Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to yet another installment of Sagas of Shred. Every Thursday we feature a different slice of surf history, and today’s entry sheds a light on one of the most accomplished businessmen the surf industry has ever seen: Gordon “Grubby” Clark, the founder and CEO of Clark Foam.
Before its abrupt closing in 2005, Clark Foam was one of the most fearsome forces in the surfboard industry. There are endless stories about Clark’s ruthlessness. The Surfboard Project has an anecdote, via Joel Tudor, about how Donald Takayama’s first label went under after Clark Foam denied him blanks. Surfer Magazine recently ran a retrospective on the Clark Foam closing, which includes similar tales of strong-arm tactics.
In the early 1960s, though, Clark had yet to establish its dominance, and this ad, at least, makes an earnest appeal to quality and performance instead. I love the fact that just about every single big name surfboard brand at the time has their logos present: Yater, Bing, Ole, Hobie, Wardy, Hansen, and Con. Of that list, only Wardy no longer continues to produce boards (although Con is a completely different company, and Bing Copeland has ceded control to well-regarded shaper Matt Calvani.)
For a great article on the early years of Clark Foam, and how Grubby and Hobie Alter helped lay the groundwork for the modern surfboard industry, I recommend the “727 Laguna Canyon Road” feature in The Surfer’s Journal.
Hope you enjoyed this entry in Sagas of Shred, and tune in next Thursday for what comes next!
Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to another installment of the Shred Sledz Grab Bag, where we’ll be taking a look at some boards that have recently been listed or sold around in the internet. And if you’re catching up, I’d like to recommend checking out the earlier post on Rick Surfboards. Without any further ado, here are some selections:
There are two Stussy surfboards for sale on Craigslist, both of which are located in New Jersey. It looks like they are being offered by separate sellers. Both of these boards are cheaper than what you might expect for Stussy boards. In the case of the board pictured above, this probably has a lot to do with the condition of the board. The board is signed by Stussy (click through to the listing for more pics), but there are numerous visible repairs and pressure dings. Check out the funny Waterman’s Guild dolphin logo! As for the second board, which also boasts a Rasta logo, it’s hard to draw any conclusions on the condition from the pictures. I emailed the seller, who claims there are no dents and dings. The board above is listed at $525, and the second board (not pictured) is offered at $500. Neither board has the over the top 80s spray jobs, but the second one seems like a pretty good deal at $500.
This board has come and gone, so if you have an itchy trigger finger and an affinity for neon, I’m sorry to disappoint you! I thought this board was an interesting litmus test for prices around pre-Echo Beach boards. The Schroff twin fin above ended up selling for $388, which was a bit below what I had expected. This board looks like it’s barely a pre-Echo Beach shape. On one hand, with the bright colors and the multiple logos, you can see the beginnings of what would become Schroff’s signature style. On the other, the board is missing the signature Schroff black and white checkered logo, and between the beaked nose and the old-school lams, it has more of a late 70s / early 80s vibe. Personally, I love this twin fin, and I thought $388 was a steal, even considering the board had a bunch of dings. Then again, it’s clear that the market favors a certain era of Schroff boards, and this one does not fit into that description. The seller just posted another Schroff board, this time with all the 80s bells and whistles, and it’ll be interesting to note where the price ends up. For another example of a pre-Echo Beach shape, check out the earlier post on a Wave Tools single fin, which is still available for $250! Check out Board Collector for some more great shots of Schroff boards if you’re interested.
Let’s switch gears to a classic 1960s noserider as a little palate cleanser to the go go Day Glo 80s boards featured above. This here is a Hansen “The Hustler” model noserider, clocking in at a serious 9’10”. The poster claims the board was shaped in 1967. This is somewhat supported by the old Newport Beach surfboard permit sticker that dates to 1969. You can also see the board has the old Hansen bolt through fin, which you’ll find on many Hansen boards from this era. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but info about Hansen Hustler models is scarce online. There’s another Hansen “The Hustler” noserider on sale on eBay, which is partially restored and is listed for $3,500. The board above looks all original and it is being offered at $1700. I don’t know enough about these boards to weigh in on the price, sadly. If you have more context, please drop me a line — I would love to hear from anyone with some info on this board!
