Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have an awesome example of one of the greatest Transition Era boards of all time: the Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom Model.

I’m not sure exactly when G&S produced Skip’s signature models, but they were somewhere in the 1968 – 1969 range. (Sadly, Stoked-n-Board continues to go missing from the SHACC website, though I have been told that there are plans to revive the site).

Pictured below is a Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom that is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in the Santa Cruz area. You can find a link to the listing here. Longtime readers might actually recognize this board from when it sold on Craigslist a little over a year ago and I wrote up a brief post on the board. The asking price for the G&S Skip Frye V Bottom last year was $850, and now the seller is asking a cool $3,500. (More on that later).

There are no two ways about it: this is a bitchin’ board with a lot of neat bells and whistles. Check out the W.A.V.E. Set fin, and the colorful G&S logo on the bottom of the board is an insane trip back to surfing’s psychedelic roots.

As you can see, the Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom is in very good condition, and there’s even a serial number on the deck (#3153).

Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom 11.jpg

Now, as for the price, well, I think $3,500 is a bit ambitious. Now, don’t get me wrong: any example of a Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom is going to fetch a nice price. And I can’t begrudge the guy for pouncing on the board at $850 a year back, when it was clearly worth a LOT more.

The California Gold Vintage Surf Auction just closed up a few weeks back, during which  another nice G&S Skip Frye V Bottom board went on the block. You can find a link to the auction board here. I’ve also embedded a photo below.

late 60’s skipper V bottom. Super foiled with mild V. I’m tripping #skipfrye

A post shared by Rick Lohr (@ricklohr) on

The auction Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom ended up selling for $2,000, a good deal cheaper than the $3,500 that’s being asked for the Craigslist board. (Note that there are fees with the auction board, but it still ends up being cheaper.) The auction board looks to be in slightly better condition, too — note the visible discolored repairs on the bottom of the Craigslist Skip Frye V Bottom.

That said, I personally don’t have a problem with people buying boards on Craigslist and then re-listing them for more. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I don’t think a Skip Frye board should be cheap! Boards like the one posted here are genuine pieces of surf history. Now, do I think it’s worth $3,500? Probably not. But either way it’s a rad board, the Craigslist posting has some great photos, and if money’s no object, you can even take the board him with you. Check out the Gordon & Smith Skip Frye V Bottom board for sale on Craigslist here.

Social Media Roundup (April 20 2018)

Greetings, Shredderz! We have another Social Media Roundup on deck, just in time to take you into the weekend. Without any further ado, here come some hand picked selections from the various transmissions across the world wide web…

It is Frye-day, after all, and as a policy, Shred Sledz celebrates neon in all its shapes and forms. Check out that sweet Gordon & Smith Skip Frye fish on the left!

RIP Willy Morris, who sadly passed away this week. He leaves behind a legacy of leadfooted power surfing. During his heyday in the 1980s, Morris surfed a variety of colorful Al Merrick-shaped Channel Islands thrusters, one of which you can see above.

Kim, Renny, and Roger pose with a 1968 8'8" Yater mini-gun in perfect condition.

A post shared by Marc Andreini (@marcandreini) on

Marc Andreini counts Renny Yater as a major influence and the photo above makes it easy to see why. Much is made of Yater’s timeless longboards, and I personally love his 70s single fins, but the mini-gun posted above is one of the coolest (and cleanest) Yaters I have seen in some time.

I’ve posted about the Campbell Brothers here many times, but they are a must-follow on Instagram. You can always count on Malcolm and Duncan to post amazing pictures from the early days of the Bonzer’s development.

I don’t think the old school Hawaiian Island Creations logo gets enough love. I posted a similar board on Instagram a few weeks ago, and I think the one above is an even better example. Also, this board has some serious history — it was actually shaped by Ellis Ericson’s father back in the day, and the board’s current owner has generously agreed to return it back to the family. Make sure you swipe to see the Surf Line Hawaii laminate on the bottom, too.

It has been a busier than usual week here at Shred Sledz HQ. If you’ve made it this far, I’d just like to thank you for reading. Hope your weekend is chock full of vintage sticks and tasty waves, and don’t forget to hit me up if you have any rad boards you’d like to share.

