The 1970s saw a lot of funky surfboard designs. Even by that decade’s standards, though, the infamous W.A.V.E. hollow surfboards stand out as one of the more interesting experiments to have been brought to market.
W.A.V.E. – an acronym, of course, standing for “Water Apparatus & Vehicular Engineering” – was the brainchild of Karl Pope and Tom Morey. Pope has gone on to work on things like collapsible surfboards, and Morey – who I guess has since renamed himself “Y” – is responsible for a bunch of surf-related inventions spanning the weird, the useful, and everything in between. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that these two had a hand in creating one of the few modern surfboards featuring a hollow core.
Found on Craigslist in Hollywood, Los Angeles is a nice W.A.V.E. board from sometime in the 70s. Judging from Stoked-n-Board’s entry for W.A.V.E., I would guess this model is the “73 DT”. 73 likely refers to the length of the board – confirmed by the Craigslist poster as 87″, or 7′3″ – and DT refers to the diamond tail. Looks like this board was made in 1973 and 1974. You can also see pics on Stoked-n-Board’s page about the fin box and its curious dual screw configuration. No idea if the fin pictured is the original; a cursory search for other W.A.V.E. boards seemed to turn up some Rainbow fins, but your guess is as good as mine here.
I have no clue how these boards ride, but I personally think the W.A.V.E. logo in the first screenshot is so rad. It’s very 70s, and it gives the board a ton of character. Sadly, some of the paint seems to be fading, especially around the rails, but otherwise the board looks like it’s in good condition.
Oh, and it’s only $150. That seems like a fair price. I wish there were a standard price book for surfboards (it seems insane that there isn’t such a thing), but here’s a thread where people are offering double for a similar looking board.
Anyway, check out this board here if you are so inclined.
It’s a great marriage between the gentler aesthetics of Brooklyn-based Pilgrim (I’m just trying to avoid using the word hipster, but alas, there’s no way around it) and the irreverent Orange County punk stylings of …Lost. …Lost has established itself as a fixture of the Southern California high performance shortboard scene, but it hasn’t lost any of its rebellious nature. It’s a tough act. Look no further than Volcom, whose rallying cry of “Youth Against Establishment” in the late 90s and early 2000s segued into an IPO and then an assimilation into a faceless luxury conglomerate shortly afterwards. …Lost has the luxury of having Biolos at his helm, and as long as he is making boards for the world’s best surfers, the brand is likely to stay true to its roots.
There are some really cool boards there that might seem a little out of place here at Shred Sledz HQ, where things tend to skew a little more vintage. But Biolos is a shaper who knows his shit cold, and you can see the great care and thought that went into every aspect of these boards. In particular I love the clean Pilgrim / Lost logo on each board, which is a refreshing departure from …Lost’s usual cartoonish vibe. Check out the listings on Pilgrim for detailed notes from Biolos about the design of each board and the carefully considered design decisions that were made.
Finally, you can see a video interview between Pilgrim co-founder Chris Gentile and Biolos here.
Here’s a great example of the maddeningly subtle differences between a hand shaped board and a “close but no cigar” example.
Hynson Surfboards, the namesake of “Endless Summer” star Mike Hynson, is currently selling two boards on Craigslist with small but meaningful differences.
The first board can be found here. It’s the Coke bottle tinted board above with the red fin and the triple stringer. If you look closely at the signature on the board, it says “Designed and Hand Shaped by Mike Hynson.” This is the real deal – a board completely hand made by a famous California shaper.
The second board you can see here. It’s also a longboard with a triple stringer and boasts the red fin design that has become something of a hallmark of Hynson’s boards. However, note that the stringer only has a Mike Hynson signature and an ohm signal. This board is not a handshape. It was machine cut, and while the outline is designed by Hynson, it wasn’t crafted start to finish by the man himself.
This is made clear in the pricing of the boards, too. The handshape is going for $2500, and the other board is a lot cheaper at $1500.
