Liddle’s surfboards are, I feel good about this being something of a crowd pleasure. Pictured here is a vintage 80s Liddle Hull that Jeff was kind enough to share. Eagle-eyed readers may recognize the background in these pictures: a few months ago I wrote a post on two Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom boards, one of which belonged to Jeff as well. I’ve written up many vintage Liddle Surfboards here, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.

The Liddle hull has obviously seen some wear and tear in its lifetime. Few things pain me more than seeing a surfboard that has been abused or neglected, but I dig a well-used board that has clearly delivered a bunch of fun to its owner(s) over the years. I imagine the Liddle you see here falls into the latter category.

The owner was also kind enough to include a close up shot of the signature on the Liddle. As you can see in the picture above, the board is 8’6.5″ and it bears #3070. The owner was told that #3070 was shaped sometime in the Eighties.

First, I believe that the numbering on Greg’s hand shaped Liddles is sequential. The last vintage Liddle I wrote up was a non-hull single fin with the serial number #3249. According to the Liddle Surfboards website, which has an incredible archive of pics, #3249 was likely shaped in either the late Seventies or the early Eighties. I was also able to find an entry for Liddle #3031, which is a thruster. If the numbering on Greg’s boards is indeed sequential, then I have to think that #3031, #3070 (the hull featured here), and #3249 were all shaped in the early- to mid-Eighties. I can’t say for sure, though, and this analysis is based on digging through the vast archive of pics on the official Liddle site.

Thanks again to Jeff for shooting over pics of this sweet Eighties Liddle hull. And if you’re the owner of a rad vintage Liddle then don’t be shy and drop me a line!

Phil Edwards Honolulu 49A

A few weeks back I was wasting time on Instagram when I came across a story about a Porsche barn find. Some lucky collector had stumbled across a beautiful sports car that had been stashed away in storage for decades and could not believe his luck. It got me thinking about what the surfboard equivalent of discovering a vintage Porsche would be. Now, I’m not a car guy, and if you’ve seen me surf, you might not think I’m a surfboard guy, either. But after giving it some thought I decided that finding a Phil Edwards Honolulu would be the surf version of stumbling across a Porsche 911 buried deep in some Midwestern barn.

You can imagine my astonishment when I was contacted about a week later by someone who owned a Phil Edwards Honolulu, wanting to know more about the board. The very same stick is pictured here in this post. The original owner’s aunt had purchased the board when she traveled to Hawaii in the late Sixties. Upon returning to the Midwest she put the board in storage, where it remained until her passing decades later.

One of the many cool aspects about the Phil Edwards Honolulu boards is the fact that each one was individually numbered. The PE Honolulu boards follow a straightforward numbering system. There were four series of PE Honolulu boards: A, B, C and D; with A being the first run, and D being the most recent. Each board within the series was then given its own unique number. You can see the PE Honolulu board here is numbered 49A, which means it was #49 within the initial series of A boards.

I’m not exactly sure on the when the Phil Edwards Honolulu boards were shaped, and how many were made. Overall, PE Honolulu boards are quite rare, and I have read that Edwards didn’t shape that many of them to start. I believe Edwards shaped the Honolulu between 1967 and 1969, shortly after he had moved from his native California to Hawaii. Some of the later Phil Edwards Honolulu surfboards have very clear Transition Era influences on them, which supports the date range. The earlier boards, such as the A series one featured here, are classic Sixties noseriders. The closest thing I can find to a reliable date is board 18A, which was sold at a recent auction. The auction listing claims the board was shaped in 1968.

As you can see in the photos above (click to enlarge), the Phil Edwards Honolulu board featured here is a classic Sixties longboard. The length is somewhere in the 10′ range, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have any specifics. The board isn’t in perfect condition, but it is remarkably well preserved considering it is well over fifty years old. It has a beautiful purple resin tint and a contrasting yellow pin line, which matches the fin, too.

There aren’t many examples of PE Honolulu boards online, so I was super stoked to find one that hasn’t made the traditional auction and collector circuits.

I’m also happy to report that 49A will be making its way to a new owner sometime soon. I don’t want to give any spoilers but the Phil Edwards Honolulu surfboard will be returned to its home in Hawaii. All I can say about the owner is that he has appeared on Shred Sledz before and he is a talented craftsman with a deep appreciation for surf history and sweet vintage rigs. Finally, don’t be surprised if this exceptional stick ends up under the feet of a talented pro, but I’ll shut up for now.

Thank you for reading and check out a separate Phil Edwards B series board I posted about below.

Keyo Plastic Machine Repro

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a quick heads up about a beautiful not-quite vintage surfboard that can currently be found for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. There’s currently a Keyo Plastic Machine model for sale in Huntington Beach. You can find the Craigslist listing here. The board is a newer reissue of the Transition Era model of the same name. Both the repro as well as the original Keyo Plastic Machine were shaped by Bob McTavish.