Gordon & Smith Farrelly V Bottom

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’re going back to one of the most interesting eras in all of surfboard design: the famous Transition Era of the late 1960s. The Shred Sledz editorial staff — i.e., me — lives and surfs in California, and as a result, the blog has a tendency to focus on the Golden State. But I love Australia, and I leap at any opportunity to write up great vintage Aussie surfboards. Today’s post features some cross-Pacific collaboration in the form of a Gordon & Smith Farrelly V Bottom model that was likely shaped between late 1968 and early 1969.

The G&S Farrelly V Bottom pictured above was originally listed for sale on Craigslist in North Carolina, although the listing has since been taken down. I wrote an earlier post on the Farrelly V Bottom, which you can find here. In retrospect, the post was a bit confusing, as it included examples of both the Gordon & Smith Farrelly V Bottom (identical to the one featured on this post), as well as the G&S Farrelly Stringlerless, which are in fact two distinct models.

Luckily, Geoff Cater of the incomparable Surf Research — which is a must read — was able to share some more info on the development of Farrelly’s boards. (Check out Surf Research’s entry on Midget Farrelly for a thorough history on the Australian and his designs.)

The Gordon & Smith Farrelly Stringerless model came first in around 1966. Frankly, this date surprised me — I had expected the board to be produced starting around the later part of the decade.

The Stringerless model was succeeded by the Gordon & Smith Farrelly V Bottom, which is the board pictured here. The logo at the top of the page is a giveaway that this is a Gordon & Smith Farrelly V Bottom, and not a Farrelly Stringerless. The logo is actually a take on the original Farrelly Surfboards logo, with a tweak whereby Farrelly’s Palm Beach address is replaced with the “Gordon & Smith Surfboards USA” text.

Back in Australia, the board was also known as the Speed Squaretail, and I believe it was produced under Farrelly’s own surfboard label, versus the Gordon & Smith brand.

As for the Gordon & Smith Farrelly V Bottom featured here, the board measures in at 8’4″, and it has a W.A.V.E. Set fin box. Thankfully the seller included some nice photos in the listing, which clearly show the vee bottom as well as the chunky dimensions of the tail. The asking price was $1,500, and sadly there’s no way of telling the sale price.

Thanks to Geoff Cater for info on this awesome Transition Era board, and don’t forget to visit Surf Research.

Star Systems Fins Ad from the 1980s: Sagas of Shred

Shredderz, I’m afraid I have reached the point of no return. I am speaking about the precise moment in time when one finds oneself flipping through an old issue of Surfer Magazine, and then stops short in order to take a closer look at an advertisement for a fin box system that has been defunct for about 30 years.

Pictured above is an ad for the old Star Systems fin box, which had its peak during the 1980s. I’m not sure why, but Star Systems fins — often called star fins, though this is not to be confused with Cheyne Horan’s design — predominantly appeared on twin fins from the late 1970s and 1980s. Nowadays Star Systems fins mainly infuriate collectors looking for replacement fins so they can ride their 80s twinnies. Star Systems pre-dated the invention of the thruster, but for some reason, they didn’t seem to stick around long enough to compete with the likes of FCS and co, when removable fins became standard on most shortboards. Star Systems was one of the first attempts to create what we now take for granted as the modern removable fin system, but it’s far from being a household name.

At some point, Star Systems was closely associated with Gordon & Smith Surfboards. I’m not sure if G&S purchased Star Systems, but you’ll often see 80s G&S boards sporting the funky fin boxes. The ad pictured above is from 1979. From the looks of the advertisement, Star Systems was a separate company from Gordon & Smith at least during its early days.

Finally, here’s a great video from The Fin Project that features Larry Allenson talking through some of the unique mechanics of the Star Systems fin setup:

Thanks again for reading Sagas of Shred! We’ll be back in a week with some more surf history odds and ends.

G&S Hot Curl Transitional Shape

Greetings, Shredderz! By now loyal readers will know that the Shreditorial Staff has a fascination with the funky shapes produced during the Transition Era of the late 1960s. Today’s post features a particularly lovely board: the Gordon & Smith Hot Curl. As you can see in the photograph above, one of the G&S Hot Curl’s best features is an incredibly detailed floral graphic that appears on the deck.

The board pictured above is currently listed for sale on eBay with a starting price of $750. There is no reserve for the board, and given its impeccable condition, I would say this is a reasonable price (though auctions always tend to heat up towards the end). You can find a link to the board here. All pics above are via the eBay listing.