Donald Takayama Hawaiian Pro Designs “In the Pink” Model
Pictured above is a Donald Takayama “In the Pink” 9’0″ noserider that was sold on Craigslist in San Diego a few weeks ago. The listing has since been removed. It’s an interesting board for a few reasons. First, look at the clear DT hand signature in the second to last pic, and compare the serial number with the one on the order form in the last photo. It’s a very cool look at a Takayama order form. I’m not sure when the board was made, but judging from the side bite fin boxes, it’s modern, likely made a few years before Takayama’s untimely passing in 2012.
How cool is this thing?! Yater was the subject of my most recent post, but I might like the board above even more. I can’t be for sure, but it looks to have a bit of a vee bottom. The outline of this Yater hull is very reminiscent of some Liddle and Andreini hulls (specifically, Andreini’s Vaquero model.) The fin — both its rake and its placement — reminds me of Liddle’s boards.
Hull aficionado Kirk Putnam has an excellent pic on his blog that traces the lineage of Andreini and Liddle’s shapes back to George Greenough. I’ve added the picture below. Liddle’s board is at top, and the next two are Andreini Vaqueros. The fourth board from the top is a Surfboards Hawaii vee bottom shaped by John Price, and the board at the bottom is a Midget Farrelly stringerless vee bottom with a Greenough logo. I had been aware of Greenough’s influence on Andreini and Liddle, but had no idea that Yater had tried out some of these shapes as well. Andreini has made no secret of his admiration of Yater, and it’s cool to see a shape that combines the Greenough school of displacement hulls, and Yater’s more traditional side of California board building. If you have pictures of another Yater hull, please drop me a line!
Lopez’s boards for Lightning Bolt are by far the most collectible, but it seems like there’s a growing interest in some of his more obscure shapes. Pictured above is an extra clean example of Lopez’s signature model that he produced for Hansen in the late 1960s. What’s interesting about that board is that it actually featured two different logos. There’s an example of a different Hansen / Lopez board that was recently sold on eBay. It has the alternate logo, which I have reproduced below.
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Bird Huffman is a San Diego fixture. He runs Bird’s Surf Shed, where he oversees an ungodly stash of vintage boards. Here Bird has come across two awesome early examples of boards from two separate San Diego craftsmen: Skip Frye and Steve Lis. Make sure you click through all the pictures in the gallery above. The Frye is very similar to the Select Surf Shop single fin I posted about recently, down to the glassed on wooden fin. I love the Frye wings logo towards the tail — never seen that placement before.
The Lis board is a funky shape, given that it’s a wing pin single fin, and Lis is best known for his fish designs. Make sure you follow Bird on Instagram, as he has been posting updates on the Lis board as he gets them!
Sadly, there are no bargains to be had here. Seller is asking $2250 out the gate for this Aipa / Surfing’s New Image sting. Shout out to the seller for being clear about the fact this board was shaped by Rick Hamon, and not Ben Aipa himself (see here for an earlier Shred Sledz screed on the topic.) I have never seen that stringer setup before, and the airbrush on the bottom speaks for itself! Deck isn’t perfect but that’s like pointing out a small dent on a gullwing Mercedes. Check out the board here.
Hit the jump below for some more boards, including another Aipa, and some transitional goodness..
While Gerry Lopez is best known for his work with famed surfboard company Lightning Bolt during its 70s heyday, he also produced a line of licensed boards for Hansen.
The boards from the Hansen / Lopez collaboration were not hand shaped by Mr Pipeline himself. Even so, given the relative rarity of these bad boys, you’d think that they would be more prized by collectors. Less than 1,000 of these boards were produced, according to Hansen’s blog.
