Greetings, Shredderz! Look, I might be on vacation (no surfing for me over the next few weeks, I’m afraid), but Sagas of Shred continues, paid time off or not. I’m away from my trusty stash of vintage Surfer magazines, so I’ll mostly be plucking some choice scans from the internet. Pictured here is a vintage Astrodeck ad featuring none other than Martin Potter AKA Pottz. Sagas of Shred has featured Potter afewtimes, mostly thanks to his work with Gotcha. The ad you see above also appears to feature the Pottz Pro Model, which was produced by Blue Hawaii, who sponsored Potter after his stint with Town & Country. And why is Pottz holding up a hand like he’s a crossing guard? Your guess is as good as mine. Confusion aside, though, this is an awesome ad featuring some of my favorite fixtures from the late Eighties / early Nineties surf scene, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Mahalo for reading and we’ll be back next Thursday evening with more vintage surf ad scans!
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s entry in Sagas of Shred — the series in which we feature a different vintage surf advertisement every Thursday night, California time — is an unexpected pairing in the form of a Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad. Even though Astrodeck inventor Herbie Fletcher originally hails from California, he has a long relationship with Hawaii, including some amazing Jet Ski adventures in pumping surf. I’m not surprised that Lopez and Fletcher crossed paths on the North Shore during the Seventies and Eighties. (In fact, I even wrote up another Eighties Astrodeck ad where Gerry can be seen lurking in the background.) That said, Gerry Lopez and Herbie Fletcher strike me as an unusual pairing. Fletcher has always possessed a brash presence and the savvy of a sharp eyed businessman. Lopez, on the other hand, is known for being calm and low key, and by all accounts he has avoided the spotlight in recent years to dedicate more time to snowboarding.
This Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad ran in the September 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 23, No 9). I’m not sure when Fletcher invented Astrodeck, though I believe it was sometime during the late Seventies. There are a few clues that tell me the Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad featured above happened earlier on in the company’s history. First, the logo is an earlier design (see here for the current version, which I believe has been around since sometime in the Eighties.) Second, if you look at the traction itself, it’s clearly an earlier design that predates the iconic traction pad we all know and love. By contrast, here’s another Eighties Astrodeck ad I wrote up before, and you can see the updated logo as well as the transition to tail pads.
I love this Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad, if for no other reason there aren’t too many examples of Lopez doing ads for non-Lightning Bolt surf brands! The same issue of Surfer Magazine also has a feature on Lopez’s experience on the set of “Conan the Barbarian”. Between this Astrodeck ad and a brief Hollywood phase, I’m guessing Lopez reached his fill of the limelight.
Thanks for reading and check back in next week for more Sagas of Shred!
A quick overview of some recent sales of Christian Fletcher Surfboards
Greetings, Shredderz! A few Christian Fletcher Surfboards were listed for sale on eBay recently, which can only mean one thing: time for another Shred Sledz post!
The first board, which can be seen directly above, mysteriously had the auction pulled. This means there’s no price data to be shared. You can see the board has classic Town & Country Surfboards laminates, but it was actually shaped by Steve Boysen. To be honest, I never understood why T&C sponsored Fletcher, only to let him simultaneously advertise Christian Fletcher Surfboards in addition to non-T&C shapers, like Boysen and Nev Hyman. Regarding the board above, it’s not in great condition, but it’s far from beat up, either. It’s a shame the original owner went with Gorilla Grip instead of Astrodeck!
The second example of a Christian Fletcher Surfboards model is still for sale on eBay. Pics above are via the listing, which you can find here. This board actually sold on eBay about a week ago. The original listing can be found here. The closing price the first time around was $650, including free shipping. My guess is the original buyer backed out, as the re-listed board has the same seller. The current price is $425, with a little over a day left in the auction. I have omitted the pictures that show where repairs have been made. In addition, there’s a considerable amount of fading on the logo on the bottom of the board. The fact a board in this kind of condition can still command $650 on eBay speaks to the collectibility of Christian Fletcher Surfboards. The board above does not have a T&C logo, and I imagine collectors prefer the classic T&C laminates of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The third and final board is a departure in the sense that it has what I believe is a more recent Christian Fletcher logo. Pic above via the listing, which you can find here. Why did they get rid of the original logo?! I hate to be the grouchy old guy reminiscing about the good old days, but to me it’s clear that the updated version is vastly inferior to the neon chaos of the classic Christian Fletcher design. Anyway, this seems to be reflected in the price: the board pictured above sold for $371 (however, it’s worth noting that shipping was $200 for the board.)