The G&S Hot Curl has an earlier iteration that was a more traditional noserider than the one pictured above. Stoked-n-Board is an incredible resource and I will sing its praises until the apocalypse, but their listing claims the Gordon & Smith Hot Curl measured in at lengths between 9’0″ and 9’5″. The board pictured above is 7’8″, and its outline, plus the W.A.V.E. Set fin box, clearly indicate that it was shaped during the late 1960s, by the time the shortboard revolution was in full swing.

I’m not sure whether or not the G&S Hot Curl is considered a proper displacement hull. The outline is similar to modern day hulls you’ll see, but I would hazard a guess and say that a real determination can’t be made without more detailed knowledge of the board’s bottom.

The floral logo doesn’t appear on all Gordon & Smith Hot Curl models, either. For example, here’s a beaut that appeared on a Jamboards thread that has the G&S Hot Curl logos and a similar shape, but not the crazy floral graphic from the example above. I do love the matching purple airbrush on the deck and the grape soda colored W.A.V.E. Set fin, though!

If you’re in the market for a beautiful G&S Hot Curl model, or merely in desperate need of some hipster surf street cred, check out the board on eBay here.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup: #Fryeday Edition (September 1)

Greetings, Shredderz! Here to take you into the weekend is a celebration of one of California’s finest board builders, one Harry “Skip” Frye. Don’t forget to check out the latest issue of The Surfer’s Journal for a comprehensive look at Skip’s personal quiver. In the meantime, here are some social media selections showing off Skip’s shapes…

I wrote about this Skip Frye single fin when it was posted on Craigslist…and I’m still kicking myself for not buying it! This is the only Frye I have seen with a Select Surf Shop laminate, and it’s got a sick little wing pin outline to boot. I’m glad that it found a good home with Buggs, who runs Surfboard Line. The board has been fixed up and looks better than ever. Make sure you scroll through all the pictures!

A palm reflection off two Skip Frye's

A post shared by taylor_knox (@taylor_knox) on

Taylor Knox owes his long career to his powerful rail surfing. It’s difficult to imagine him laying these gliders into his patented spray-chucking carves, but if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Taylor Knox! I’m just stoked to see this unexpected but rad union between two opposite ends of the famously varied spectrum that is San Diego surfing. Don’t hold your breath for Joel Tudor to bust out a high performance thruster, though…

I don’t know a word of Japanese, but I do know how to recognize an incredible quiver when I see one…

Holy Grail. Art and shape by Skip Frye.

A post shared by Val Dusty 69mm (@beyond_litmus) on

This board is a bit of a mystery, but don’t skip over it because of the abstract picture! Skip Frye shaped this board for use at Jeffrey’s Bay, and it ended up being ridden by Derek Hynd (and I believe Tom Curren, too). You can read more about the board and the session in Andrew Kidman’s forthcoming Beyond Litmus book.

A post shared by James Llewelyn (@lyttlestreet) on

A young Skip Frye holding an early Gordon & Smith board. Interesting to note Skip’s board doesn’t have any Frye logos on it — it must pre-date his signature models for the brand.

Skip Frye Gordon & Smith: Seventies Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Apologies for the slowdown in posting frequency. Shred Sledz is back with a vengeance, though, featuring a Skip Frye Gordon & Smith single fin for sale in central California, available on Craigslist. You can find a link to the board here. Pics of the board can be found below (photos taken via the Craigslist post).

Check out the listing for some details on the origins of the board. The seller contacted Bird Huffman, surfboard aficionado extraordinaire and owner of San Diego’s Bird’s Surf Shed, and got some more info. Bird estimates the single fin pictured above likely dates to sometime between 1973 and 1973, and it was possibly shaped for team rider Steve McCullum. Bird also mentions the diamond tail as being unusual for a Frye design, and speculates that it could have been made at the request of Gary Keating or Tim Lynch. It should also be noted the board is a project, and it would require some more work to get it ship shape, hence the relatively modest $450 price tag.

I also find it interesting that the Gordon & Smith laminate on the board above is the classic red and black version of G&S’ famed bowtie logo. All the Frye / G&S boards from the 1960s I have seen feature monochrome black & white Gordon & Smith bowtie logos, like this one below:

Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Model 1967 9'81
1967 Gordon & Smith Skip Frye Model. Board was sold via US Vintage Surf Auction (pic from USVSA listing).

