Christian Fletcher for T&C Surf Designs: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! For those of you who don’t know, Sagas of Shred is a series on the blog where we run vintage surf ads. While old magazine articles are great — The Surfer’s Journal digital archive, available to subscribers, is amazing — an overlooked angle is the fact that surfing’s story often gets told in the form of ads.

The T&C Surf Designs Christian Fletcher ad featured here ran in a 1990 issue of Surfer Magazine. To me, it’s a pretty classic expression of surf culture at the time, between the tail end of the Eighties and the Momentum Generation, which would arrive a few short years later. If I’m being honest, I often struggle to describe these ads. There’s no denying the unintentional humor. But the last thing Sagas of Shred aspires to be is the douchebag hipster that hides its unpleasant contempt behind a thin veneer of so-called irony. I can genuinely say I love this ad, and not just because it features one of the most influential surfers of the late Eighties and early Nineties. I love everything about it, whether it’s the odd torn paper effects, Fletcher’s vintage T&C shirt, or the unsettling feeling that Christian Fletcher might be trying to challenge you to a staring contest.

While many elements of the ad are charmingly dated to the late Eighties and early Nineties, the same cannot be said of Fletcher’s surfing. His front hand layback gouge is every bit as radical as it was when the advertisement first ran.

I’ve written a lot of Sagas of Shred posts about Fletcher and his family over time. We have featured T&C Surf Designs in Sagas of Shred a number of times as well, whether it’s a 1982 ad featuring Dane Kealoha in some short shorts, or another entry featuring the evolution of Ben Aipa’s famous Sting design. I think we can all agree that the Christian Fletcher / T&C Surf Designs marriage is one for the ages.

Thanks again for checking out Sagas of Shred and tune in late next Thursday night for more vintage surf ads!

Christian Fletcher Surfboards by Steve Boysen

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have one of the greatest ever surfboards from the late 1980s / early 1990s: a beautiful example of a Christian Fletcher Surfboards stick shaped by Oceanside, California shaper Steve Boysen.

The board pictured above was briefly posted on Craigslist, but the seller tells me he has since traded the board. Sorry if you had your heart set on this thing! The seller, a gentleman named Mark, emailed me these pics a few days ago but I didn’t get around to posting the photos until now. Thank you for the pics, Mark, and sorry I couldn’t get this done sooner!

As you can see in the photos above, the board boasts all the details we have come to expect from Christian Fletcher Surfboards, including the signature skull logo. The board featured here has a nice little tie dye pattern airbrush towards the rails, which I haven’t seen before.

Christian Fletcher Surfboard Steve Boysen 4

The board also features some pretty pronounced double concave in the tail, which you can clearly see in the picture above. There also some sweet two-tone glass-on fins.

Christian Fletcher Surfboard Steve Boysen 6

Boysen also signed the board near the stringer, and it’s clearly dated to 1989.

Christian Fletcher Surfboard Steve Boysen 7

Given the popularity of the Christian Fletcher Surfboards label, you would think there would be more information available about the brand online. But I have yet to find a definitive history of the label. Instead, I’m forced to make do with the occasional  Christian Fletcher Surfboards example that pops up for sale every now and then. Christian Fletcher Surfboards was advertised as its own brand; but Fletcher also rode boards that boasted both Christian Fletcher Surfboards and Town & Country Surfboards laminates. Christian Fletcher Surfboards were also produced with a number of different shapers, including Peter Benjamin, Nev Hyman, Chris McElroy and Randy Sleigh. If I had to guess, I would say the most common shaper I have seen with Christian Fletcher Surfboards is Steve Boysen, whose logo is immediately recognizable.

I think these Christian Fletcher Surfboards examples are primed to show up at auctions in future years, given that these boards have a passionate following. It’s for good reason, too: beyond the logo, which is a perfect visual encapsulation of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Fletcher will always stand out as one of the sport’s most fascinating characters.

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.

Christian Fletcher

Writing these posts is usually fun and easy, but today the flood of tears is making a little harder, as I come to grips with the fact that I missed out on a pristine Christian Fletcher model on eBay.

You can see the completed auction here, and I have included the pictures on this post. I have written about the Christian Fletcher T&C signature model before. However, the more I look at this board, the more I believe that it might be the exact same one that I wrote about in this post. I’m wondering why this board – which first popped up on Vintage Surfboard Collectors – would have been sold on eBay with such minimal descriptions and no mention of the brand / pedigree etc. Seems a little odd, if you ask me.

Either way, enjoy the pics, cuz I can’t get enough of this thing!

Christian Fletcher & McElroy

Christian Fletcher may not have ever won a world title, but it’s hard to understate his impact on surf culture.

Fletcher is a fascinating character, and you’d think by now there would be some Emmy-award winning 30 for 30 documentary about his life, playing on repeat on ESPN2 during the weekdays. Fletcher is a scion of the famous Hoffman / Fletcher surf clan, born into surf royalty from day one. And after a promising start to what seemed like another standard SoCal competitive surf career, Fletcher famously rebelled against the surf industrial complex and earned fans for his unabashed punk rock brand of rebellion.

Fletcher wasn’t without his share of personal problems, too, including some well-publicized brushes with drug use. But like many counter culture icons, the hard living and the don’t give a fuck attitude had just as much to do with his popularity as his aggressive and innovative surfing.

It speaks to Fletcher’s lasting influence that a board bearing his name — in pretty poor shape, I might add — would still be going for $250+ on eBay with four days left in the auction. But then again there aren’t many surfers out there like Christian Fletcher, and this seems to be reflected in both the artwork and the price of the board.

Give it a bid here if you’re so inclined!