La Jolla Surf Systems: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday again, which means we’re serving up some red hot scans of old surf ads as part of the Sagas of Shred series. Today we’ve got an unlikely all star cast in an ad for La Jolla Surf Systems. The ad originally appeared in the February 1983 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 24, No 2). I assume La Jolla Surf Systems was an old San Diego surf shop, but that’s about all I know. What’s really interesting is the collection of shapers featured in the ad (and one notable craftsman who apparently didn’t make it to the shoot on time). The ad features the late Bill Caster, whose boards are still coveted among a selection of San Diego locals; Gary McNabb, of Nectar Surfboards fame; Tim Bessell, who is still shaping today; Eric “Bird” Huffman, founder of Bird’s Surf Shed; and of course, a young Shawn Stussy. If you look closely at the bottom right of the ad you’ll see a gorgeous-looking Stussy twin fin with purple rails and some wings in the tail. I’m a little intrigued by Stussy’s inclusion, as I believe he is the only non-San Diego local in the names listd above. While the ad mentions that La Jolla Surf Systems has Skip Frye boards in stock, if you look below Bird’s photo you’ll see “Skip Frye — gone fishing.” To me this suggests Skip was originally supposed to take part in the shoot, but that’s just a guess. Thirty six plus years after the ad was shot, I can’t even imagine the sheer luxury of walking into a surf shop and seeing a bunch of Skips on the racks, to say nothing of the Stussy boards! If you read this blog you know that my bread and butter is poking fun at the ridiculousness of Eighties art direction, but I’m still too starstruck by all the shapers in the ad to come up with anything halfway decent.

Mahalo for reading and don’t be afraid to come back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!

Social Media Roundup: June Gloom

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here are some primo vintage surfboard pickins from your favorite social media outlets.

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Twin fin Stussday.

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Pop quiz, hotshot: what has six fins, incredible artwork, and more color than a bag of Skittles? Well, that would be the three Shawn Stussy shaped twin fins you see pictured above. These are some truly top notch examples of Stussy’s infamous Eighties shapes. You can check out another Eighties Stussy twinny I wrote up here. I believe the one in the middle is an earlier board, judging by its logo. What I wouldn’t do for one of these bad boys!

Is there such a thing as too much Shawn Stussy? I don’t know, and I’m not the right person to ask. Bird of Bird’s Surf Shed (glad to see they got their Instagram back!) recently posted this absolutely gorgeous Stussy / Russell Surfboards gun. It’s not the only Stussy / Russell shape in Bird’s ridiculous quiver, either! If you see me with tears running down my cheeks and a far off look in my eyes, it probably means that I remembered the profound beauty of the matching leash loop and glass on fin and was overcome with emotion. Excuse me in advance.

I love how this shot elegantly illustrates surfboard progression over the years. The board on the far left is actually an early John Bradbury Creative Freedom shape from the late Sixties. It’s very cool to see the S decks on the Transition Era boards gradually flatten into more recognizable rockers. It’s also interesting to see the rare and coveted Yater Hawaii laminate on a thruster. I had always assumed that those appeared only on older boards, but the fin setup means it had to have been shaped in the Eighties at the earliest. I’m partial to the racy looking yellow board that’s second from right.

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6’11” single diamond for @danedamus

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In theory Shred Sledz is a vintage surfboard blog, but we also reserve the right to feature any shapes, modern or otherwise. Tyler Warren shaped this heat seeking missile for Dane Gudauskas, and I’m dying to see where it gets surfed. Massive Cloudbreak, I hope? This board reminds me a bit of the neat HaydenShapes single fin that Craig Anderson recently took through its paces. The Gudauskas brothers are do gooders in and out of the water, the latter via their Positive Warriors Foundation.

Photo at the top via Natterjacks; photographer unknown (let me know if you have any clues!)

Clipz: January 2019

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s a rainy day here in Northern California, so I figured what better way to spend some time than with some quality surfboard related videos. See below for a selection.