Photo credit at top of the page: photographer unknown, pic via RVCA
Greetings, Shredderz! As promised, we have another episode of Sagas of Shred, which features various bits of surf history from over the years. We have written about old Astrodeck ads before, but hey, you gotta keep drawing from the well until it’s dry! Today’s installment is an Astrodeck ad from the 1980s that features another murderer’s row of surfers. Pictured left to right: Willy Morris, Rabbit Bartholomew, Larry Bertlemann, Wes Laine, Gary Elkerton, and Chappy Jennings. The second picture has Hawaiian fixtures Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Rory Russell…because the All Star team assembled in the first one simply wasn’t enough! A lot has changed in surfing over the years, but Herbie Fletcher’s unparalleled ability to gather big name pros has not. Hope you enjoyed this post and tune in next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!
Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred, where I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of surf culture from years past. Pictured above is an Astrodeck ad that appeared in the August 1985 issue of Surfer Magazine (Volume 26, No. 8). The ad features none other than the following surfers: Rabbit Bartholomew, Larry Bertlemann, Greg Day, Gary Elkerton, Herbie Fletcher, Marvin Foster, Hans Hedemann, Michael Ho, Marty Hoffman, Jim Hogan, Vince Klyn, Buzzy Kerbox, Wes Laine, Buddy Lomas, Gerry Lopez, Barton Lynch, Tony Moniz, Willy Morris, Paul Peterson, Martin Potter, Joe Roper, and Rory Russell (whew!). That kind of list is only fitting for a product considered to be the “ultimate in competitive traction.” Bonus points if you can match the names to all the faces!
Surfing is a sport with more than its fair share of characters. And even by this standard, the combined Hoffman / Fletcher clan stands out for its per capita density of colorful personalities.
As a quick aside, while previous posts have covered various members of the extended Fletcher family, none have made mention of Dibi Fletcher (nee Hoffman). Dibi is Herbie‘s wife, and in addition to being the mother of Christian and Nathan Fletcher, both of whom are renowned pro surfers, Dibi plays a large role in running the day-to-day business of Astrodeck. Like Herbie, Dibi is descended from veritable surf royalty: her father, Walter Hoffman, was an early big wave surfer and surfwear industry pioneer, and sister Joyce was an early female pro, as well. See below for an incredible old ad Joyce Hoffman did for Triumph, of all brands.
RVCA, which has a history of collaborating with the Fletcher family, trained the latest episode of its “Inspired by…” video series on Herbie and the story behind the famed Astrodeck brand. The video coincides with the release of a new RVCA x Astrodeck collaboration. You can find more detail on the collaboration here.
And while the new RVCA project is focused on Astrodeck, the surfboard traction company that Herbie and family built into one of the original surf accessories brands, given that this is a vintage surfboard blog, we can’t let this entry go without highlighting some of Herbie’s shapes!
There’s currently a Herbie Fletcher-shaped single fin for sale on Craigslist in New Jersey, and you can find pictures of it below. Link to the Craigslist post for the board can be found here.
There are some open dings on the board that will need a bit of work to get it water tight. Click through to the listing for more details. Even though the board needs work the spray job has been beautifully preserved. I’m intrigued by the combination of a single wing pintail along with the twin fin setup, which feels unusual to me. There’s no signature on the board anywhere that I can see, but I don’t know that Herbie ever signed most of his boards.
According to Stoked-n-Board, some of Fletcher’s boards were subcontracted out to other shapes. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing whether this one was shaped by Herbie himself.
There’s an Instagram user who found an old Herbie board in Baja at a surf shop near K38. He has some clear pictures of the board, and even some footage of him surfing it! It looks like a rad 70s single fin.
You would think that there would be more information available online about Herbie’s boards, but sadly, it takes a bit of digging. If any of you eagle-eyed readers have more examples of Fletcher’s handshapes, I would love to see them!
Finally, if you want to check out the board featured above, the seller is asking $525, and you can check out the board on Craigslist here.
For most of us mortals, December signifies the arrival of the holidays. It’s time to spend time with family, watch “Home Alone” again, drink egg nog, or maybe just use the time as an excuse to do some otherwise unjustifiable amounts of online shopping.