Their blog also has some great photographs of another Hansen by Gerry Lopez board. I have reproduced those pictures below. You’ll notice that the board on the Hansen blog has Dart branding on it, which is absent from the Craigslist board featured at the top of this post. Another interesting detail can be found in the third picture. The “Dart” version from Hansen’s blog appears to be dated to 1972; Stoked-n-Board, however, claims that this board was only produced between 1970 and 1971.
The blog also includes a great shot of an ad announcing the board. It’s interesting how Hansen refers to it as “The Lopez Series”. You’ll also notice the board in the advertisement does not have the “Dart” branding, nor is “Dart” mentioned at all.
In typical Shred Sledz style, I also did some digging around the far reaches of the internet and was able to pull up some examples of other Hansen / Lopez boards. I was able to find one that recently sold at the US Vintage Surf Auction. The winning bid was $2K. This board is apparently all-original and in great condition, hence the price (which would still be considerably cheaper than a Lopez Lightning Bolt). One thing to note about the USVSA board is it boasts an alternate logo, which I have reproduced below. Note that the USVSA dates this pink logo board to 1969. I tend to believe the 1969 date, given that the Lopez / Hansen board has some properties that are shared with other Transition Era boards. The Hansen / Lopez board has a distinct S-Deck, and the ad above mentions a slight vee bottom as well. I’ve become even more convinced after finding this excellent post on the subject of Hansen hulls, courtesy of displacementia, which is one of the finest surfboard blogs on the planet.
Here’s one more example of a Hansen / Lopez board. This one is for sale, but unless you live in Japan or you live for needless markup, I don’t think it’s worth the $2800 (minus tax) they are charging on usedsurf.jp. You can find a link to the Hansen / Lopez board here. Bitching about the price aside, it looks like it’s in great condition. Some other interesting notes: usedsurf.jp dates the board to the 60s, but judging by the date on the stringer it looks like it’s from the 70s, though I can’t quite make out the exact year. The Hansen logo on the usedsurf.jp board can be seen on the bottom, right near the nose — same as the Phoenix Craigslist example.
You can find the Phoenix board on Craigslist here. It’s being listed for $1,000, which I don’t think is totally insane. It’s not in perfect condition, but the board has not been totally restored, according to the poster, which I always prefer. In any event, check it out if you’re interested.
I haven’t written much about Ole Surfboards before, which was the brainchild of Bob Olson. This one sports a nice D fin and I would guess it dates to sometime in the 1960s. It might be all original, too. Priced at $975.
The airbrush on this board is pure 1970s. Nuuhiwa was the subject of an earlier Sledz post, which I naturally recommend you read if you’re interested in learning more. Otherwise, bask in the sheer outrageousness of this paint job, which toes the line between painstaking craftsmanship and looking like a Lisa Frank parody. The board is incredible condition, but it’s no longer for sale (closed at a healthy $1,258!)
Here at Shred Sledz we are equal opportunity surfboard aficionados. Even though the blog is focused on vintage shapes, we love boards of all shapes, sizes, and creeds (with a few notable exceptions).
With that said, we do have a soft spot for transitional shapes, and here we have an exceptional example of an interesting board that was produced right as the surfboard industry was still figuring out a graceful way to go from heavy old longboards to shorter, nimbler shapes.
I’ve written about Hansen’s Derringer model before, but here’s an example of an all-original Derringer that is in very good shape, and has the original bolt-through fin to boot. It’s currently on sale on Craigslist (San Diego), and it’s not cheap at $600, but I don’t think that is all that outrageous, considering these boards aren’t plentiful, and this particular example seems to be in pretty good condition.
In the fourth picture you can see the vee bottom and the diamond tail. In the third you can see the top of the screw that holds the fin in, which is part of the board’s unique bolt through fin design. It looks like this bad boy has the original fin as well, which is always great.