Greetings, Shredderz! As always, it is late on Thursday evening, California time, which can only mean an incoming post about a vintage surf ad, courtesy of Sagas of Shred. This time around we have another tried and true classic: a Tom Curren Channel Islands Surfboards ad congratulating him on his third world title.
What’s interesting about this ad is the fact is the line about Tom Curren surfing his way to a title on “a laser generated Al Merrick shape.” I’m wondering if this isn’t a reference to an early version of a shaping machine. While Channel Islands employed a number of ghost shapers for years to meet demand, it would later become one of the largest surfboard manufacturers in the world, thanks to the use of shaping machines. I can’t say for sure whether this Tom Curren Channel Islands ad is specifically referencing that shift, but either way, it’s an interesting mention.
A few years back Surfline published a post wishing Curren a happy fiftieth birthday, and it contained the Art Brewer photo you see above. I’m almost certain this is the same board from the Tom Curren Channel Islands ad featured at the top of the page. You’ll notice the same Marui singlet, and I can only guess this came from the Pipe Masters during 1990. I’m not sure what advantages one gets from riding a “laser generated” surfboard, but it seems to work good enough for one of the greatest surfers ever at the sport’s single most iconic spot.
As always, thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred, and stop on by next Thursday evening for yet another vintage surf ad.
Greetings, Shredderz! Look, I know we’re all thinking it, so I’ll just come out and say it: I think I may have been a little tough on Rip Curl in last week’s Sagas of Shred entry. Did the Aussie surf brand misspell the name of a certified surf legend? Yeah, there’s no way around that one. And did Rip Curl also take perhaps the most stylish regular foot of all time and try and pass him off as a goofy? Sadly, that one is also pretty cut and dried. But enough about Rip Curl’s missteps. Let’s focus on the positive, shall we? For all the fine folks that have surfed under Rip Curl’s banner, even the biggest Mick Fanning fan would agree that there was something special about Wayne Lynch’s stint as a team rider. And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this union than by running this scan of a Wayne Lynch Rip Curl ad from 1983.
First, both Wayne Lynch and Rip Curl are native to Victoria, Australia. While best known as the home of Bells Beach, Victoria also has a reputation as a cold water paradise with a variety of mysto spots tucked away along its coastline. Likewise, for all of Wayne Lynch’s competitive success during pro surfing’s earliest days, his reputation is who preferred surfing in solitude in his home state over surfing’s rat race.
The Encyclopedia of Surfing points out that for all of Lynch’s suspicions about surfing’s commercialization, it was the surf media and surfwear companies — namely, Rip Curl — that made him famous, and presumably helped finance his solo excursions up and down the Victoria coast. But when I see the Wayne Lynch Rip Curl ad above, I can’t help but think Rip Curl found the perfect embodiment of their brand.
Maybe there’s something cynical — even hypocritical, if you want to be harsh — about monetizing the image of a so-called soul surfer. But I have no such objections. I figure if you’re in the wetsuit business, what better way to move product than by enlisting the man who personifies a unique brand of cold water wanderlust? (Side note: I can’t help but think that O’Neill is blowing it by not doing something similar with Timmy Reyes.) I love the Wayne Lynch Rip Curl ad featured here because it says something about Lynch and his surfing, and it speaks to the sense of adventure that has so much to do with surfing’s appeal.
As always, thanks for checking out this installment of Sagas of Shred, and check back in next Thursday night for more. And if you’ve made it this far, please do check out this post I wrote on Wayne Lynch’s early surfboards, which remains one of my all-time favorite posts I have written on this humble little blog.
An in-depth overview of the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model surfboard produced during the Transition Era of the late 1960s
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post is Part II of our exploration of one of surfing’s most influential but still somehow underground surfboard labels: Rick Surfboards. If you missed Part I, which covers Rick noseriders and pre-Transition Era models, please check it out here. The initial version of the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model, produced starting in 1966, was a noserider. Rick Surfboards BK Model longboards continue to command high prices; one recently sold at the California Gold vintage surf auction for $2,450.