You can click the photos above to enlarge. (All photos in this post are via the original Craigslist listing). The Keyo Plastic Machine was a v bottom surfboard that was shaped by McTavish during the late Sixties. If you’ve been reading the blog you may know that I am an enormous fan of surfresearch.com.au. Surfresearch has a typically comprehensive post on Keyo Surfboards, which is worth reading. Keyo was the brainchild of Dennis “Denny” Keough (get it?), and it was based out of Sydney. When the label debuted McTavish’s Plastic Machine, the v bottom shape quickly became a best seller.

I was a bit surprised to see this board for a number of reasons. First, while Keyo is a famous Aussie label, I don’t know that it has much recognition in the US. I’m about as biased as it gets when it comes to loving surfboards, but I can’t imagine there’s a huge audience of Aussie ex pats with a specific passion for Transition Era shapes! I’m guessing the board was shaped in Australia and shipped over here, but that’s a stab in the dark.

Second, I recently came across a Bob McTavish interview where he talked a bit about his evolving views on hulls. In McTavish’s own words, “By mid ‘69 I wanted nothing to do with hulls. I still don’t like them. Dreamy, but impractical.” The quote comes off a little harsh — earlier in the interview, McTavish praises the neutral aspects of hulls, and his objection has more to do with surfing in crowds than board design — but it was still eye-opening, coming from someone who was so integral to the shortboard revolution. Granted, the Plastic Machine is a v bottom, so I’m not even sure that it would qualify for McTavish’s criticism.

The board is clearly signed on the stringer. It is 9′ x 22 3/4″ x 3 1/8″. According to the numbering, it is #3 of just twelve limited edition Plastic Machine reproductions. I’m not sure when McTavish reproduced these.

The seller is asking for $1,200. He claims the board has never been surfed, and it is clearly in impeccable condition. It’s hard to price unusual boards like this Plastic Machine repro, but I’m personally a huge fan. I tend to prefer vintage stuff, even if it’s got a little wear and tear, but there’s no denying the heritage of the shape, McTavish’s imprint, and the simple fact that it’s one gorgeous surfboard. If you feel the same and you’ve got considerably more cash on hand, then maybe check out the Craigslist post here.

More Vintage Liddle Single Fin Goodness

Greetings, Shredderz! If you’re reading this blog you are almost certainly familiar with Greg Liddle and his famous displacement hulls. I’ve written up numerous examples of vintage Liddles over the years, including a sweet yellow single fin with an unusual “mirrored” laminate; a different 8’6″ Liddle single fin; and a few others.

When a reader sent me a Craigslist link to the 7’2″ single fin Liddle pictured above, I was immediately intrigued. The post was only up for a few days at most, with an asking price of $850. I can only assume someone pounced on it, as Greg Liddle hand shapes never seem to last long on the open market.

Maybe this says more about my idiosyncrasies than anything else, but the first thing I noticed were the laminates. You can see a small blue laminate on the deck, paired with an oversized black outline laminate on the bottom. I’ve noticed that vintage Liddle surfboards tend to have either larger or smaller laminates than the “standard” size you see on the newer Liddle Designs, for example.

The original Craigslist post mentioned that photos of the board are actually available on the Liddle Surfboards website. As a side note, the Liddle Surfboards website is a glorious throwback to the early days of the internet. The site also has a page that links to a giant collection of Liddle pics. The page has even spawned its own Instagram tribute account, aptly titled “Spaceship Lovers.”

The entry for the 7’2″ single fin notes that the board was found by a guy named Pat Crampton on Craigslist. I’ve reproduced the photos of the board from the Liddle Surfboards site below. You can click the photos to enlarge.

The entry for the board on the Liddle surfboards site also has some good information. As you can see in the signature below, the board has serial number #3249. According to Liddle’s site, the serial number indicates the board was likely shaped in the late Seventies or early Eighties. There’s also some info on the glass job: 6 oz and 4 oz, with a 6 oz Volan tail patch, which you can clearly see in all the photos. I can only assume the 6-4-6 on the stringer is a reference to the glass job.

One thing that’s weird to me is a photo of the signature on the Craigslist listing is somehow missing two numbers. You can see the Craigslist shot of the signature below.

I’m really having a hard time explaining how this could be the case. I’m thinking that maybe the board was signed in two places, but that isn’t clear from either set of pictures, I’m afraid.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you are the proud owner of a sweet Liddle, vintage or otherwise, don’t hesitate to reach out and send me some pics.

Randy Rarick: North Shore Icon

Greetings, Shredderz! A few months ago I had the good fortune to visit Oahu. Even if you have so much as a passing interest in surfing, Hawaii, and the North Shore in particular, is Mecca. Every winter the storied seven mile stretch of coastline becomes the center of the sport, hosting countless pilgrimages from around the world. Even for someone like me, whose surfing ability is best described as limited, a visit to Oahu’s proving grounds is practically required. During my time in Hawaii I had the good fortune of spending part of an afternoon with North Shore fixture Randy Rarick. Rarick, who still rips Sunset Beach, owns one of the most varied and fascinating surfing resumes on the planet: a surfer, first and foremost; a shaper, with stints at both Surf Line Hawaii and Lightning Bolt; an event organizer, who served as the longtime contest director for the Triple Crown of Surfing; and perhaps the authority on vintage surfboards.

Rarick and his home break of Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore, just steps from his house and shaping room.

