Mystery Surfboard

I don’t claim to be the most knowledgable man out there, especially when the topic comes to surfboards. Sadly, my enthusiasm for the subject far outpaces the actual information that is socked away in the recesses of my brain.

I do enjoy doing the research whenever I come across a board I don’t recognize, and there are a few incredible resources available to surfcraft enthusiasts. I can’t say enough good things about the Surfing Heritage Foundation’s irreplaceable Stoked-n-Board resource, which has detailed info on countless brands and shapers. I’m also rather partial to, which is great at giving context. Finally, Vintage Surfboard Collectors is perhaps my favorite of the bunch, thanks to the incredible community.

With that said, I’d like to introduce a new series here at Shred Sledz: Secrets and Mysteries. Every once in a while I come across cool and interesting boards and can’t seem to dredge up any info on them.

The board pictured here, found on Craigslist in Honolulu, is one I can’t identify. It’s pretty sweet looking, with a nice triple stringer setup, a fascinating glassed on fin with a floral pattern, and a ton of foam. There’s a design on the board that I just can’t place, however.

The board is listed at $300, and it looks to be in decent shape. The pronounced S-deck design, the psychedelic fin design, and what looks to be a rolled belly on the bottom all suggest it’s an older board, but I can’t be sure.

If anyone has any ideas please feel free to let me know!

You can check out the board here.

Santa Cruz Throwback: Rick Noe

Given that I call Northern California home these days, I feel obligated to shed light on some shapers from this neck of the woods – particularly when considering the platform afforded to me thanks to Shred Sledz’s worldwide notoriety as THE destination for verbose posts about old and obscure surfboards. Look, when you have a reader base that extends into the single digits…it’s practically a duty to give back.

Noë Surfboards is based out of Santa Cruz. The label was originally started by Rick Noe, who sadly passed away in 2004. However, Noe Surfboards continues strong today thanks to Rick’s son Buck, who shapes boards for some of the best surfers in the Santa Cruz area. For a moving look at the history and the heritage behind the brand, you should check out Noe’s website.

The board pictured here is for sale in Sebastopol California on Craigslist. The only dimensions listed are 7′4″, and it has a classic 70s single fin / diamond tail design. The board looks like it is in incredible shape, and I can’t get enough of that Steamer Lane logo and the sweet airbrush. If I had to guess, the board pre-dates the Noë brand as we know it today. According to Stoked-n-Board, Noë Surfboards was started in 1970, so I would guess this shape is from sometime in the early 70s. The seller is asking $400. On one hand, that is pricey for a used board, but on the other, this is an unusual board from an extremely well-regarded Santa Cruz shaper that is also in great condition.

Check out the board here if you’re interested.

Ben Aipa for Surfboards Hawaii

Spotted on Craigslist in Paso Robles, California is an interesting Ben Aipa / Surfboards Hawaii single fin.

I’d never seen this logo before, nor does Stoked-n-Board’s Surfboards Hawaii page show anything resembling this design. From what I can tell, there isn’t an Aipa signature anywhere on the board, which I believe is unusual as well. Surfboard Hoard has an example of a Surfboards Hawaii board shaped by Aipa, with very different branding and logos. I have included one of the pictures below:

The board pictured with this post isn’t in the best condition. For one, there has been a ton of work around the tail, and at least two other dings that required significant repairs. There’s also the issue of the unsightly black nose guard, not to mention the remnants of a deck pad. It’s sad to see such a cool looking board in half-assed condition, but oh well. And at $600 I can’t say you’re getting a bargain, either, but perhaps this is a very rare logo that would require a premium.

If you’re interested, check it out here.

80s Legend Shawn Stussy

For all you dedicated Shred Sledz readers – hi, Mom! – by now you know that few things warm the cockles of my heart quite like surfboards from the 1980s.

Check out this rad Stussy shortboard for sale on eBay, priced at a pretty royal $1600. Astoundingly, I don’t know that I have ever written about Shawn Stussy.

Long before his name became a shorthand for streetwear, Shawn Stussy was a well-renowned Southern California shaper. According to Stoked-n-Board, Stussy started his eponymous label in 1980. I was shocked to see that Stussy has a Wikipedia entry but no such luck with the otherwise comprehensive Encyclopedia of Surfing.

Sadly, Stussy doesn’t own the rights to his name anymore and his brand continues to be operated without him. Stussy continues to pump out fantastic looking boards out of his S/Double label, and he’s not shy about sharing pictures on his excellent Instagram. Stussy shot to popularity back in the 1980s, though, thanks not only to his skills as a shaper but also his keen eye for design. Pics below taken from the S/Double blog.

