Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a board that comes courtesy of another reader. Shout out to Dan for sharing the stoke of this incredible Chuck Vinson shape (you can check him out on Instagram here). I’ve written about Chuck Vinson before. The earlier post I wrote featured a Vinson-shaped single fin that was produced under his own name. Vinson also produced boards for Lightning Bolt during its heyday of the mid-1970s, when Bolt was not just the most famous surfboard label in the world, but the surfboard brand, period. Dan had this Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt single fin shaped for him during the 1970s. Apparently Dan had Vinson shape him three boards, and this one remains.
As you can see, Dan’s Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt has all the classic lines you would expect of a 70s single fin crafted to tackle powerful Hawaiian surf. Sadly, Lightning Bolt’s well-documented struggles with intellectual property meant that their signature logo was copied throughout the decade, but the board pictured above is the real deal.
By far my favorite detail about the Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt is the glass on fin, which is partially made out of wood.
Wooden fins seem to have fallen out of favor recently — I’m not sure why, as you’ll still see the occasional glass on fiberglass examples — but it’s not for a lack of aesthetics!
I have actually seen another example of a Vinson board with a similar wooden fin. The example below was taken from a board Vinson made under the Santa Cruz label.
Many thanks to Dan for sharing the photos of his incredible Chuck Vinson Lightning Bolt single fin. RIP to Mr Vinson, who sadly passed away last year. Thank you for reading, and if you have any other Chuck Vinson boards you’d like to share, please do get in touch.
Vintage Chuck Vinson Surfboards 1970s single fin
Greetings, Shredderz! As the holiday weekend fades into the rearview, here’s a hit of vintage surfboard goodness to help ease the transition back into the real world. The focus of today’s post is a bit of Santa Cruz surf history: a vintage Chuck Vinson Surfboards single fin, reportedly shaped in 1973. One of the things that makes writing this blog enjoyable — besides the fame and the money, of course — is the opportunity to shine a light on underground shapers; board builders whose influence outstrips their visibility. Chuck Vinson certainly fits the bill. A Google search for Vinson’s boards doesn’t yield much, save for a testimonial from Shred Sledz favorite Marc Andreini, via the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center. In the post, Andreini gives some great context on the time Vinson spent shaping for Lightning Bolt during the brand’s heyday in the 1970s. The SHACC link also has a great picture of a Vinson-shaped Bolt.
The board pictured here is a 7’3″ Chuck Vinson Surfboards single fin, and it is for sale on Craigslist in Santa Cruz, California. You can find the board here. Don’t be fooled by the typo in the listing — this is most certainly a Vinson-shaped board. The Vinson board was also listed for sale a little while back on the Vintage Surfboard Collectors Facebook group. Pics below are via the Craigslist posting.
The listing claims that the pin lines on the board were done by Laura Noe. I can only assume this is the wife of Rick Noe, another old-school Santa Cruz legend. Rick’s son Buck continues to shape boards for the Noe Surfboards brand today. On an earlier Instagram post, Buck mentioned how his Mom had designed the initial Steamer Lane Surfboards logo.
Sadly, Chuck Vinson passed away earlier this year. Just this past weekend Chuck was honored with a paddle out in Santa Cruz. RIP Mr Vinson, and thank you for your wonderful surfboards.