Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (3/12)

I’ve written about Christian Fletcher before, and I will never, ever get sick of his old logo, which manages to be both an act of visual rebellion as well as a time capsule for the day glo SoCal surf scene of the 1980s and 1990s. This is an interesting example of a Fletcher board, as apparently it was shaped by pioneering Aussie shaper Nev Hyman, who founded what would later become Firewire Surfboards. The other Fletcher boards I’ve seen have been signed by California shapers like Randy Sleigh and Chris McElroy. This board was posted to the excellent Vintage Surfboard Collectors group on Facebook; click through the link for the rest.

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See below for link to the original post)

Via Vintage Surfboard Collectors (Note: it’s a closed group, so you’ll have to request access).

Finally, here’s a bonus shot of Fletcher — pre-tattoos! — and a McElroy shape.

Ryan Lovelace is a talented shaper based in Santa Barbara. He posted this picture below recently, which shows an early George Greenough sailboard with an edge board design. Edge boards have come into vogue lately, thanks to shapers like Marc Andreini (Andreini), Manny Caro (Mandala), and Scott Anderson (Anderson).

Speaking of neon boards from the 80s and 90s, I’ll never, ever get sick of old Channel Islands boards. This guy on Instagram posts a bunch of sweet boards, and he has a collection of vintage Merricks that makes me sick with envy. Check out his feed for more.

Longtime Donald Takayama team rider and collaborator Joel Tudor posted this old Takayama ad.

 

 

Shred Sledz Presents: Thursday Grab Bag

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a collection of some rad boards that have popped up on the radar lately. Today’s post has a heavy 80s flavor to it, so if you’ve got a thing for neon, stick around and start scrolling.

Stussy Shortboard on Craigslist (San Diego)

If you don’t have a soft spot for 80s Stussy surfboards, then this is NOT the blog for you. This one has a bunch of sun damage, and the $1K price is steep, for sure, but these boards simply aren’t that easy to come by. This one has some rad artwork, and a very clear hand signature you can see in the picture above. I’d be very curious to see what this board ends up going for.

Schroff Blaster on eBay (Texas)

The 80s parade continues! This board is in excellent condition. Part of the reason why it has held its color so well is that it was apparently sprayed white. The poster claims this is one of the first 700 boards Peter Schroff shaped. I’m curious about that, given that Schroff used a standard script logo before the black and white grid logo seen above. In any case, it’s a beautiful board, and while bidding is low (<$70 now), I think you’ll see this one climb by the time the auction ends in four days.

Channel Islands / Al Merrick Tri-Plane Hull Quad Fin on Craigslist (Houston)

This one is SO close to being an exemplary collectors board. First of all, you can see that it is an Al Merrick handshape – check the clear “Al / Fish” combo signature on the listing. It also has such great logos and branding, like the “Channel Islands” script running down both rails, and then a nice “Quad Design” logo on the bottom. But you can also see where repairs were made to the board, and the nose looks blunted as a result. It’s not necessarily a terrible deal at $200, either, but man, this could have been added to the Shred Sledz Signature Collection with just a few tweaks.

Takayama Funshape Thruster on Craigslist (San Diego)

This is kind of a funky Takayama board. I’m not sure what model it is, exactly, which is part of the mystery. And check out the logo on the bottom, which is not one you see every day. If you click through to the listing you can see that it has DT’s signature in pencil on the blank itself, meaning it’s not one of the newer boards where his signature has just been stamped on. Board is listed at $890.

Ke11y & Al

Now, I realize that 2004 might not be everyone’s idea of vintage. And you know what? That’s totally fine, because I happen to be the guy in charge of this very blog (mostly because no one else wanted the job, but I digress).

Still though, when it comes to Kelly’s personal boards, especially those that were hand shaped by legendary shaper Al Merrick, the Shred Sledz editorial staff is more than willing to bend the rules a little bit.

Pictured here is a 7′2″ Al Merrick board that was ostensibly shaped for Kelly, which you can currently find for sale on Craigslist in Hawaii.