While it’s clear that a board signed “Designed and Hand Shaped by Mike Hynson” is the real deal, some questions remain about boards that simply have Mike’s signature and then an ohm insignia. In an earlier post I wrote about a Hynson, I also linked to an older Hynson single fin being sold at Surfy Surfy. The single fin at Surfy Surfy doesn’t have the “Designed and Hand Shaped” signature, but who knows, it still could be a genuine shape. More than anything else, I think this is a good example of pointing out how hard it can be to divine the exact origins of a surfboard, even with seemingly clear evidence.
Plastic Fantastic Surfboards is a groovy surfboard label that came to prominence in the 70s. I’ve always loved the name, which was apparently taken from the Jefferson Airplane song “Plastic Fantastic Lover.” Despite my better instincts, I love the logo, which screams 1970s. Some might say it’s not in a good way, kind of like those weird avocado-colored washing machines you’ll see every now and then, but hey, at least it’s distinctive.
Two Plastic Fantastic Surfboards are up for sale on Craigslist. The first one (pictured above with no color and the blue pinlines) is located in Providence, Rhode Island, and you can see that listing here. The poster claims the board was made in the early 70s and it comes with an original fin. Dims are 5′6″ x 21″ x 3″. I can’t tell if it’s just the pictures, but the tail definitely suggests the board was made sometime in the 70s, so I tend to agree with the date on this. The board is apparently water tight and it’s listed at $350 – not a bad price in my book.
The second board (yellow deck with red bottom, and blue flower logo) is located in Atlantic Beach, Florida. You can find that listing here. No dims are given, and the board is significantly steeper at $550. It has some dings that need to be repaired, and I would really like to see better pics of the tail as well as the fin that comes with the board.
The one problem with Plastic Fantastic, and with so many other great surfboard brands, is that it can be tough to figure out how “authentic” a board is (or what “authentic” even means in this case.) Two wonderful resources for learning more about PF boards are Stoked-n-Board’s entry here, and this great Swaylocks thread.
You can find the Craigslist postings here and here.
Dick Brewer is one of the most famous surfboard shapers ever. His claim to fame is crafting big wave guns that perform in the demanding conditions of a Hawaiian winter.
One of the more fascinating – or maddening, depending on how you look at it – aspects of Brewer’s long career is the wide variety of brands and labels he shaped under. There are too many to name – Hobie, Surfboards Hawaii, and his eponymous label, just to name a few – but there are a dizzying number of brand names one needs to keep straight in order to unearth a genuine Dick Brewer hand shaped board. For example, here’s a board that bears the Dick Brewer Surfboards label, but was apparently shaped by Owl Chapman. Why that wouldn’t be a Brewer Chapman board is beyond me, but I’m not the one who makes the decisions here.
The good news is there are occasional gems that pop up here and there that bear promising signs of being a genuine Brewer hand shape. I don’t want to make any definitive declarations, because I’m not an expert. But this board, located on Craigslist in Honolulu, certainly fits the part.
It’s listed at 7′2″ and the poster claims the board is a custom shape from 1978. The tail is pretty interesting, somewhere between a rounded pin and a diamond tail, which seems right for the era. The wings are a cool touch as well.
Stoked-n-Board’s page for Dick Brewer doesn’t have an entry for this label, which simply reads “Brewer Surfboards” (versus the more standard Dick Brewer Surfboards). It does have the famous plumeria wreath, though. More importantly, there does appear to be a genuine signature on the stringer (reach out directly to Rob, who posted this board, for a pic).
The price is steep – $1300 – but as always, ogling on Shred Sledz is free of charge. Check it out here.
Shred Sledz usually likes to celebrate more off-beat surfboards, but there are always exceptions to the rules.
This board, located in Haleiwa, Hawaii and posted on Craigslist, is a pretty standard step-up shape no doubt made in mind for the powerful surf of a North Shore winter. According to the poster, it was made for Aussie pro Yadin Nicol.