In 1967, with the Transition Era underway, Rick Surfboards released a shorter surfboard made for the steep, challenging conditions of Hawaii’s North Shore, and, of course, its namesake’s radical surfing. The end result was the Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail model.
The canvas for Kanaiaupuni’s new equipment — I’ve seen his Transition Era boards referred to as both pocket rockets and mini-guns — was big wave spot Sunset Beach. Barry K’s exploits at Sunset resulted in some iconic surf photographs, including shots from famed photographers Art Brewer and Jeff Divine.
Barry Kanaiaupuni’s Early Shaping Days
From what I can tell, the longboard version of the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model was produced only during 1966 and 1967. I believe sometime in 1967 Rick Surfboards began producing the Pintail version of the BK Model. Stoked-n-Board claims the BK Pintail was produced until 1982. I find this unlikely for two reasons. First, just about every BK Pintail I have seen has a distinct Transition Era outline, which would have been outdated for the 1970s, much less the early 1980s. Second, Barry Kanaiaupuni started shaping for other brands during the early 1970s.
The Encyclopedia of Surfing tells us Kanaiaupuni began his shaping career at Rick Surfboards, followed by stints at Country Surfboards, Surf Line Hawaii, and then Lightning Bolt. This sequence makes me think Rick Surfboards ceased production on the BK Pintail well before 1982. There are many examples of boards shaped by Kanaiaupuni for other brands well before 1982: Surfboard Hoard has a Chuck Dent brand shaped by BK dated to 1969; I have seen a BK Surf Line Hawaii board dated to 1971; and Surfing Cowboys has a Lightning Bolt BK board supposedly made in 1972. Based on this evidence, I believe the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model was produced from 1967 until the early 1970s, at the latest.
Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail: Gun
Pictured above is an unusual example of the Rick Surfboards BK Pintail. Although dimensions for the board are not listed on the post, you can see the board has a traditional big wave gun shape. Compare this to all the examples below, which are shorter and have fuller noses paired with long, drawn out pintails. Nor is the pintail gun above a noserider, a la the board featured in the first post. The logo is interesting, too. It is the only example I have seen that reads “Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail.” All the other versions in this post read either “Barry Kanaiaupuni Model” or “Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail.” The board has been fully restored by Randy Rarick. The restoration makes me think it’s possible the logo is not all-original. See below for a pic comparing the length of the board to a Hobie Dick Brewer Model. I couldn’t find dimensions for the gun, but it looks considerably longer than all the other BK Pintails featured in this post.
Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model: 7’1″, 1967, Serial No. 442 (Non-Pintail Logo)
Pictured above is another Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail oddity. Pics are via the USVSA. As you can see, the board is clearly a Pintail version of the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model. However, it does not have a Pintail logo. The Rick Surfboards laminate is in the original font, too. Note the board is numbered #442 on the stringer; more on this later.
Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail (Various)
This section focuses on “standard” versions of the Rick Surfboards BK Pintail. I define these boards as follows: they possess a Transition Era outline, with a full nose and dramatic, pulled-in pintail; and the logos bear the updated Rick Surfboards font and the “Pintail” text (versus boards that simply read “Barry Kanaiaupuni Model”).
A number of the standard Rick BK Pintails have been sold at auction recently. The picture above is from a board that sold at the Vintage Surf Auction in 2015. The Rick BK Pintail above is dated to 1967, and it has the serial #368. No dimensions are listed for #368. One thing that throws me for a loop is the ordering of the serial numbers. #442, the board with the blue fin that appeared earlier in the post, does not have the updated font on the Rick Surfboards logo, nor does it have the Pintail text. The numbering indicates #442 was made after #368, but the logo suggests otherwise.
Buggs, the proprietor of Surfboardline.com, has a number of awesome Rick BK Pintails, which he has featured on his website and Instagram. The board above appears on Surfboardline.com. No serial number is listed for what I’ll call “Buggs’ Board.” I think it’s very possible Buggs’ Board and #368 are one and the same, but I can’t be sure without seeing pictures of the fin on #368. Buggs’ Board is all-original and it measures in at 8′ x 22″ x 2-1/2″, compared to #442, which comes in at 7’1″.
