Weekend Grab Bag: Donald Takayama Scorpion & More

Greetings, Shredderz! By now you should know the drill: it’s the latest edition of the Weekend Grab Bag, where I spotlight some great boards I have seen listed for sale. As always, all of the postings are live as of the time the blog post was published. Onto the fresh batch of vintage sticks, beginning with a Donald Takayama Scorpion in clean condition.

Donald Takayama Scorpion (Craigslist San Diego)

Donald Takayama Scorpion.jpg

The Donald Takayama Scorpion just might be one of the most famous models from Takayama’s long and distinguished shaping career. The vast majority of Takayama Scorpions I have seen are the epoxy versions, which were obviously not hand shaped by DT. (For what it’s worth, I borrowed a friend’s epoxy Donald Takayama egg once and absolutely loved it.) The Scorpion featured above is 7’4″ x 22″ x 2 7/8″ and the seller is asking $800. Takayama himself signed the board in pencil on the stringer. I have also heard that some of these later-era DT boards were shaped with the assistance of a shaping machine. I would guess this board is late 90s to early 2000s, given the FCS fin boxes for the side bites. Either way I think this is a nice price for a very cool board.

Vintage Skip Frye Fish (Craigslist San Diego)

Vintage Skip Frye Fish 6'6" .jpg

The seller claims this vintage Skip Frye fish hasn’t been surfed in at least twenty years. As for an exact date, I’m hard pressed to tell you anything. I want to say most Skip Frye fish I see have wooden Gephart keels, but this example has fiberglass ones. Here’s what the seller has to say about the fins: “This board has great fins a modified Keel fin template by JB that is less deep then (sic) a normal keel and rides more loose in the water.” I don’t know who JB is, but I dig the vintage-ish date of the board. It’s 6’6″ long and looks super fun, and the posting has some great pics of the owner surfing it, too. Seller is asking $2,500, which is not cheap, but I have yet to see a bargain on a Skip Frye shape.

90s Hobie Phil Edwards Longboard (Craigslist Orange County)

You can click on any of the photos above to enlarge. I have written up the Hobie Phil Edwards Model a few times, and it remains one of the most classic nose riders ever made. The board you see above was shaped by Phil Edwards, but it’s not a Hobie Phil Edwards Model. For starters, the seller claims the board was shaped in 1995. It also has some interesting details that make it very different from the classic 60s Hobie Phil Edwards Model, such as a triple stringer setup, a wider center stringer, and a different logo. At some point during the 80s or 90s, Hobie also reissued the Phil Edwards Model (with the help of Stewart Surfboards, I believe), that had an imitation foil logo on it, as well as a different outline from the board you see above. So then what exactly is the board above? I’m not sure — it may have even been a custom. The seller refers to it as a Classic Model, but I have never seen that mentioned anywhere. As always, if you have any clues, let me know!

Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker (Craigslist Los Angeles)

Last but not least we have another creation from the mind of Tom Morey, who remains one of surfing’s foremost mad scientists. One of the coolest features found in the Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker model is the psychedelic graphic design of the Slipcheck patterns. The McTavish Tracker was designed by Australian shaper Bob McTavish, and it remains one of the standout shapes of the Transition Era. According to surfresearch.com.au, the Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker was created during a trip McTavish took to visit George Greenough in Santa Barbara, and the rest is history. I actually wrote up an earlier Morey Pope McTavish Tracker here. The earlier post features another example of the board and links to some resources with some history behind the groundbreaking shape.

Happy Birthday Herbie Fletcher: Social Media Roundup

Greetings, Shredderz! As 2018 comes to a close I figured I put together one last Social Media Roundup for the year. Even better, it was Herbie Fletcher’s birthday yesterday, which conveniently provides a theme for this post. Check out the photo above of Herbie launching a Jet Ski with an awesome Pottz airbrush design. (Eagle eyed readers may remember that Herbie featured prominently in the last Roundup, but there can’t be too much of a good thing, right?) For anyone who’s read this blog in 2018, I can’t thank you enough. I hope you enjoyed reading Shred Sledz, and more importantly, I hope 2019 has even better vintage surfboard goods for you to enjoy. Now onto the fun stuff…

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Happy 70th Birthday @herbiefletcher Pic bolster

A post shared by Joel_tudor (@joeljitsu) on

Joel Tudor posted this photo of Herbie, which was taken by famed photog Warren Bolster. If you do a bit of digging in the comments, it turns out that this photo was the basis for the Herbie Fletcher Surfboards logo. Dig a comparison shot below.

