Greetings, Shredderz! In honor of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, today we have an ad from a defunct surfboards label that, had it been founded in today’s day and age, surely would have been sued into oblivion. The vintage Olympic Surfboards ad posted above dates back to 1963, before the IOC transformed into a litigation machine that just so happened to put on a sporting event every couple of years. It’s also fitting that surfing will be featured as an Olympic sport for the first time ever in 2020. And as an American, I’m starting to become concerned that the hometown squad isn’t matching the Aussies’ very public push for gold.
During its brief existence, Olympic Surfboards was way more than just a way to capitalize on a popular trademark. According to Stoked-n-Board, Olympic Surfboards was based out of San Diego, and the brand existed from 1962 to 1968.
Mike Diffenderfer, whom you can see pictured in the ad, is still remembered as one of the greatest shapers in surf history. Bill Caster was another standout shaper, who sadly passed away in 1985. Caster’s boards are still prized among a segment of San Diego surfers. Surfy Surfy has spoken at length about Caster’s shapes, and if you go to the amazing Bird’s Surf Shed, you’ll see many of Bill Caster’s boards lining the well-stocked ceilings.
Phil Castagnola founded San Diego-based Select Surf Shop (which employed a young Bird Huffman), and was also known for amassing a collection of vintage surfboards. One of the sickest boards I have ever written about is this incredible Skip Frye single fin shaped for Select Surf Shop, which I still kick myself for not buying on the spot.
I couldn’t find any info about Bill David, Lonnie Woods, and Larry Woods, however. I’m guessing they were San Diego surf fixtures once upon a time, but my Googling didn’t turn up any interesting info. If you know more about these gentlemen, please do let me know!
As always, thanks for reading Sagas of Shred. We’ll be back next week with some more surf history.