Rarick is known for glass-off restorations of vintage boards. The process involves completely stripping off the fiberglass from a board and then re-glassing the shape. It is a long and laborious process that transforms beaters destined for the trash heap into showroom-worthy collectors’ items. If you have ever looked at recent high-end surfboard auctions, you have no doubt seen Rarick’s work. It’s also worth noting that Rarick pioneered the collector-focused surfboard auctions, although he has since passed the baton.

There are a range of opinions on the practice of full glass-off restorations — surfers are nothing if not opinionated — and at one extreme, the most vocal critics claim this can compromise the integrity of the board itself. Rarick has shared extensive thoughts on the subject, and for more on his perspective, I highly recommend this Surfer’s Journal profile. Many folks far more knowledgeable than me have weighed in on the subject, and while I personally love (and prefer) the slight imperfections of older boards, I simultaneously have a deep respect for the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into a full glass-off restoration.

Rarick’s shaping room has probably seen more classic surfboards than any other place on earth. As you can see in the photo below, Rarick preserves laminates from boards he has restored. Each one of the laminates pinned to the walls represents a board that Rarick worked on.

Yes, that is eleven different Phil Edwards Honolulu laminates you see.

I love the practice of preserving the original laminates from these boards. If nothing else, it’s a great way to document the sheer number of notable surfboards that have passed through Rarick’s shaping room. When I picked up my jaw off the floor and told Rarick I couldn’t believe how many rare shapes he had restored, he casually mentioned that there had been even more laminates hanging up until someone had come through and purchased a bunch.

Rarick’s shaping room is small, and it’s hard to imagine a space with more surf history per square inch. And while there are plenty of reminders of all the boards Rarick has worked on in the past, I was just as interested in the projects that were currently under way. In the photo below you can see a unique wooden blank (second from top). The blank is actually crafted from wiliwili, also known as Hawaiian balsa, as part of a project with Tom Parrish, another renowned Hawaiian shaper and Lightning Bolt alumnus.

Parrish posted a different wiliwili board on his Instagram, which I have embedded below.

During my visit Rarick was in the midst of restoring an Inter-Island Surf Shop Hydro Gun shaped by John Kelly. The board would later appear at the California Gold Vintage Surf Auction.

Inter-Island Surf Shop John Kelly Hydro Gun, stripped down to the foam

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Kelly’s Hydro Gun is the insane Scorpion tail, which you can see below.

Close up of the scorpion tail on the John Kelly Hydro Gun

It was really cool to see the board as a bare blank, midway through the restoration process. I don’t have any photos of what the Hydro Gun looked like before the restoration, but the auction listing has some great shots of the finished product.

Rarick was incredibly generous with both his time as well as the vast amounts of knowledge he has accumulated over the decades. Speaking with Rarick was also a reminder of the importance of learning surf history by meeting the people who helped make it. There are times when I chafe at surfing’s fondness for oral tradition, mostly because it can make research so difficult. And while I am a proud advocate of putting as much surf history online as possible, my time with Rarick underscored the fact that it’s so much more informative and rewarding to speak to people in person, especially when those conversations take place steps from storied Sunset Beach. Thanks again to Randy Rarick for sharing his time and making this modest blog post possible.

Photo at the top of the page by Lance Trout; Randy Rarick, Sunset Beach, 1978.

[UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Barry Kanaiaupuni as Reno Abellira. The caption has been updated. Sorry for the mistake and thanks to everyone who helpfully pointed it out.)

Mike Croteau for O’Neill (I Think)

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a sweet single fin that was sent to me by someone on Instagram. For the most part, I’ll write up boards here on the blog and then maybe throw up a picture on social media. Today’s post is the reverse — after originally posting the board on IG, I decided to devote a brief but more in-depth blog post to the stick, just because I liked it so much. One more caveat before we begin: I’m almost certain the board featured here is a Mike Croteau shape, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ll include a pic of the signature and let you compare for yourself. Click any of the photos below to enlarge.

More importantly, I love this board. Shout out to the board’s owner for taking such great pics. This is an extremely trivial point but I love the way the yellow pops against the nice green grass background. The Mike Croteau single fin also has some nice subtle details, including wings towards the tail, and then some very interesting looking channels on the bottom.

The channels in the tail are pretty subtle. They’re also very different from a previous Mike Croteau-shaped board that I featured recently. You can see some closeups below.

As for who shaped the board, I’m almost certain it’s Mike Croteau. First, Croteau has deep ties to Santa Cruz, and it looks to me as if this was a board created under the O’Neill label. O’Neill is of course best known for its wetsuits, but they have also produced some boards on and off over the years. That said, there’s a chance the O’Neill laminates were applied after the board was shaped, but seeing as how I don’t have the board available to me in person, I just can’t say.

See below for a comparison between the signature on the O’Neill single fin (on the left) and then the signature from the earlier Croteau / Straight Up Surfboards stick I wrote up a few months back. The signatures look pretty similar to me.

If you have more info or thoughts on the board, please let me know! I’d love to know more about this stick. Thanks again to the owner for sharing pics of this gorgeous single fin.