Greetings, Shredderz! We’re back with another sterling example of one of the most popular boards in Shred Sledz history: the Jacobs Mike Purpus V. Purpus’ second signature model under the Jacobs label — the first was a standard noserider — is an appropriately radical design for a pretty radical dude.
The board pictured above comes courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Steve Wray. Pick your jaws up off the floor and put your wallets away — this bad boy is not for sale.
Shred Sledz’s aesthetic veers more towards the neon of the 80s, but there’s no denying the appeal of the colorful acid splash paint job on the board above. I stumbled across a color version of an old Body Glove ad, which I had featured in the initial Mike Purpus V post, and was shocked to see one of the boards featured is almost identical to Mr. Wray’s example.
Mr. Wray was also kind enough to provide some close-up shots of the tail and the fin area of his Jacobs Mike Purpus V. Check out the all-original W.A.V.E. Set fin, whose color is best described as cough syrup purple (I mean that in a good way). You can clearly see the pronounced vee in tail, as well as the dramatically domed deck.
Finally, I was able to uncover a few old Jacobs Surfboards advertisements that featured Mike Purpus. The first actually features Purpus in tandem with Robert August. I’m guessing this is a board from when Purpus was a teenager, based on the fact that both Purpus and Roberts are shown riding longboards.
The second ad is for the Jacobs Mike Purpus V Model, courtesy of Liquid Salt. The graphic design on this ad can only be described as groovy as heck.
Finally, here’s another shot of Purpus, riding a shortboard, this one from famed Southern California boardshorts company Katin. You can see Purpus at the top right.
Many thanks to Steve Wray for sending pictures of his beautiful acid splash Jacobs Mike Purpus V Model! As always, if you own a rare and / or interesting board and you’re interested in having it featured on Shred Sledz, don’t hesitate to reach out.
By now, regular readers have probably noticed that here at Shred Sledz, the focus is on boards that were made during the Transition Era of the late-1960s and onwards, to the tube shooting single fins of the 1970s, and the bright thrusters of the 1980s. In other words, classic longboards — which are probably the most valuable and collectible of the aforementioned categories — don’t always get a ton of attention here. Now, here at Shred Sledz we love vintage longboards, too. And when this sweet Velzy Jacobs Surfboard popped up on Craigslist, writing about the board became a no-brainer.
And while we rarely feature classic longboards, it’s even less common for Shred Sledz to feature boards from the 1950s. And yet here we have an example of a Velzy Jacobs Surfboard from 1957, which pre-dates the golden years of longboard design. All pics in the post are via the Craigslist listing.
Whenever I see dates provided on Craigslist, I tend to take them with a grain of salt. However, the peerless Stoked-n-Board tells me that Velzy Jacobs Surfboards only existed for a few scant years during the mid- to late-1950s. The brand was a collaboration between Dale Velzy and Hap Jacobs, and was one of the leading surfboard labels of the time until its abrupt closure in 1959 (apparently because Velzy had been behind on his taxes!). Velzy continued to produce boards under his name using an almost exact version of the logo, except with Jacobs’ name removed. The fact that both co-founders went on to establish wildly popular brands of their own brings to mind Bing & Rick Surfboards, which similarly became the basis for two distinct surfboard labels.
Velzy Jacobs Surfboards also boasted one of the most insane shaper rosters I have ever seen in my life. Again, many thanks to Stoked-n-Board for this info! Bing Copeland, Donald Takayama, Carl Ekstrom, Harold Ige, Mike Diffenderfer, Pat Curren, Renny Yater, and Rick Stoner all passed through Velzy Jacobs Surfboards at some point, which is truly mind-boggling. I’m not sure if there’s any way to verify which boards might have been shaped by these craftsmen, seeing as how precious few shapers signed their creations during this time, but that is quite the dream team of board builders.
Finally, I’m not sure whether or not the board has been restored. In the close-up of the logo above, it appears that there was paint on top of the fiberglass. You’ll often see this on “restored” boards that are trying to hide some of the damage or suntanning; however, it seems like this technique was also somewhat commonplace. I simply don’t know enough to say for sure. The poster claims the fin is all-original, and apparently the fin is made of both foam and glass. The seller is asking $2,800 for the board and you can check it out here.
Fresh off last week’s post about Mike Purpus, today we have another collaboration between the Hermosa Beach pro and a well-known shaper. The board pictured above and below is the Jacobs Mike Purpus V, a Transition Era vee bottom board that was created in the late 1960s. The board can currently be found for sale on Craigslist, and you can find a link to the listing here. Keep reading below for some more pictures of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V for sale, and some background on the collaboration between Jacobs Surfboards and Purpus.
Brief History of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V
Purpus became a Jacobs team rider when he was 14 years old. The first Jacobs Mike Purpus signature model was created under an unusual set of circumstances, befitting Purpus’ colorful personality. In 1967, Purpus had successfully made the finals of the AAA Oceanside Invitational (competing against a murderer’s row of Donald Takayama, David Nuuhiwa, Skip Frye, Corky Carroll and Mark Martinson!). When pressed by the announcer, Hap Jacobs declared that if Purpus were to win the contest, he could get his own signature model. A few waves later, Purpus sealed the victory, and the rest was history.