Everything seems to match up. First, the K logo clearly indicates the board above is a Kelly Slater model that was produced during much of his time with the Channel Islands brand. While the K Board was released to surf shops as a signature model, towards the end of Kelly’s stint with CI, he simply applied the logo to a variety of designs. Here’s a shot of Kelly’s quiver from the 2011 Hawaii season, via the Channel Islands blog, that shows the K logo on a wide range of boards:

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Photo via Channel Islands Surfboards Blog

The other interesting thing about the board pictured in the first set of photos is the fact that it has a thruster setup. Nowadays, Kelly’s boards, like those of most pros, sport a five fin setup that allows toggling between a standard thruster fin configuration, and then a quad fin config for when the waves get bigger and more critical. Here’s a shot from 2014, towards the end of Kelly’s tenure with CI, that shows a five fin setup (though note the K logo is gone):

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Photo via Channel Islands Surfboards Blog

The tri fin setup indicates that the board in the first set of pictures is an older one. There’s a date on the stringer that says 2004, which sounds about right, given that the five fin configuration didn’t become popular until a few years afterwards.

Speaking of the signature, you can see Al’s trademark Al / fish signature, as well as the name Kelly written into it. This makes me all but certain this is a board Al shaped himself for Kelly. See below for an example of another Al / fish signature. It follows the same format as the pic in the set at the top of the page.

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Example of another Al Merrick signature

Finally, the interesting thing is that this board, given its location and its size, was probably crafted as a step up for Kelly’s winter months in Hawaii. It seems practically outdated now, given that Kelly routinely surfs sub 6′ boards at macking Pipeline. Here’s a picture of Kelly about to paddle out at the 2016 Pipe Masters with one of his new Slater Designs boards. You can see Kelly’s 2016 board is well short of 7′2″. One of the biggest innovations in surf craft in recent years has been the downsizing of equipment in serious conditions. Leading the charge, of course, is none other than the shiny headed G.O.A.T.

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Photo courtesy Firewire Surfboards Blog

For some more eye candy, here are three shots of Kelly, taken over the span of almost 25 years (!!!), that show how his equipment at Pipeline has evolved over the years:

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Top photo via Jeff Divine; Middle photo via Bielmann; Bottom photo via Red Bull

Nowadays, of course, Kelly is working on Slater Designs, his own line of boards produced in conjunction with the good folks at Firewire Surfboards. Slater Designs offers some cutting edge, high performance shapes that were created via collaboration with high profile shapers like Daniel Thomson and Greg Webber.

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Photo by Sherman, via Surfing Magazine (RIP)

For many of us, however, Kelly and Channel Islands / Al Merrick will forever be an enduring combination. And the board that’s being offered for sale, at a steep $2,000 dollars, might just be a collector’s item one day. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can’t imagine there are that many genuine Merrick boards shaped for Kelly that will be up for grabs. Kelly is the greatest surfer ever – and the most influential – and one could make that same argument about Al Merrick and shaping as well. So it’s interesting to wonder if boards that represent this pairing will only become more valuable and meaningful over time.

You can find the board here.

Al Merrick Personal Rider

I continue to be amazed at the availability and price of genuine Al Merrick hand shaped boards on Craigslist. They’ll routinely pop up every few weeks or so with little to no fanfare.

Part of me wants to scream from the rafters: people, this is Al Merrick we are talking about! The man shaped boards for Shaun Tomson, Tom Curren and Kelly Slater, just to name a few! And he hasn’t really been shaping them since, either.

This board, which is available on Craigslist in Santa Barbara, was purportedly one of Al’s own personal riders. It looks like it’s still in great condition, though you’d have to strip off the wax to really get a good look.

The real feature here is the signature on the stringer. You can see this is a genuine Al Merrick shape because of the way he signs “Al”, with the “l” in his name transitioning into the fish shape. There are many Channel Islands boards that have a fish on the stringer, but you want the ones that have the clear “Al” written.

Otherwise, I love the subtle neon colors and the old school script logo on the nose. These Channel Islands boards are my absolute favorite, and it’s an added bonus that this one was apparently owned by Al himself!

Oh, and the best part…this thing is only $300! Granted, you’re going to want to check out the board and make sure the condition is as good as promised, but either way, if this is truly a board Al shaped, that makes it a pretty attractive collector’s item. I can’t help but think that prices on these Merricks are going to skyrocket within the next few years.

Check out the board on Craigslist here.

Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull

As longtime Shred Sledz readers know by now, Channel Islands is a surfboard brand with a special place in my heart. Many moons ago, as a wide-eyed and bushy tailed grommet, I plunked down a fistful of dollars bills earned from an old-fashioned manual labor summer job and bought my first surfboard, an oversized Channel Islands board I still own today. Putting aside my own soft spot for nostalgia, Al Merrick is a legend and someone whose contributions to modern surfboard design cannot be overstated. If you’re in the San Diego area there’s a nice old-school Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull single fin up for grabs on Craigslist. The dimensions are listed at 6′9.5″ x 20.5″ (with nothing listed for thickness). The poster claims this board is from the 70s, which looks about right to me. Stoked-N-Board’s entry for Channel Islands surprisingly doesn’t have any info on the Tri Plane Hull single fin model, which is surprising, given that these seem to have been somewhat popular back in the day.

The million dollar question, of course, is whether or not this Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull was shaped by Al Merrick himself. My guess is no, but I can’t be sure. Merrick has been known to sign his boards with an “Al” in front of the fish icon. This board, as you can see in the pics, only has the fish. I have heard conflicting reports. My guess is this: the “Al” accompanied by the fish definitely signifies a board shaped by Merrick himself. I also believe it’s possible that boards that only boast the fish icon on the stringer could be handshapes – especially from this time period, before the brand became huge – but there’s no way to verify.

The price for the Channel Islands Tri Plane Hull is $500, which is a bit steep. Otherwise, it looks to be in decent condition, and the owner seems to be the rarest of Craigslist posters in that he has provided decent pictures of the board. There are some dings on the bottom – shout out to the black paint job for making that clear – but otherwise it looks like it’s in great shape.

Check out the board here.

Classic Combo: Channel Islands Tom Curren Model

Is there a more perfect pairing than Tom Curren and Al Merrick? (And while I am flattered by all the suggestions from faithful readers that yours truly and Gisele Bundchen would also make a fantastic combo, I’d like to reiterate that Mrs. Shred Sledz vehemently disagrees.) Pictured here is a beautiful Channel Islands Tom Curren Model.

Curren and Merrick both hail from the Santa Barbara area. Curren, of course, is one of the most celebrated surfers ever. While he has a tidy three world titles to his name, Curren’s popularity has more to do with his unhurried, smooth style, which is still mentioned as the gold standard for regularfoots. His mystique doesn’t hurt, either, as Curren has been content to disappear from pro surfing’s SoCal / Hawaii bubble and chase down mysto waves on obscure equipment.

Likewise, Merrick is one of the most distinguished shapers in surf history. He has made boards for just about every big name California pro you could think of, and during Kelly Slater’s run in the 90s and the 2000s, Merrick was responsible for putting boards under his feet. Unsurprisingly, Merrick’s Channel Islands brand became a behemoth (it’s now owned by Burton Snowboards), and it continues to boast a roster of top pros, although it seems like the shaping torch has been passed to his son, Britt Merrick.

What we have here, via Craigslist in the SF Bay Area, is a Channel Islands Tom Curren signature model. It doesn’t look like an Al Merrick handshape – boards that Al personally shaped have his signature on the stringer, along with the fish logo, like this one – but based on the “Max” signature on the stringer, and this Swaylocks thread, I’d wager this board is shaped by Max McDonald. (Max doesn’t show up as a shaper on Stoked-n-Board’s page for Channel Islands, but the explanation in the Swaylocks thread makes a lot of sense to me.)

I’d guess the Channel Islands Tom Curren model featured here is from sometime in the mid- to late-80s, maybe even the 90s. There are a few dings here and there, but overall it looks like it’s entirely original and in pretty good shape. There might be some damage on one of the glass-on fins, which is worth checking out in further detail. I gotta say I absolutely love the logos, even though it’s a bit overboard and excessive. The first board Shred Sledz’s Editor-in-Chief ever bought was a Channel Islands step-up, as a wide-eyed 16 year old grommet, and the brand has remained near and dear to my heart ever since.

Best of all this board is only going for $250. I remain stunned at how cheap you can get vintage Channel Islands boards – even Merrick handshapes – nowadays. I can’t imagine these boards will remain affordable for long, especially since Al doesn’t seem to shape anymore, even for his team riders. I think this is such a rad board at a phenomenal price.

Check out the Channel Islands Tom Curren Model for sale here.

Channel Islands Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull

 

For sale on eBay is a vintage Channel Islands single fin. This one is presumably shaped by Al Merrick, though it doesn’t seem to have his signature anywhere on it. This one isn’t all original, though apparently restorations were done by Joe Roper down in San Diego, who is probably at the top of the list of people you would want working on a board like this. It’s not super expensive – buy it now price is $600 – but that’s far from a steal, too. I can’t help but think that hand-shaped Merricks are eventually going to shoot up in value, given what an iconic brand Channel Islands is (and the fact that Al doesn’t seem to be making them anymore!) Anyway, check out the board here if you’re interested.