For the surf industry, though, December is a month of pilgrimage. Surfers from around the world descend upon the North Shore of Oahu, turning the sleepy island town of Haleiwa into the pulsing center of the surf world for a few intense weeks.
One of the best known rituals of the North Shore is the annual Wave Warriors photo shoot. The Wave Warriors shoot gathers some of the best surfers in the world. The original shoot was done back in 1983, to coincide with the release of the surf movie of the same name. After a long lull, the Wave Warriors shoot was restarted again a few years ago, with the same premise of gathering the world’s best surfers for a group photo.
The Wave Warriors maestro is none other than surfing legend Herbie Fletcher. Legend can be an overused term, and I have to admit, as I write this I am getting flashes of panic thinking about times I have used this word to describe others whose impact on surfing has been a fraction of Herbie’s. Among other things, Fletcher is an artist, the creator of surf traction original Astrodeck, and father to sons Christian and Nathan, both of whom are long-time pros. (Christian’s signature boards are particularly prized at Shred Sledz HQ).
Herbie is also a surfboard shaper. As the 2016 edition of the Wave Warriors shoot is wrapping up – stay tuned for pics – I figured it would be as good a time as any to explore some of the boards that Herbie has made.
First, there is a Herbie Fletcher gun currently for sale on eBay. The board is being sold out of Japan, which explains the insane price (upwards of $3,000). Nonetheless, it’s an excellent example of a real deal Herbie Fletcher shaped board.
You can see the distinctive arrow logo, as well as the clear “Herbie Fletcher” logo in the center. I’m guessing the narrow swallowtail is likely from sometime in the 70s. You can see the original listing here as well. The listing advertises this as a “Sunset Gun”, meaning the board was designed for the big open ocean peaks of Sunset Beach, one of the North Shore’s most demanding waves. I can’t find anything that supports this, but given Fletcher’s history and the board’s design, including the unusually thick stringer, this all sounds very plausible.
I’ve seen examples of Herbie’s boards that have his name inscribed in the arrow logo, and those that are blank. First, here’s a clearer example of another Herbie Board with his name on the logo:
Apparently the board is for sale for $350 (!) and it is from 1974. The website looks like it might not have been updated in some time, but if that’s a real price then that board might be my very thoughtful gift to Mrs Shred Sledz (a la the time Homer Simpson bought Marge a bowling ball for her birthday).
Island Trader Surf posted a primo example on their blog a little while back. I’ve reproduced the picture below, and you can see there’s even a “Dana Point” visible as part of the logo, signifying the board’s place of origin:
Here’s a shot of Herbie surfing one of his own creations, and you can see his name is noticeably missing form the arrow logo:
Little known fact: The Shred Sledz Editorial Team is contractually obligated to post about any Christian Fletcher Signature Model surfboards that hit the market. Luckily for all of us, the board pictured here is currently up for sale on eBay, which you can find here.
There are no measurements listed, but let’s face it: this is the kind of purchase fueled by aesthetics, and not hydrodynamics. I love the detail on the rails. Usually, I hate seeing perfectly good vintage boards ruined by the existence of traction pads. In this case, though, it’s only fitting that a Christian Fletcher signature model would be coated in Astrodeck, the original traction pad that was invented by Herbie Fletcher, all-around surf legend and Christian’s father! In the last photo you can see Herbie, Christian, and the board posting together, which is such an awesome picture.
You can also clearly see an “R Sleigh” signature on this board. R Sleigh refers to the late Randy Sleigh, who shaped in Capistrano Beach and on the North Shore of Oahu (shout out to Stoked-n-Board for the info). Sleigh, among others, was an early shaping mentor to Matt “Mayhem” Biolos of …lost Surfboards fame.
What’s interesting to me is that the Christian Fletcher signature model seemed to have been spread across multiple brands and shapers. When I first encountered the Fletcher signature model I assumed it was specific to T&C Surfboards, but that’s not the case. Here’s an earlier Shred Sledz post about a T&C / Fletcher board that was shaped by Peter Benjamin. Here’s another Fletcher signature model, which was shaped by Chris McElroy, who apparently made boards for the 90s San Clemente guys (Matt Archbold & Fletcher), but who apparently lives in Mexico now.