The initial Jacobs Mike Purpus model was a standard noserider that was similar to the Bing Noserider Model of the 1960s. Jacobs Surfboards continues to produce the original Mike Purpus model today, but I believe Matt Calvani is now the head shaper.
Just as we saw with Rick Surfboards and the Barry Kanaiaupuni model, which began as a noserider and then morphed into a mini-gun design in the blink of an eye, the Jacobs / Purpus collaboration underwent dramatic changes in a very short period of time.
By 1968, around a year after the Jacobs Mike Purpus model was introduced, the Transition Era was underway. Surfers now sought out turns and maneuvers in favor of extended rides on the nose, and as a result, shapers began to make smaller, more nimble boards. The Jacobs Mike Purpus V employs many of the design elements that emerged during the Transition Era. As the name suggests, the Jacobs Mike Purpus V has a pronounced vee bottom in the tail. The board also has a dramatic scoop deck, which you can see below.
The Jacobs Mike Purpus V is a fairly rare surfboard. To date I have only seen three others online. The Surfboard Project has a Jacobs Mike Purpus V, but I believe the board has been restored. The Museum of Surf has a bitchin’ Jacobs Mike Purpus V with a similarly colorful spray job. Finally, a plain white Jacobs Mike Purpus V was sold on eBay a little over a year ago. I have included pictures of the board below:
Even though Purpus’ career extended well into the 1970s, his vee bottom board was produced closer to the end of Hap Jacobs’ career as a surfboard builder. In 1971 Jacobs sold his business to focus on commercial fishing, and didn’t return to shaping for another twenty years. Even so, Jacobs remains a revered figure in surfing circles.
Australian Influences of the Jacobs Purpus V
The other interesting aspect about the Jacobs Mike Purpus V is that it is referred to as an Australian board in multiple places. Stoked-n-Board calls it “the first shortboard from Australia”, which is both a very strong statement as well as maddeningly vague. The Surfboard Project refers to its example as an Aussie vee bottom, but there’s no other context given.
Luckily, I found an amazing article that Purpus wrote for the Easy Reader News in which he tells some fantastic stories about the history of his collaborations with Hap Jacobs. In 1967, Purpus, alongside Skip Frye, Steve Bigler and Margo Godfrey, headed to Australia to film “The Fantastic Plastic Machine”. During this trip, Purpus encountered the vee bottom boards that had begun to usher in the shortboard revolution down under. (I’m still unclear as to whether or not Plastic Fantastic Surfboards got their name from the movie or vice versa).
Purpus’ article in the Easy Reader News sheds light on the Aussie influences on what would later become the Jacobs Mike Purpus V. The outline for Purpus’ 1968 signature model came from Aussie surf pioneers Midget Farrelly and Bob McTavish. Farrelly and McTavish disagree on who invented the vee bottom. Purpus sidestepped the controversy by modeling his new board after both Australian shapers. He says the nose of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V was taken from Farrelly’s design, and the tail from McTavish. When Purpus returned stateside, he worked with Hap Jacobs shapers Ricky James and Robert August to tweak the design.
The way Purpus tells it, Jacobs was initially resistant, and was convinced Purpus’ new board would be a dud. As a result, Jacobs promised Purpus that any vee bottom produced under the Jacobs label would bear Purpus’ personal decal. There was another boldfaced name working with Jacobs who was openly skeptical about the Purpus V: none other than Donald Takayama! Takayama apparently favored the mini-gun, which was popular in Hawaii, and saw it as a superior option to the vee bottom.
When the Jacobs Mike Purpus V began selling out, the Jacobs team riders that were surfing Takayama’s boards began to ask Donald for their own vee bottom shapes. Donald acquiesced, but as soon as Purpus caught wind of this, he reminded Jacobs of their initial agreement:
Donald could see the David Nuuiwhia Noserider ordeal starting all over when his top riders Bobby Warchola, Jim Lester, Tommy Padaca and Pee Wee Crawford, wanted V-bottoms. Donald made them V-bottoms with his decal on them. I went crying straight to Hap, who told Donald that a deal was a deal. If he wanted to make a V-bottom he would have to use my decal. Donald was furious at me and left Jacobs to open his own shop down the road by the Baskin Robins 31 Flavors in Redondo Beach. Hap remained best friends with Donald, but as far as I was concerned the divorce was final. As I look back, I should’ve asked Donald to work together on shortboard designs, using both our names but I was way too immature and wouldn’t reach puberty for several more years.
Again, the entire article is well worth a read. Purpus’ account also makes me wonder if any of Donald’s short run of Jacobs vee-bottoms have survived! I have personally never seen or even heard of one existing, but needless to say, a Jacobs Takayama vee bottom would make an incredibly rare and special board.
Here is a link to the Jacobs Mike Purpus V that is currently being offered for sale on Craigslist. The seller is asking $1700. One other little tidbit that I was unable to confirm: apparently, at some point the board belonged to Gene Cooper! Whoever previously owned the board, the Jacobs Mike Purpus V is a very cool piece of California and Australian surf history.