Herbie Fletcher Logo.jpeg
Close up of the Herbie Fletcher Surfboards logo. You can clearly see the design is based off the Warren Bolster photo featured in Joel Tudor’s Instagram post above.

 

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Here’s a Greg Liddle inspired 7’10 x 21 x 3.25 displacement hull type surfboard that I hand-shaped  last week designed for North Shore surf. 5 years before I left California for Hawaii, I consistently surfed Malibu in the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall months as my favorite surf spot in California. One of my very favorite surfer’s to watch and surf with there at that time, was Greg Liddle, who was also a board builder and absolutely ripped first and second point on his Displacement Hull creations at Malibu along with his sander, Steve Crieski. When I see the “stubs” that are currently popular, and that many surfers are riding now, I can only think back 50 years ago to Greg and his long lasting influence on my surfing and shaping journey.  For those interested in Hull Displacement ideas, Greg can be reached at his website: gregliddledesigns.com

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Here’s two different singlefin flex keels from the 1973 era, that I still have from my South Bay influences from Jeff Ho @therealjeffho These fins were so dynamic, they made the boards we were riding and testing much faster and looser. They were thin and made from solid weave fiberglass. They also had curved bandsaw cuts in them to extenuate flex, and sometimes you could turn them so hard, that pieces would break off the fin during the turn!! Heres @therealjeffho and I together at Bob Milner’s (Robert’s Surfboards) memorial back in February 24,2018. In my opinion: in 1971-74, Jeff was way ahead of the curve over everyone else in advancing board design in our California South Bay area. What I remembered most then was Jeff innovating swallow tails, with flat decks and tucked edge rails, along with progressive flex keel fins.

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Pat Rawson continues to be one of my favorite follows on Instagram. For the longest time I associated Pat with high performance boards made to tackle serious Hawaiian surf, like the sled that enabled Tom Carroll’s infamous under the lip snap at Pipeline. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Rawson spent time surfing Malibu and overlapped with Greg Liddle, during which time Rawson developed an affinity for Greg’s famous displacement hulls. But that’s not all — Rawson’s time in Los Angeles also overlapped with Jeff Ho, the mind behind Zephyr Surfboards.

This is a stunning Morey Pope / Bob McTavish tracker. I love the groovy rainbow slip check on the deck. Transition Era designs don’t get much more classic than this one.

Last but not least Bird’s Surf Shed has a beautiful Natural Progression twin fin with a Bertlemann-esque airbrush on the deck. Love the double logo on this thing.

 

Photo at the top of the page by Denjiro Sato, and originally found via Zak Noyle.

Morey-Pope: A Study in Contrasts

Morey-Pope is a brand I have written about a few times before, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. Morey Pope occupies a funky little corner of surf history. Co-founder Tom Morey, who apparently now goes by the Prince-esque name “Y”, might be one of the most innovative and interesting people in the history of surfing, having invented the bodyboard and Slipcheck traction, among others.

Anyway, right now there are two neat Morey-Pope boards for sale, neither of which is priced in the stratosphere. Both boards aren’t perfect by any means, but the Shred Sledz motto might as well be “it never hurts to look.”

The first board can be found on the excellent Instagram account Red Dot Goods. They are first rate purveyors of various pieces of surf nostalgia, including some rad boards. They have a Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel model up for sale, which you can see in the pic below. $750 doesn’t sound insane, but as always the usual caveats apply — check to see if there are any soft spots / delams, any dings, etc.

I’m unclear on whether or not the Sopwith Camel model is one and the same as the regular Camel. For example, see below for a picture of an old Morey-Pope ad that clearly refers to a Camel model, with no mention of Sopwith. You’ll also see that the Camel logo is nowhere to be found on the board in the pic below. I’ll save you the Googling, if you’re curious — apparently the Sopwith Camel was a British biplane in World War I.

Here’s another example of an excellent Sopwith Camel, from surfboard collector galore Buggs, who runs Surfboardline.com (currently down, please tell me this is just a temporary hiccup!)

And here’s another example of a Sopwith Camel that I was able to find on Photobucket.

Morey-Pope Camel Surfboard
Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel Surfboard

 

The second board that is for sale is a Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker, which can be found on Craigslist in the Monterey Bay area. The board looks like it has been well used and frequently repaired over the years. It’s being offered at $500, which I think is reflective of its condition (and apparently there are more repairs that still need to be made).