I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: Bird’s Surf Shed is the Mecca! If you ever find yourself in San Diego, make sure you pay a visit to witness one of the most epic stashes of vintage surfboards you will ever see in your life. In this latest installment of Surfer’s excellent Shed Sessions series, Bird pulls down some real gems off the shelves, including a rad little Steve Lis twin fin fish. I actually snapped a pic of the same Lis fish when I visited the shed; you can see the pic (alongside a Skip Frye fish) at the top of the page.

Newport Beach’s Daydream Surf Shop has begun to produce a video series and podcast entitled “Case Study”, and their very first episode features none other than the esteemed Marc Andreini. Check out the video above and you can find the podcast here.

I recently wrote a Sagas of Shred post featuring an old Mike Eaton Surfboards brochure featuring his various models. See above for the first part of three of a series of interviews done with Eaton.

Not vintage, just fun: witness Mason Ho putting a series of impossibly small Matt Biolos / …Lost Surfboards Round Nose Fish models through their paces in pumping Hawaiian surf. For all my love of awesome airbrushes and cool laminates, at the end of the day, surfboards are all about function, and this video is a great reminder of that fact.

Shed Sessions: Newport Beach Edition

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post features Bird Huffman, owner of the legendary’s Bird’s Surf Shed down in San Diego. If you haven’t paid pilgrimage to the Shed yet, you should. The Shed is stocked full of an incredible array of vintage boards and staff members are personable and knowledgeable.

Bird has also been hosting a great series for Surfer Magazine titled “Shed Sessions.” Each Session takes a crew of surfers from a certain area and then hooks them up with some vintage boards, all of which have a historical connection to the featured location, and films the results. The most recent Shed Session features some Newport Beach rippers taking a couple of Orange County gems through their paces.

There’s a beautiful Dyno sting — shout out to Bird for the proper nomenclature — that looks really fun in the small but hollow beachbreak testing grounds. The next board is a Robert August swallowtail single fin, which looks very similar to a board I wrote about recently.

The star of the show, though, is a Shawn Stussy-shaped Russell Surfboards single fin. As longtime readers may know, I love Stussy’s boards in general. It’s hard to argue with a classic Eighties Stussy thruster, but I may love the Russell single fins from the Seventies just as much. For one, they aren’t as common.

Russell Shawn Stussy Logo.png
Close up of the logo of the Russell / Stussy board featured in the Shed Sessions video. Like Bird, I have never seen this combo before.

I love this Russell Surfboards Stussy shape because you can see the beginnings of what would go on to become one of the most famous streetwear brands ever. In the photo above, which is a screengrab from the video, you can see an early version of the Stussy logo. As Bird mentions in the video, I have never seen another Russell board with a Stussy logo. I have seen other Russell boards that were signed by Stussy, and I have also seen Stussy boards with early versions of the logo that pre-date the famous script, but the combo above is unusual.

Surfer Magazine has produced a bunch of Shed Sessions episodes, and I urge you to check out the entire run. It’s a great series featuring some beautiful old boards paired with great surfing and even some history, too.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (June 12): Yater Hull and More

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a collection of some of the coolest boards I’ve seen floating around online as of late, including an awesome Yater hull.

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@Yater

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How cool is this thing?! Yater was the subject of my most recent post, but I might like the board above even more. I can’t be for sure, but it looks to have a bit of a vee bottom. The outline of this Yater hull is very reminiscent of some Liddle and Andreini hulls (specifically, Andreini’s Vaquero model.) The fin — both its rake and its placement — reminds me of Liddle’s boards.

Hull aficionado Kirk Putnam has an excellent pic on his blog that traces the lineage of Andreini and Liddle’s shapes back to George Greenough. I’ve added the picture below. Liddle’s board is at top, and the next two are Andreini Vaqueros. The fourth board from the top is a Surfboards Hawaii vee bottom shaped by John Price, and the board at the bottom is a Midget Farrelly stringerless vee bottom with a Greenough logo. I had been aware of Greenough’s influence on Andreini and Liddle, but had no idea that Yater had tried out some of these shapes as well. Andreini has made no secret of his admiration of Yater, and it’s cool to see a shape that combines the Greenough school of displacement hulls, and Yater’s more traditional side of California board building. If you have pictures of another Yater hull, please drop me a line!