The seller for this board claims it was shaped in the 1980s. My guess is late 1980s or sometime in the 90s but I can’t be sure. Stoked-n-Board dates the logo – the signature double “S” design in the blue box – from the 2000s, but who knows.

The other rad thing this board has going for it is a clear signature from the man himself. And man, how cool is it that the board was made for one Scotty Rotten? I could do without the Oakley logo on the nose but otherwise it’s a sick board that’s in good shape.

Check it out on eBay here.


This board, found on Craigslist in Inland Empire, is another relic from the Echo Beach glory days of the 1980s.

I posted another Lance Collins / Wave Tools board earlier, but this is a far more representative example of Collins’ legacy as a shaper. It has all the 80s logos galore, back in the day when boards came loaded with features. I know they’re nothing but clumsy stabs at marketing and branding, but I still love how this board trumpets its tri fin setup, and the “Pro / Am High Performance Model” declaration has its own odd brand of charm (are there any surfers that don’t fit into either the pro or amateur category?) The board measures in at 6′ x 20 1/4″ x 2 1/2″.

The Clark Foam logo is always a welcome sight on a vintage board, and I also dig the Wave Tools branded glass-on fins.

Sadly, this board is far from perfect. There are a ton of dings on the bottom and the tail has had some extensive work done to it, too. I’ve saved you the horror of having to view the pics for myself, as some of us prefer to look back on the 80s through rose tinted glasses (hey, it was cool then, okay?!) For a related post, here’s a link to a Schroff board that popped up on eBay recently.

The good news is this poster is asking a somewhat reasonable $125 for the board. You could definitely get it patched up a bit and surf it.

Check it out here.

Early Campbell Brothers Bonzer

Look at this super rad early Bonzer design, which you can find on Craigslist here. The board is located in Ventura, CA, the ancestral home of the Bonzer design and the Malcom brothers who are responsible for shepherding it into modern surf consciousness.

The poster claims this board is from the early 90s, which sounds about right. Stoked-n-Board lists this logo as having only been used from 1968 to 1970, which, if I had to hazard a guess, isn’t quite correct.

The dims on the board are a healthy 5′7″ x 21 3/4″ x 2 1/2″. I still can’t get over how wide that tail is! Apparently it has a concave deck as well, which is an interesting touch. The poster claims this is an early Bumblee outline, which has since been refined into something a lot more recognizable.

The board is going for $275 and you can find here.

Tanaka Charger

Thanks to some Craigslist lurking skills – at what point do skills devolve into an unhealthy obsession? Asking for a friend – I stumbled across this Tanaka Charger single fin on Craigslist in Oahu.

I had never heard of Ernie Tanaka before, but by all accounts he was a well-known Hawaiian shaper who started making boards in the 1960s and continued through the 21st century. The Surfboard Project has a cool post about an older Tanaka board which you can find here. Tanaka’s son, Tommy, continues to shape for T&C Surf today.

In the Craigslist ad the poster indicates that this board is a Paul Strauch model. I was initially confused, because it looks nothing like the photos of another Tanaka Strauch model I found online.

However, after doing some searching on Stoked-n-Board, I think the board picture here may be a Charger II. The Charger II looks like it is also a Strauch model, and the Stoked-n-Board listing for Tanaka mentions that the Charger II has a pinched diamond tail. You can clearly see the diamond tail on this board in the second to last pic. Moreover, the timeframe listed on Stoked-n-Board indicates the Charger II was only made in 1970, which matches well with the general silhouette and single fin design of this board. I’m curious to learn more about the fin, too – as you can see there are two screws, and I’m not sure what kind of fin box that is. The only thing that gives me pause about saying this is a Charger II is that the decal clearly only says “Charger”, whereas on Stoked-n-Board’s page you can see an example of a Charger III logo where the roman numeral is clearly visible. (Oddly, S-n-B doesn’t list a Charger I anywhere).

The poster is asking $400 for the board. It’s not in fantastic condition, and there is at least one ugly looking ding on the bottom, but this is a cool single fin. And if the auction I linked to above is any indication, these might be collectible boards. Can’t comment at length on how fair the price is, but maybe someone can chime in with more info.

You can see the board here.

Chuck Andrus in Disguise

Chalk this one up to mysterious bloodlines.