These are two cool Transition Era designs from a couple of legendary surfboard builders — including, of course, Australian shaper Bob McTavish’s influence on the Tracker! Hope you enjoyed this comparison of two cool boards from a storied surfboard brand of yesteryear.

Tracking Bob McTavish

This thing is in far from great condition, but at the risk of overusing this phrase, it is a cool piece of surfboard history.

Aussie shaper Bob McTavish claims to have shaped the first ever shortboard in California history in early 1968. Here is an excellent article / interview in Liquid Salt Magazine that details the history of a surfboard whose behind the scenes creation story reads like a who’s who of surfing. Earlier in the season on Hawaii’s North Shore, McTavish had taken one of Gerry Lopez’s boards and cut it down from 9′6″ to 8′6″. He then took some feedback from Dick Brewer, and during a stay at George Greenough’s house while surfing nearby Rincon, McTavish shaped a board that helped usher in the shortboard revolution. That board – known as the Rincon Tracker – later went for sale at a Randy Rarick auction. McTavish wrote a blog post about this board which you can read here.

Photo Credit: Liquid Salt

Shortly afterwards, McTavish struck a deal with Morey-Pope to make a shortboard model named the Tracker. You can see an example here, which I found on Craigslist in San Diego. The board isn’t in fantastic condition, but it is water tight, and the current price is $200.

According to Stoked-n-Board, McTavish actually shaped some of these boards as well, from 1968 to 1970. The Tracker model was produced from 1968 to 1972, which suggests that there are Trackers made that weren’t necessarily McTavish handshapes.

I did some more internet sleuthing and found an entire Picas album for the board when it went for sale a few years back. This reveals that a fin was glassed onto the W.A.V.E. Set fin box, which is an unfortunate bit of aftermarket modification.

If you want more information on McTavish, I can’t recommend Surf Research enough. Their entry on McTavish has some great pictures of his older boards, as he has shaped for many labels other than Morey-Pope. Surf Research has a great example here of a tracker shape that McTavish made for Aussie label Keyo.

This board isn’t perfect by any stretch, but if you’re interested, check it out here.

Bob McTavish Bluebird Single Fin

Check out this Bob McTavish Bluebird single fin, for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. McTavish is one of the most influential shapers in Australian surf history, and the Bluebird logo is one of his signatures.

I’m having a hard time placing the exact year of the board, and a bunch of the details don’t seem to match up with what limited resources I can find online. Board Collector shared a picture of a McTavish Bluebird with a similar logo (if you zoom in you can see the “Bluebird by McTavish” text here). The board on Board Collector apparently went on eBay for a little over $3K.

This board is in great condition – suspiciously so. I would say judging from the outline that the shape is reminiscent of something in the 70s, and Stoked-n-Board has a very similar logo as dating from 1972 to 1983. However, in the Stoked-n-Board example (Figure 45 in this link), you’ll notice it says “Shaped and Designed by McTavish”, versus the “Bluebird by McTavish” on this Craigslist board.

The signature looks about right, but again, Stoked-n-Board doesn’t have any exact matches. (This board simply says “by McTavish”). I’m not an expert so take it all with a grain of salt, but it looks about right. If I had to guess, I would say this is a more modern reproduction (albeit a genuine McTavish handshape) of a classic design. A few years ago, McTavish shaped some reproductions of the famous Bluebird design at Deus Ex Machina’s shaping room in Bali. You can see pics of those boards here, though they are very different from what is being shown on this Craigslist link. If anyone has other info, feel free to chime in!

The board is going for $975 on Craigslist. You can see it here.

Andreini via McTavish

It’s a day ending in ‘y’, so it must be time to celebrate the legend that is Marc Andreini at Shred Sledz HQ. I came across this sweet-looking vehicle, which can be found on Craigslist in Los Angeles.

The poster describes it as a “McVee” shape, which I have never seen before from Andreini. I’m guessing the name is a portmanteau that refers to the vee bottom of the board, famously invented by Aussie shaper Bob McTavish during the shortboard revolution. The dims are 8’8″ x 22.75″ x 3″, and I imagine this thing has got a ton of paddling power. I’ve always wanted to try one of these vee bottom boards to see how they turn, and I guess I’ll just have to wait my chance.

$850 takes the board (poster claims it has only been surfed twice, and it certainly looks shiny in all the pics). Find it here.