Kirk Putnam Hulls: Yater Hull
A partial shot of Kirk Putnam’s quiver. Pic via kp’s round up

For more on the subject, I urge you to check out Putnam’s blog. If you’re prone to quiver jealousy, though, his Instagram feed might push you over the edge!

 

Lopez’s boards for Lightning Bolt are by far the most collectible, but it seems like there’s a growing interest in some of his more obscure shapes. Pictured above is an extra clean example of Lopez’s signature model that he produced for Hansen in the late 1960s. What’s interesting about that board is that it actually featured two different logos. There’s an example of a different Hansen / Lopez board that was recently sold on eBay. It has the alternate logo, which I have reproduced below.

Hansen Gerry Lopez Logo Shred Sledz
Note the different logos in the two Hansen / Lopez boards. The first one says “By Gerry Lopez”, and the second has “Designed By Gerry Lopez.” In addition, you’ll notice the Hansen logos themselves are very different. Pic via eBay

 

Bird Huffman is a San Diego fixture. He runs Bird’s Surf Shed, where he oversees an ungodly stash of vintage boards. Here Bird has come across two awesome early examples of boards from two separate San Diego craftsmen: Skip Frye and Steve Lis. Make sure you click through all the pictures in the gallery above. The Frye is very similar to the Select Surf Shop single fin I posted about recently, down to the glassed on wooden fin. I love the Frye wings logo towards the tail — never seen that placement before.

Skip Frye 1970s Select Surf Shop Single Fin 6'10"12.jpg
Skip Frye Single Fin with Select Surf Shop laminate. Look at the sharp wings in the tail. Pic via Craigslist

The Lis board is a funky shape, given that it’s a wing pin single fin, and Lis is best known for his fish designs. Make sure you follow Bird on Instagram, as he has been posting updates on the Lis board as he gets them!

 

Skip Frye Gordon & Smith: Seventies Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Apologies for the slowdown in posting frequency. Shred Sledz is back with a vengeance, though, featuring a Skip Frye Gordon & Smith single fin for sale in central California, available on Craigslist. You can find a link to the board here. Pics of the board can be found below (photos taken via the Craigslist post).

Check out the listing for some details on the origins of the board. The seller contacted Bird Huffman, surfboard aficionado extraordinaire and owner of San Diego’s Bird’s Surf Shed, and got some more info. Bird estimates the single fin pictured above likely dates to sometime between 1973 and 1973, and it was possibly shaped for team rider Steve McCullum. Bird also mentions the diamond tail as being unusual for a Frye design, and speculates that it could have been made at the request of Gary Keating or Tim Lynch. It should also be noted the board is a project, and it would require some more work to get it ship shape, hence the relatively modest $450 price tag.

I also find it interesting that the Gordon & Smith laminate on the board above is the classic red and black version of G&S’ famed bowtie logo. All the Frye / G&S boards from the 1960s I have seen feature monochrome black & white Gordon & Smith bowtie logos, like this one below:

Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Model 1967 9'81
1967 Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Model. Board was sold via US Vintage Surf Auction (pic from USVSA listing).

Here’s another example of a Skip Frye / Gordon & Smith logo, which does not have the bowtie at all.

Skip Frye Model for Gordon & Smith Logo
Non-bowtie Skip Frye / Gordon & Smith logo. Pic via Holy Smoke

Anyway, I don’t know if the red bowtie version is a rare logo; but it is one I have never personally seen before. As always, if you have more info, please chime in below!

Finally, here’s a bonus shot of Skip Frye from 1966 toting an interesting-looking Gordon & Smith shape. To the left is none other than Mike Hynson. Pic courtesy excellent New York surf shop Pilgrim Surf + Supply.