Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the best part of your Thursday: another blast from the past, courtesy of Shred Sledz’s “Sagas of Shred” series. Today we’re featuring a vintage Con Surfboards ad that originally ran in the Dec / January 1963 issue of Surfer Magazine (Volume 4, Number 6). Con Surfboards, of course, is a Shred Sledz favorite, thanks to the timeless design of the logo and the brand’s Southern California pedigree.
The interesting thing about this vintage Con Surfboards ad is the team lineup. To be honest, I didn’t recognize a lot of these names at first glance. I can’t find any information on Jim Joto. Tak Kawahara helped pioneer surfing in his ancestral Japan, for which he earned the title as the “Father of Japanese Surfing.” Later on Kawahara founded CHP and helped distribute Town & Country Surfboards on the West Coast, according to this Swaylocks thread. Ernie Tanaka became a well-known shaper in his own right, and later helped put out some Paul Strauch signature models. Bill Cleary sadly passed away in 2002; but before then he made a career as a well-known surf journalist. I could only find references to Gary and Roy Seaman in random discussion threads online. From what I understand, the Seaman brothers were early Con Surfboards shapers. Finally, Corny Cole became a well-known animator, even winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film!
There also happens to be a vintage Con Surfboards Competition Model that is currently on sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. You can find a link to the board here. It hurts me to post this one. In an ideal world, the board would be the newest member of the Shred Sledz Signature Collection. Sadly, blogging about vintage sticks — yes, even Con Competition surfboards — isn’t quite as lucrative as I had been led to believe!
The poster claims the board is all original, and it is in lovely condition. There are a few tiny dings here and there, and the seller hopefully provided close-up pictures of the areas that do need a little attention. The board measures in at 9’4″ x 22″ x ~3″ and the asking price is $1500. The price seems quite fair, and I have seen similar vintage Con Surfboards models go for similar prices before.
There are a few different variants of Con Competition surfboards, including the Wing Nose, about which I wrote an earlier post here. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to the design elements that differentiate the standard Competition Model from the Wing Nose. (Also note that the Con Surfboards Competition Wing Nose was produced in East Coast and West Coast versions.) However, all of the Competition Wing Nose models I have seen also have a small Wing Nose laminate on the bottom of the board. This is true of the earlier post I wrote, not to mention another Con Competition Wing Nose Model that appeared on a Swaylocks thread.
The other interesting detail is the fin on the board. Once again I refer you to the Swaylocks thread I mentioned earlier. The fin exists somewhere between being a glass-on fin and a swappable fin box design. Some (and perhaps all, I’m not sure) Con Competition surfboards made during the 1960s featured fins that were fitted into routed boxes on the stringer, and then glassed over without completely covering the fin.
You can check out the Con Surfboards Competition Model for sale on Craigslist here.
According to the Craigslist posting, this board was made in 1972. It’s a beautiful example of a 70s David Nuuhiwa (pictured above on the left) surfboard, and it even comes complete with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin. The seller claims the board is all original, with the exception of a few small repairs. The asking price is $800.
The board above is a trip. It looks to me like a late 1960s Transition Era board, but there is very little information provided with the listing. I haven’t seen many The Greek boards that have sold, but the price (starting bid of $2,700) strikes me as extremely ambitious. There are some very cool details, though: check out the huge logo on the deck, and click through the link for shots of a very trippy fin. I hesitate to call this authentic or make any definitive statements about the board, but I recommend taking a peek at the listing.
Personally, I prefer boards that are as original as possible, even if that means putting up with some discoloration or spots. The board above is a Mike Diffenderfer thruster likely shaped sometime in the 1980s, and restored since then. It measures 6’8″ and the seller is asking $800 for the board. I would say Diff’s most collectible boards were made during the 1970s, but overall his shapes are difficult to find.
For more background on the Con Surfboards CC Rider, please check out the earlier Shred Sledz Deep Dive on the subject. There’s another vintage CC Rider for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. What’s interesting about the board above is that it looks like the dual high-density stringers are not tapered, unlike the other examples I have seen. It’s worth noting the board was also re-glassed at some point, so it is not all-original. The CC Rider above measures in at 9’4″ and the seller is asking $1175.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s Deep Dive focuses on perhaps my favorite old-school surfboard brand ever: Con Surfboards. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the Con Surfboards logo is a gorgeous piece of graphic design. It’s classy and timeless, with just the right amount of color to make it pop. Today’s post examines a model that is near and dear to my own East Coast roots: the Con Surfboards CC Rider. The CC Rider is named after famed East Coast surfer Claude Codgen. Before one Robert Kelly Slater came along, Codgen was Cocoa Beach’s most famous surfing export who became a well-known pro in the 1960s. In 1966, Codgen had the honor of representing the East Coast at the World Surfing Championship held in San Diego. That same year, Codgen joined forces with Con Surfboards, which released his signature CC Rider model.