When I stumbled across this HIC board on Craigslist, I thought it must have been a Martin Potter pro model, as evidenced by the giant logo on the bottom of the board (see left).

However, the more research I do, I can’t find any evidence of Pottz having ever been a team rider for Hawaiian Island Creations. Pottz’s most famous boards were for Town & Country Surfboards and Blue Hawaii Surf, which you can see pictured below:

Photo below credit

If you look closely, you can see the “Pottz Pro Model” logo on the HIC board is a perfect replica of the Blue Hawaii board above. This makes me think that it simply might be a decal or something else.

The HIC board has “Team” written on the stringer, which strikes me as something of an odd touch as well. Finally, there is a clear signature from Chuck Andrus, whom Stoked-N-Board lists as having been an HIC shaper.

Check out the board here and drop me a note if you have any ideas as to the origins of this board!

Tracking Bob McTavish

This thing is in far from great condition, but at the risk of overusing this phrase, it is a cool piece of surfboard history.

Aussie shaper Bob McTavish claims to have shaped the first ever shortboard in California history in early 1968. Here is an excellent article / interview in Liquid Salt Magazine that details the history of a surfboard whose behind the scenes creation story reads like a who’s who of surfing. Earlier in the season on Hawaii’s North Shore, McTavish had taken one of Gerry Lopez’s boards and cut it down from 9′6″ to 8′6″. He then took some feedback from Dick Brewer, and during a stay at George Greenough’s house while surfing nearby Rincon, McTavish shaped a board that helped usher in the shortboard revolution. That board – known as the Rincon Tracker – later went for sale at a Randy Rarick auction. McTavish wrote a blog post about this board which you can read here.

Photo Credit: Liquid Salt

Shortly afterwards, McTavish struck a deal with Morey-Pope to make a shortboard model named the Tracker. You can see an example here, which I found on Craigslist in San Diego. The board isn’t in fantastic condition, but it is water tight, and the current price is $200.

According to Stoked-n-Board, McTavish actually shaped some of these boards as well, from 1968 to 1970. The Tracker model was produced from 1968 to 1972, which suggests that there are Trackers made that weren’t necessarily McTavish handshapes.

I did some more internet sleuthing and found an entire Picas album for the board when it went for sale a few years back. This reveals that a fin was glassed onto the W.A.V.E. Set fin box, which is an unfortunate bit of aftermarket modification.

If you want more information on McTavish, I can’t recommend Surf Research enough. Their entry on McTavish has some great pictures of his older boards, as he has shaped for many labels other than Morey-Pope. Surf Research has a great example here of a tracker shape that McTavish made for Aussie label Keyo.

This board isn’t perfect by any stretch, but if you’re interested, check it out here.

Hawaiian Enforcer Johnny Boy Gomes

And here we are with another edition of Dumpster Diving, featuring some really cheap surfboards that are available for your viewing pleasure!

This board is a Johnny Boy Gomes signature model, made by famous Hawaiian brand Town & Country Surfboards. You can find it on Craigslist in Santa Monica, and per the rigorous regulations of our Dumpster Diving feature, the board clocks in at well under the $100 threshold – a mere $68 will take this home.

The bad news: the board isn’t in great condition. It’s got a lot of discoloration on the deck and a ton of pressure dings. There are no pictures of the tail that show it in detail, so there might be some more problems there.

The signature on the stringer dates this board to 1994, right about at the height of Gomes’ fame. Gomes was a longtime North Shore heavyweight who was known for his powerful and aggressive surfing. Johnny Boy was a Hawaiian trialist at the 1997 Pipe Masters and he won the whole thing, something that only two other Hawaiians can claim (Bruce Irons, of course, and Jamie O’Brien being the other.) Unfortunately, he also carved out a reputation for not being the best ambassador of the aloha spirit. He has been in multiple brushes with the law, including an arrest for assault last December in Waikiki.

But anyway, this board is a decent deal. The 90s have yet to really come back in style but this is a definite homage to that era, given the T&C brand and Johnny Boy, who faded from surf industry prominence shortly afterwards. I’m having a hard time figuring out who might have shaped it and what the letters on the board indicate. I’m wondering if the signature before the measurements would be “JJ”, for Jeff Johnston, who was a longtime shaper for T&C. The dims of the board are 6′6″ x 18 1/2″ x 2 7/16″, which sounds about right for mid 90s high performance sleds.

Check it out on Craigslist here, and for a bonus, here’s a shot of Johnny Boy putting one of his signature boards to good use: