Christian Fletcher Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Alright, Shredderz: 2018 is a serious year, and we’re not holding back. Yeah, that’s right: first Sagas of Shred entry in the new year means a full-page advertisement for perhaps the single greatest cult surfboard brand of the 1980s: Christian Fletcher Surfboards.

Christian Fletcher is still revered as one of the most influential surfers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Along with brother Nathan Fletcher, Christian was tabbed as a scion of surfing’s first family, the infamous Hoffman-Fletcher clan. Fletcher, however, ran from the cheerful conformity of the Orange County pro surfing scene, thanks to the surf establishment’s open hostility towards Fletcher’s aerial-heavy surfing. Sadly, Fletcher’s rebellious nature didn’t stop just at pro surfing contests, and he has openly struggled with substance abuse throughout his career. Then again, we don’t require rebels to be perfect — we simply ask that they be interesting, and Christian Fletcher is nothing if not a fascinating figure. As always, Matt Warshaw and the peerless Encyclopedia of Surfing have summed up Fletcher’s career far better than I ever could, and I urge you to subscribe to EoS if you haven’t yet. One interesting thing to note is Warshaw mentions that Christian Fletcher Surfboards was founded in 1991. However, the Christian Fletcher Surfboards ad pictured above was definitely taken from a 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine. I’m not sure how long the Christian Fletcher Surfboards brand lasted, but these boards are extremely coveted today.

It’s also interesting to note that Fletcher had high-profile sponsorships with other surfboard brands; most notably Town & Country / T&C Surf Designs. I’ve never understood how Fletcher managed to start his own brand while simultaneously riding for T&C. He also rode for a couple of other famous Orange County shapers, such as Randy Sleigh, Chris McElroy and Steve Boysen, though I’m not sure if they were considered proper sponsors.

At the end of the day, though, much of the enduring appeal of Christian Fletcher Surfboards has to do with the man himself and that incredible logo. You’ll often see the Christian Fletcher Surfboards logo in full color, but I happen to love the starkness of the black and white version here. The graphic is a perfect summary of Fletcher as a person and a surfer — radical and impossible to ignore.

As always, tune in next Thursday for another installment of Sagas of Shred!

Christian Fletcher Surfboards Price Check

A quick overview of some recent sales of Christian Fletcher Surfboards

Greetings, Shredderz! A few Christian Fletcher Surfboards were listed for sale on eBay recently, which can only mean one thing: time for another Shred Sledz post!

The first board, which can be seen directly above, mysteriously had the auction pulled. This means there’s no price data to be shared. You can see the board has classic Town & Country Surfboards laminates, but it was actually shaped by Steve Boysen. To be honest, I never understood why T&C sponsored Fletcher, only to let him simultaneously advertise Christian Fletcher Surfboards in addition to non-T&C shapers, like Boysen and Nev Hyman. Regarding the board above, it’s not in great condition, but it’s far from beat up, either. It’s a shame the original owner went with Gorilla Grip instead of Astrodeck!

The second example of a Christian Fletcher Surfboards model is still for sale on eBay. Pics above are via the listing, which you can find here. This board actually sold on eBay about a week ago. The original listing can be found here. The closing price the first time around was $650, including free shipping. My guess is the original buyer backed out, as the re-listed board has the same seller. The current price is $425, with a little over a day left in the auction. I have omitted the pictures that show where repairs have been made. In addition, there’s a considerable amount of fading on the logo on the bottom of the board. The fact a board in this kind of condition can still command $650 on eBay speaks to the collectibility of Christian Fletcher Surfboards. The board above does not have a T&C logo, and I imagine collectors prefer the classic T&C laminates of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Christian Fletcher Alt Logo.jpg

The third and final board is a departure in the sense that it has what I believe is a more recent Christian Fletcher logo. Pic above via the listing, which you can find here. Why did they get rid of the original logo?! I hate to be the grouchy old guy reminiscing about the good old days, but to me it’s clear that the updated version is vastly inferior to the neon chaos of the classic Christian Fletcher design. Anyway, this seems to be reflected in the price: the board pictured above sold for $371 (however, it’s worth noting that shipping was $200 for the board.)

Photo credit at top of the page: photographer unknown, pic via RVCA

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (July 26)

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a sampling of some of the finest surfboard pictures recently found on the world wide web…

As I’ve written before, Lightning Bolt’s notoriety in the 1970s was a double-edged sword. The label’s popularity meant the signature bolt design was slapped on boards that had nothing to do with its Hawaiian bloodlines. Pictured above is a nice selection of genuine articles, via the Australian National Surfing Museum.

 

Yup, another classic piece of Hawaiian surf history, this time presented by the Lost & Found Collection. L&FC came about when its founder discovered boxes of pristine surf photography slides from the 1970s at a flea market. It has since blossomed into a wonderful project that supports surf photographers and the history of surfing. I highly recommend checking out the site and following them on Instagram, too. Pictured above is Larry Bertlemann alongside one of his signature Pepsi surfboards. Dying to know who the shaper might be…if anyone has more info, drop me a line!

 

If you object to the above post on the grounds that it’s not vintage enough, then I’d like to politely refer you to Andy Irons’ gesture in the photo. Happy belated birthday to The Champ, the only surfer to take on Slater during his prime and win.

 

Finally, I figured we’d throw our Aussie friends a little bone. Pictured above is Wayne Lynch with the first ever surfboard he shaped! It’s great to see a close up photo of this board, and one in color. For more on Lynch’s early boards, check out this earlier post, which is still one of the pieces of which I am proudest.

 

Early 1960's #consurfboards #🐖 #singlefinlog

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Just a beautiful 1960s Con Surfboards log in lovely condition. Check out that D Fin! Love the color of the stringer…I love everything about this board, really.

Astrodeck: A Fletcher Family Production

Surfing is a sport with more than its fair share of characters. And even by this standard, the combined Hoffman / Fletcher clan stands out for its per capita density of colorful personalities.

As a quick aside, while previous posts have covered various members of the extended Fletcher family, none have made mention of Dibi Fletcher (nee Hoffman). Dibi is Herbie‘s wife, and in addition to being the mother of Christian and Nathan Fletcher, both of whom are renowned pro surfers, Dibi plays a large role in running the day-to-day business of Astrodeck. Like Herbie, Dibi is descended from veritable surf royalty: her father, Walter Hoffman, was an early big wave surfer and surfwear industry pioneer, and sister Joyce was an early female pro, as well. See below for an incredible old ad Joyce Hoffman did for Triumph, of all brands.

RVCA, which has a history of collaborating with the Fletcher family, trained the latest episode of its “Inspired by…” video series on Herbie and the story behind the famed Astrodeck brand. The video coincides with the release of a new RVCA x Astrodeck collaboration. You can find more detail on the collaboration here.

And while the new RVCA project is focused on Astrodeck, the surfboard traction company that Herbie and family built into one of the original surf accessories brands, given that this is a vintage surfboard blog, we can’t let this entry go without highlighting some of Herbie’s shapes!

There’s currently a Herbie Fletcher-shaped single fin for sale on Craigslist in New Jersey, and you can find pictures of it below. Link to the Craigslist post for the board can be found here.

There are some open dings on the board that will need a bit of work to get it water tight. Click through to the listing for more details. Even though the board needs work the spray job has been beautifully preserved. I’m intrigued by the combination of a single wing pintail along with the twin fin setup, which feels unusual to me. There’s no signature on the board anywhere that I can see, but I don’t know that Herbie ever signed most of his boards.

According to Stoked-n-Board, some of Fletcher’s boards were subcontracted out to other shapes. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing whether this one was shaped by Herbie himself.

There’s an Instagram user who found an old Herbie board in Baja at a surf shop near K38. He has some clear pictures of the board, and even some footage of him surfing it! It looks like a rad 70s single fin.

#SwamisLove @nolanpowerphotography

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You would think that there would be more information available online about Herbie’s boards, but sadly, it takes a bit of digging. If any of you eagle-eyed readers have more examples of Fletcher’s handshapes, I would love to see them!

Finally, if you want to check out the board featured above, the seller is asking $525, and you can check out the board on Craigslist here.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 30)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you are all having fantastic weekends. Without any further ado, here’s a selection of social media posts that have recently caught my eye.

Christian Fletcher’s signature model is the coolest. Raddest. Most-shredding-est. Choose whatever superlative you prefer; I just can’t get enough of these things.

Hit the “Continue Reading” link below for some more vintage surfboard goodness…

Continue reading “Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 30)”

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.

DT at stone steps riding a scorpion 1969 @surfboardsbydonaldtakayama

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Christian Fletcher and Randy Sleigh

Little known fact: The Shred Sledz Editorial Team is contractually obligated to post about any Christian Fletcher Signature Model surfboards that hit the market. Luckily for all of us, the board pictured here is currently up for sale on eBay, which you can find here.

There are no measurements listed, but let’s face it: this is the kind of purchase fueled by aesthetics, and not hydrodynamics. I love the detail on the rails. Usually, I hate seeing perfectly good vintage boards ruined by the existence of traction pads. In this case, though, it’s only fitting that a Christian Fletcher signature model would be coated in Astrodeck, the original traction pad that was invented by Herbie Fletcher, all-around surf legend and Christian’s father! In the last photo you can see Herbie, Christian, and the board posting together, which is such an awesome picture.

You can also clearly see an “R Sleigh” signature on this board. R Sleigh refers to the late Randy Sleigh, who shaped in Capistrano Beach and on the North Shore of Oahu (shout out to Stoked-n-Board for the info). Sleigh, among others, was an early shaping mentor to Matt “Mayhem” Biolos of …lost Surfboards fame.

What’s interesting to me is that the Christian Fletcher signature model seemed to have been spread across multiple brands and shapers. When I first encountered the Fletcher signature model I assumed it was specific to T&C Surfboards, but that’s not the case. Here’s an earlier Shred Sledz post about a T&C / Fletcher board that was shaped by Peter Benjamin. Here’s another Fletcher signature model, which was shaped by Chris McElroy, who apparently made boards for the 90s San Clemente guys (Matt Archbold & Fletcher), but who apparently lives in Mexico now.

You can check out the eBay listing here.