Pictured above is a 1967 Rick BK Pintail with an era-appropriate acid splash paint job. The board was sold at a USVSA event close to ten years ago. Pics are via the auction listing, which you can find here. The Acid Splash board measures in at 7’10”. Other than the rad airbrush, it looks quite similar to the other Rick BK Pintails listed above, from the silhouette down to the W.A.V.E. Set fin box.
Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail with Glass-On Fin
The board above comes courtesy of French surfboard site Surf-Longboard.com, and it is currently being offered for sale at €1,000. You can find a link to the board here. The French Board measures in at 7’4″. It has a very similar outline and length to the other Rick BK Pintails posted above.
The thing that stands out about the French Board is its glass-on fin. This is the only example I have seen without a W.A.V.E. Set fin box. The French Board also has some nice pin lines, reminiscent to #442.
There are a few Instagram posts that show off the details of the tail on the French Board. I assume this is true of the other Rick BK Pintails as well, but it’s difficult to say without any close-up pics.
Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail with Signature
The yellow board shown above is the only Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model I have seen that looks like it was signed by BK himself. The board was previously posted for sale on SurfnHula.com. You can find the link here. I don’t know whether or not this is a genuine BK signature. I have seen a variety of boards signed by BK, and his signature seems to vary.
Like the gun at the top of the post, the Triple Stringer board has two additional stringers. It’s interesting the note the Triple Stringer board has been labeled a “Pocket Rocket.” The Triple Stringer’s dimensions are 7’9″ x 20-1/2″, putting it line with the other standard Rick BK Pintails featured here.
There you have it — every single Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail I have ever laid eyes on. I’m still bursting with questions: did BK shape all of these, or did Rick Surfboards use a ghost shaper? (I’m leaning towards the latter). What were the exact years during which the Rick BK Pintails were produced? How to explain the varying lengths of the boards — were they offered in different pre-set sizes? And, perhaps most importantly, are these boards every bit as cool as they look? As always, if you have any additional information or pics about the wonderful Rick Barry Kanaiaupuni Model, please give me a shout!
Check out the earlier post in the Rick Surfboards Deep Dive series here. Coming soon is Part III, in which we will delve into the beautiful single fins Rick Surfboards produced during the 1970s.
Photo Credit at the top of the page: Barry Kanaiaupuni surfing Sunset Beach, 1969. Photo by the peerless Art Brewer.
Greetings, Shredderz! First, let’s ignore the fact that I spend my Friday nights combing through Craigslist in search of great vintage surfboards. Instead, I’d like to focus on the positives. Tonight’s silver lining is nothing other than a great example of a vintage Herbie Fletcher surfboard that is currently being listed for sale.
Pictured above is a Herbie Fletcher surfboard with a squared off-nose. This board is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. You can find a link to the listing here. The board measures in at 8’6″ and it is being offered for $1,000. I don’t have any historical prices on Fletcher surfboards. With that said, it’s difficult to find Herbie’s shapes for sale online. I was able to find two other Herbie Fletcher surfboards that are currently for sale. First is what looks like an old 1970s single fin for sale on eBay, which is listed at $2,450. Second is another 1970s single fin, this one with a winged swallow tail setup, which is listed on Craigslist for $3,200. I don’t view any of these prices as definitive, but I figured it’s helpful to have comparisons. I’d also like to point out that both of the single fins for sale have been up for grabs for a while now, which indicates that these prices are probably on the higher side.
I’m not sure when the yellow Craigslist board was made. In the Art Brewer image at the top of the post, which Herbie also shared to his Instagram, Herbie describes the board as a 7’11” shape that was made in 1976. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give much insight as to when the yellow board was shaped.
As you can see, I embedded a few posts from both Herbie and Dibi Fletcher’s Instagram accounts. I highly recommend giving both a follow. Herbie was also recently honored by the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association, and I recommend reading his wife Dibi’s tribute to him here.
Finally, here’s the link to the Herbie Fletcher surfboard for sale on Craigslist, which you can find here.