Despite Con Surfboards’ status as a cult classic brand, and Codgen’s legacy as one of the first true East Coast pros, there isn’t a whole lot of information online about the Con Surfboards CC Rider model. This post is an attempt to explore the history of the CC Rider, and present pictures of the various iterations of Claude Codgen’s signature model. This post is by no means definitive, as I have done my best to cobble together the various bits of information available online. As always, if anyone has any better info on the Con Surfboards CC Rider, do not hesitate to drop me a line.
Con Surfboards CC Rider
The CC Rider was produced starting in 1966. I believe it was only produced for a handful of years, as Stoked-n-Board indicates that Sunshine Surfboards, Codgen’s own brand, was founded in 1970. Sunshine continues to produce the CC Rider model, and Codgen is still shaping today.
According to a thread on Swaylocks, Bill Shrosbree was one of the early shapers responsible for making many of the early Con Surfboards CC Rider boards. I’m not sure whether or not this is true. Even though Codgen now shapes boards under the Sunshine label, I am under the impression that he was not responsible for shaping the various CC Rider models.
See below for an example of what I believe to be the most basic version of the Con Surfboards CC Rider. These pictures are via a Craigslist listing for a board from a few months ago.
Classic black laminate with Codgen’s signature
CC Rider is located on the far left
Look closely at the fin box, with the screw that is parallel to the board, located towards the back. Not sure what design this is. Drop me a line if you have more info!
Note the telltale black label on the board’s deck. Here’s another picture of a similar board, via the Long Island Surfing Museum, featuring Charlie Bunger’s personal collection of 1960s Con Surfboards. The board on the far right looks almost identical to the one posted above: same black label on the deck, and then the tapered yellow high-density foam stringer.
At some point it appears Con Surfboards expanded its CC Rider portfolio, and released a bunch of variants. Here is an old Con Surfboards ad detailing the different CC Rider variants.
Con Surfboards CC Rider Lightweight
The main distinction between the standard CC Rider and the Lightweight variant is unclear, other than the different text that appears on the laminates. In other words, I believe the CC Rider Lightweight model has a “Lightweight Model” added to the logo, which you can see in the first picture. I imagine the construction of the board was likely changed as well, but I can’t say for sure. Otherwise, the high-density foam stringer looks the same as the standard CC Rider, and the board appears to have the same volan patch as seen in the example in the ad above. Pics via an old Craigslist posting.
Con Surfboards CC Rider V-Wedge Bottom
Vee bottom boards were very popular in the late 1960s, and to my surprise, I learned that Con Surfboards produced one as well. I love the branding of this board, including the hand flashing the peace sign in the ad above. The only example I have found of a CC Rider V-Wedge Bottom comes via ChubbySurf.com and their Pinterest account. This is a pretty rare variant, and I have yet to see one up for sale. Check out the neat rainbow CC Rider logo on the bottom. No dimensions were listed.
Con Surfboards CC Rider Pintail Lightweight
I have been able to find two versions of what I believe are CC Pintails, but there are a few details worth noting. First, neither of these boards bears a straight up “CC Pintail” laminate. The laminates on both boards read “CC Rider Lightweight.” I consider both of these boards CC Pintails, however, because their silhouettes are identical to the “CC Pintail” pictured in the ad above.
First is an CC Pintail Lightweight that was recently listed for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. This board is a trip, starting with the two-tone high-density tapered stringer. The board was listed at 9’10”, and according to the seller, it’s circa 1968.
Island Trader Surf Shop is a rad Florida-based shop that features a great collection of vintage boards. They have an example of another Con Surfboards CC Rider Pintail Lightweight, and you can find it here. I have reproduced some of the pics below. It also has the same two-tone high-density stringer, black pinline design, and logo placement. In addition to boasting an elaborate fabric inlay, the Island Trader board is considerably shorter than the orange board, measuring in at only 8’6″.
Con Surfboards CC Rider Minipin Lightweight
Finally, Con Surfboards also produced as CC Rider Minipin. This variant does not appear in the ad above, alongside the Lightweight, the V-Wedge Bottom, and the Pintail. I am guessing it is a later board — late 1960s? –but I’m not certain. There are three examples I have seen, the first being a 7’6″ CC Minipin Lightweight with a blue (probably re-done) bottom. This board was posted for sale on eBay a little while ago. According to the original listing, the board was produced in 1969, supporting the theory that this is a later-era CC Rider model. It certainly has the funky outline of a Transition Era board from the late 1960s, with the wide point pushed pretty far back towards the tail.