Here’s another example of a Skip Frye / Gordon & Smith logo, which does not have the bowtie at all.

Skip Frye Model for Gordon & Smith Logo
Non-bowtie Skip Frye / Gordon & Smith logo. Pic via Holy Smoke

Anyway, I don’t know if the red bowtie version is a rare logo; but it is one I have never personally seen before. As always, if you have more info, please chime in below!

Finally, here’s a bonus shot of Skip Frye from 1966 toting an interesting-looking Gordon & Smith shape. To the left is none other than Mike Hynson. Pic courtesy excellent New York surf shop Pilgrim Surf + Supply.

Shred Sledz Presents: 5/16 Grab Bag

Greetings, Shredderz! I hope the stoke levels are high and climbing for each and every one of you. First and foremost, you may recognize a slight name change to our Peabody Award-winning series (Editor’s Note: definitely not), the Shred Sledz Weekend Grab Bag. We’re dropping the “Weekend” part of the moniker, given the fact our editorial staff moves with all the speed of a line at the DMV on a sunny Saturday. It shall henceforth be known as the Shred Sledz Grab Bag. New name, same collection of cool sticks. Anyway: onto the good stuff.

Sunset by Bill Shrosbree 1970s / 1980s 6’1″ Single Fin (Craigslist — Santa Cruz)

This thing was originally posted a few days ago, and then posted again without that lovely Rainbow Fin you can see in the third pic. Luckily, Shred Sledz goes to great lengths to preserve any evidence of rad surfboards online. Board is listed at $350 (without the fin, though!), which I think is quite fair given the board. Shrosbree is a favorite of surfboard aficionado Joel Tudor, which means he’s good enough for me! Check out the board at the link above.

 

Surfboards Hawaii Semi-Gun by Mike Slingerland (Facebook)

This surfboard is unlikely to win any awards for political correctness any time soon. (Check the cartoon in the third pic, alongside the “Charlie Don’t Surf” lam). Questionable laminates aside, though, it is a beautiful example of a later-era Surfboards Hawaii semi-gun that looks to be in awesome condition. Love the colors alongside the stringer and the beautiful, era-correct Rainbow Fin, too. Original post seems to have been taken down, but I linked to an earlier one in the title above.

 

Channin / Diffenderfer 1969 Transition Board (Craigslist — Raleigh, NC)

Can’t say this thing hasn’t seen better days. But shout out to the seller for being as up front as possible, going as far to recount a story about how the board flew off his roof rack while going 70 mph! There’s something sad about seeing someone sell a cherished board, but then again, it’s also an opportunity to score a funky little transitional shape for under $200 ($195, to be exact).

 

Gordon & Smith Magic Model (Craigslist — Orlando)

Cool little transitional shape for sale in Florida. G&S has a little info on this board on their own website. The Magic was invented towards the end of the summer in 1968. It was largely invented by Dennis Benadum, but apparently none other than Skip Frye also chipped in with the board’s design! See below for a picture of the original ad for the board, published sometime in the late 1960s, I believe. Seller is asking $500.

Gordon & Smith The Magic Ad

 

Australia via San Diego: Midget Farrelly and Gordon & Smith

Shred Sledz is (proudly) made in California. And given HQ’s location in the Golden State (AKA my living room), it’s no surprise that the blog focuses primarily on American and Hawaiian surfboard shapers. Today I’m excited to lend a little more Aussie influence to this modest seppo-centric blog. We’ll be exploring the history and contributions of one of Australia’s earliest surf stars: none other than the late, great Bernard “Midget” Farrelly. In particular, today’s post focuses on a rare surfboard model: a collaboration between Midget Farrelly and Gordon & Smith, the famed San Diego-based US board maker.

Midget Farrelly
Farrelly, putting it on a rail. Photo by Dick Graham, taken from his book “The Ride: 1960s and 1970s, A Photo Essay”

 

Farrelly won the inaugural World Surfing Championship in 1964. The event was held at Manly Beach, located in Farrelly’s hometown of Sydney. A few years later, Farrelly was an active contributor to the experimental surfboard designs of the Transition Era.