Two things are notable about this board: first of all, it has a clear Al Merrick signature on the stringer, indicating that this was shaped by the master himself.
Second, it’s listed only at $90. The deck looks like it has its fair share of pressure dings – good luck finding a board that once belonged to a pro that isn’t run into the ground – but an Al Merrick handshape that can be had for less than a Benjamin Franklin is a pretty fantastic deal. I continue to marvel at how his boards are priced, considering Merrick’s stature. My personal suspicion is that they will continue to go up in price once the world gets wise to the fact that there aren’t any more of them being made.
Here at Shred Sledz HQ, we dream of finding rad vintage boards at equally rad prices. Sadly, not everyone shares in this dream – especially the second part.
It’s a shame, because this board is super rad, but the price is a bit outrageous ($2,500!). It is a Donald Takayama surfboard shaped for Hawaiian legend Buttons Kaluhiokalani (shout out to Google auto-suggest for providing me with the spelling on his last name there), under Buttons’ short-lived label. It’s an interesting combo, as Stoked-N-Board never has Takayama as ever having shaped for Buttons, but the signature certainly looks genuine.
You can check out the board here and it can be found on Craigslist in Santa Barbara.
This marks the second time I’ve stumbled across a Ben Aipa-shaped T&C board. You can find my post on the first board here, and it looks like it was snapped up by Kristopher Tom, who runs thevintagesurfboard.com.
It does have a clear Ben Aipa signature on the stringer, and a cool old school logo. In addition, I love the addition of the signature Aipa wings on the side. This board looks to be a blend of a standard thruster design with Aipa’s infamous sting shape, which I have never seen before. The only measurement provided is 6′4″ length, and other than that, it looks to be in pretty great and unrestored condition.
Stoked-N-Board’s entry on Town & Country Surf Designs pegs this particular logo as corresponding to sometime in the 2000s. However, SNB lists Aipa as having shaped his last board for T&C in 1994. My guess would be mid-to-late 90s, but I’d love to hear from someone with more info on the matter.
The board is located in Temecula, California. The price is $1200, which is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, Aipa boards are rare, especially under the beloved T&C label, and they’re not making any more of them.
In any case, you can check out the Craigslist listing here.
As longtime Shred Sledz readers know by now, Channel Islands is a surfboard brand with a special place in my heart. Many moons ago, as a wide-eyed and bushy tailed grommet, I plunked down a fistful of dollars bills earned from an old-fashioned manual labor summer job and bought my first surfboard, an oversized Channel Islands board I still own today. Putting aside my own soft spot for nostalgia, Al Merrick is a legend and someone whose contributions to modern surfboard design cannot be overstated. If you’re in the San Diego area there’s a nice old-school Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull single fin up for grabs on Craigslist. The dimensions are listed at 6′9.5″ x 20.5″ (with nothing listed for thickness). The poster claims this board is from the 70s, which looks about right to me. Stoked-N-Board’s entry for Channel Islands surprisingly doesn’t have any info on the Tri Plane Hull single fin model, which is surprising, given that these seem to have been somewhat popular back in the day.
The million dollar question, of course, is whether or not this Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull was shaped by Al Merrick himself. My guess is no, but I can’t be sure. Merrick has been known to sign his boards with an “Al” in front of the fish icon. This board, as you can see in the pics, only has the fish. I have heard conflicting reports. My guess is this: the “Al” accompanied by the fish definitely signifies a board shaped by Merrick himself. I also believe it’s possible that boards that only boast the fish icon on the stringer could be handshapes – especially from this time period, before the brand became huge – but there’s no way to verify.
The price for the Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull is $500, which is a bit steep. Otherwise, it looks to be in decent condition, and the owner seems to be the rarest of Craigslist posters in that he has provided decent pictures of the board. There are some dings on the bottom – shout out to the black paint job for making that clear – but otherwise it looks like it’s in great shape.