There’s another CC Minipin Lightweight that is currently for sale on eBay. You can find a link to the board here. This one measures in at 8’6″, a full foot longer than the blue bottom example above. There’s also a small difference in laminates: this board has one logo reading “CC Minipin Lightweight”, whereas the blue bottom board has its CC Minipin and Lightweight laminates located on separate parts of the board. The example below also has a bitchin’ Con Surfboards logo on the bottom near the nose (see last photo). Pics below via the eBay listing.
Finally, there is another Swaylocks thread with an extremely clean example of a CC Minipin, complete with its original fin. I have reproduced the pictures below. In the thread, well-regarded shaper Bill Thrailkill weighs in on the board. He identifies the fin as being a rare first generation Fins Unlimited fin, and based on this, he estimates the CC Minipin below was likely shaped in late 1967 or 1968.
According to Bill Thrailkill, this is a rare example of a first generation Fins Unlimited fin box and fin.
Classic transition era outline. Love the volan patch and the subtle Con Surfboards logo
Those are all the examples of Con Surfboards CC Rider models that I have been able to find. Drop Claude Codgen a line at the Sunshine Surfboards Facebook Page; it seems like he is still stoked on surfing and shaping a good half century after his signature model was released!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve got a soft spot for Con Surfboards. The logo is so clean and simple. And while it clearly harkens back to an earlier time, it looks modern and appealing today. It’s just a great — and under-appreciated — bit of graphic design. Pictured above is a flawless looking Con longboard that you can currently find for sale on eBay (link here). According to the buyer, the board dates to 1963 and 1964. Apparently the board has been stored inside for most of its life, hence the spectacular, all-original condition. There are no bro discounts to be had here: the seller is asking $1200 to start. There are no bids as of now, with a little over nine days left in the auction.
I wish I had some better information to share regarding the date of the board, but alas, there isn’t much to be found. Various features of the board point to this hailing from the 1960s, starting with the dramatic rake of the fin and its placement towards the back of the board.
I’ve written before about my love for Con Surfboards. I’ve had some time to think about it…and I stand by everything I’ve said. I don’t know what it is but I just can’t getenough ofvintage Con boards. That logo is just so killer! There’s something about the simplicity of the design that encapsulates everything I associate with the early days of California surf culture.
Enough with the pretentious prose, though: let’s get to the good stuff! In the pictures above you can see a groovy Con Surfboards sting single fin that’s currently listed for sale on eBay. The board appears to be a variant on a traditional sting design.
The wings on the Con board are not very pronounced, and they look to be pushed quite far back compared to other sting silhouettes. For example, take a look at this Aipa sting (Aipa, of course, invented the sting). The wings on the Aipa below are wider and located further up, closer to the wide point of the board:
The Con board also sports a step bottom, which you can find on a decent number of stings. Here’s an example of a G&S sting (although I believe this is a board made in Australia, and not G&S’ native California), via the Cronulla Surf Museum, that features a clearly visible step bottom:
With that said, I can’t find any evidence of Con ever having made a sting. I’m not sure whether this was a specific model of board, or, more likely, a one-off. As for the date, Stoked-n-Board has a great entry on Con Surfboards, which has some good clues for when the board might have been made.
First, the board featured in the post has a clearly identifiable logo. It is the combination of Con’s script logo from the 70s, along with its classic red circle design. According to Stoked-n-Board, this logo was only produced between 1969 and 1974.
Those dates line up well with the other details for the board. First, you have a gorgeous rainbow fin in a fin box (not sure what kind of fin system), which points towards very late 60s and the 70s. Second, the sting was a design that came to prominence in the 70s, mostly thanks to Ben Aipa and the top Hawaiian pros of the time. According to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, the sting was invented in 1974. (See here for an earlier post on Aipa stings).
More than anything, I’m stunned that the board appears to be in such great condition. It’s almost to the point where I began to wonder if it was a retro board shaped more recently. However, I have my doubts that a retro board would have a rainbow fin, not to mention the funky details (the step bottom and the wings). My guess? The board at the top of the page is just in fantastic condition.
The board is going for $750. As far as I know, there’s no special historical significance to this thing. $750 is never cheap, but if I’m correct in saying the board is all original and in such fantastic condition, I’d argue that’s actually a reasonable price.