To this day there remains a heated debate over the origins of the vee bottom surfboard design. Bob McTavish, another Australian surfer and shaper, is widely credited with having invented the design in 1967. Farrelly, on the other hand, claims that he was the inventor of the vee bottom. He offers the picture below as proof. Farrelly claims the white board in the picture below was about 8′ x 22″ – a good deal shorter than the boards being ridden by his contemporaries – and that the picture was taken in 1967 at the Windansea vs. Australia contest in Palm Beach. Farrelly contends that McTavish did not even glimpse a vee bottom board until November of 1967, which later inspired McTavish to do his own take on the design. The Encyclopedia of Surfing, on the other hand, credits McTavish with having begun work on the vee bottom in March of 1967. McTavish says he was shaping vee bottoms at the Keyo factory in mid-1967. If you want to read more about Midget’s side of the story, I recommend going to his website. Sadly, Midget passed away last year from stomach cancer.

Midget Farrelly
Photo by Dick Graham; photo via Farrelly Surfboards

 

While the origin of the vee bottom may be contested, I think we can all agree on one thing: transition boards – and vee bottoms in particular – are very, very cool.

Pictured at the top of this post is a Midget Farrelly / Gordon & Smith design that is currently up for sale on Craigslist in Monterey, California. It’s 7′10″ in length, but no other dimensions are offered up. The price is $1200 – steep, but this is a rare surfboard, and it looks to be in good condition, other than an obvious repair on the nose. I have included more pics below:

Gordon & Smith agreed to distribute Farrelly’s boards in the United States, and this is a clear example of the partnership. In the very first picture you can see the logo reads “Farrelly by Gordon and Smith Surfboards USA”.

However, it’s unclear to me exactly what model this is. Gordon & Smith – it’s interesting to note that the logo on the board reads “Gordon and Smith”, and doesn’t contain the customary ampersand – produced a Midget Farrelly Stringerless model. Stoked-n-Board has the Farrelly Stringerless model as having been produced between 1967 and 1969, which means it pre-dates the creation of the vee bottom. Here’s an example of a G&S Farrelly Stringerless model, and you can see that it is longer and more of a traditional longboard shape than the board listed at the top. It’s listed at 9′6″, and Surf Research actually dates the board to 1966, a full year earlier than Stoked-n-Board. Either way, it’s clear that the board below is a different model from the one at the top of the post – it’s longer, it has a fuller nose, and it has a different logo.

image

Photo via surfresearch.com.au

Here’s a close up of the G&S Farrelly Stringerless logo (from a different board).

image

Pic via Surfers Japan

And here’s an old print ad for the G&S Farrelly Stringerless model. Note that this is clearly more of a standard longboard / noserider design – pre-Transition Era, I’m guessing. Note that this version of the logo has numbering. I’ve seen Stringerless logos without numbers.

image

G&S has another old ad up on their website, which shows the Farrelly Stringerless design alongside a Skip Frye and a Mike Hynson design.

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Photo via G&S

In conclusion, I don’t believe the board at the top of this post is a G&S Farrelly Stringerless model. Instead, I think it’s a slightly later G&S Farrelly V Bottom. See the ad below, taken from G&S’ website. If you look closely you can see the second board from the left is called the “Midget Farrelly V Bottom” model. I believe this is the same model as the board at the top of the post. And while the Farrelly V Bottom does not have a stringer, it should not be confused with the Farrelly Stringerless model, which is a longer board.

image

Photo via G&S

I’ve found pictures of the Farrelly V Bottom model elsewhere online, and here are a few examples. In this one below you’ll note that it has a tunnel fin, which I believe was added afterwards.

image

Photo via Gbase

This board below – which I found floating around on Pinterest – looks like an exact match to the one at the top of the page. It has similar deck patches, logo placement, and of course the overall outline. The picture below also gives a better idea of the vee in the tail, which is of course one of the defining characteristics of the board.

image

The board for sale can be found here on Craigslist (Update: Link has been removed). The seller also looks to be getting rid of some other gems, including a Morey Pope Tracker and a mystery David Nuuhiwa model. None of the boards are cheap, but they look well cared for. I’m wondering if these weren’t all at some point part of a larger collection in the Monterey area that was sold off a few years ago.

Finally, while we are on the topic of Australian surfing luminaries, I cannot recommend surfresearch.com.au enough. This article on 1967 and the creation of the vee bottom is incredibly thorough and detailed, and a real treat for anyone who’s interested in the topic. The same can be said for surfresearch.com.au’s entry for Farrelly himself, which is a fitting tribute for a true legend of the sport.