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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Greetings, Shredderz! Apologies for the slowdown in posting frequency. Shred Sledz is back with a vengeance, though, featuring a Skip FryeGordon & 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:
Here’s another example of a Skip Frye / Gordon & Smith logo, which does not have the bowtie at all.
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.