Greetings, Shredderz! If you’re here in California it’s the waning hours of Thanksgiving. For those celebrating I hope you had a wonderful day of gratitude, hopefully spent in the company of family, friends and some swell. Today we’ll be pointing you towards one of our favorite sources of vintage surfboard goodness: the Harbour Surfboards advertising archive. The archive has a ton of high quality scans of ads spanning Harbour’s fifty plus years in business, and it’s definitely worth a visit. I chose this particular ad — which features a model called the New Sol — because it also features one Herbie Fletcher. I had no idea Fletcher had anything to do with Harbour Surfboards, but hey, there’s never anything wrong with learning new things. The ad originally ran in the Jan 1967 issue of Surfer Magazine, which means Fletcher was only nineteen when the New Sol was released. I had never heard of Bill Fury before seeing this ad, but I was able to find this tribute to Fury on the Surfing Walk of Fame website.
Greetings, Shredderz! Happy Father’s Day to you and yours. Speaking of fathers, here’s a board from Herbie Fletcher, dad to Nathan and Christian, grandfather to pro skater Greyson, and husband to wife Dibi. I’ve written about the Fletcher clan many times before, including some cool old Astrodeck ads. Herbie is something of a renaissance man: he invented the surfboard traction pad; he is an artist who has collaborated with Julian Schnabel; and helped pioneer the modern surf video. But given Shred Sledz is primarily a blog about vintage surfboards, it’s only natural that we would focus on Herbie’s accomplishments as a shaper.
I covered this in an earlier post, but for the longest time I didn’t grasp the significance of Fletcher’s famous arrow logo. Fletcher, as it turns out, means arrow maker. Herbie talks about the personal significance of the arrow on his website, which adds some gravitas to his logo choice, beyond the fact it happens to look cool. One of Fletcher’s most famous surfboard designs is his square nose noserider. Sadly, I can’t find any interviews or first hand material online about the origins of Herbie Fletcher’s square nose surfboard. All I can tell you is that Herbie has shaped and ridden square nose boards for years. According to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, Fletcher founded his eponymous surfboard label in 1976. During the Seventies and Eighties, when the rest of the surf scene had fully embraced the shortboard, Fletcher was one of the few advocates for longboards and the art of noseriding. I imagine his square nose boards were shaped for better noseriding — or, at least, more convenient toe placement — but I can’t say for sure.
There’s currently an intriguing Herbie Fletcher square nose surfboard for sale on Craigslist. As you see in the photo above, it’s a doozy. When I first saw the ad, I assumed the board was a longboard. In fact, it turns out the board measures in at a tidy 7’2″.
On an aesthetic level, I’m a sucker for any surfboard with wings. There’s something so cool about the curves, particularly when they’re slightly fluted, as the wings on this board seem to be. There is an undeniable visual flair to the square nose Herbie Fletcher board pictured here. You don’t have to know about surfboards to take one look at the outline and go “wow, that thing looks awesome.” And, if you’re like me and you like to geek out on laminates and placement, I think the two small arrow logos right near the wings are a killer, subtle touch.
At first, I was surprised to see that the square nose board was only 7’2″. But a little bit of digging — particularly on Dibi Fletcher’s Instagram — revealed some very similar Herbie Fletcher boards.
As you can see in the Instagram post immediately above, Dibi describes a board called the “Killer Model”, which is a mini version of Herbie’s square nose longboard. The Killer Model in the photo above measures in at 6’10”, putting it in the same ballpark as the yellow Craigslist board featured in this post. Herbie shaped the Killer Model for himself in order to navigate the barrels at V Land on Oahu’s North Shore. There’s no mention of the Star Wars airbrush, but it’s awesome. Dibi describes the Killer Model mini square nose as a sting running into a pintail. I believe that the yellow Craigslist board is almost certainly a Herbie Fletcher Killer Model, too.
I’m not sure whether the yellow Fletcher surfboard was shaped by Herbie. Fletcher, like countless other surfboard labels, employed in house shapers. (See here for a Herbie Fletcher longboard that I think was shaped by Tim Stamps, but it’s clearly signed by someone other than Fletcher himself.) I also can’t say whether the Craigslist board was one of Herbie’s personal boards. That said, I would not be surprised to learn that the yellow board belonged to Herbie at some point, given that he clearly surfed other boards with the same outline and almost identical dimensions.
Finally, here’s a quick note about the price. The seller has listed the yellow Herbie Fletcher square nose surfboard for $1,895. On one hand, I think this is expensive, especially when considering the condition of the board. Apologies to the seller, who was kind enough to link to my original post on Herbie’s square nose surfboard on the Craigslist listing, but that’s my take. On the other hand, if the board is indeed a Herbie Fletcher personal rider, that would obviously change the math a bit. But I have no way of proving it one way or another.
At the end of the day, I don’t care too much whether the board was shaped by Herbie or if it belonged to him. Of course, all else being equal, I’d rather those things be the case. But it’s a distinctive vintage surfboard from one of the surf world’s all time characters, and to me, that’s always worth noting.
You can find the Craigslist listing here. All photos of the board in this post are via the listing.
Aloha, Shredderz! This entry is being written from beautiful Hawaii. More on that later! In the meantime, enjoy a selection of some recent social media posts from the wonderful world of vintage surfboards.
I’ve posted many of Jimmy Metyko’s photos, and as long as he keeps publishing great ones, I don’t see any reason to stop! Metyko’s photographs documented the Santa Barbara surf scene during Tom Curren’s rise, and the results are amazing. Here’s a shot of Al Merrick posing alongside two of his creations. This must have been sometime during the early to mid Eighties, given the thruster and the twin fin, and I like how the photo gives a clear idea of the rocker on both shapes.
Here’s a great photo of Herbie Fletcher taken by the late, great Larry “Flame” Moore. I love that Fletcher is putting one of his surfboards on a rail. There’s also some great trivia, which I had never realized before: Fletcher means arrow maker, hence the arrow logo on Herbie’s shapes!
Here’s a killer shot of Carl Ekstrom taken by Jon Foster. I was actually shocked when I read the caption — I just assumed this photo was far more recent than forty three years ago! Ekstrom is widely credited with inventing the asymmetrical surfboard back in the Sixties. Most recently Ekstrom has been collaborating with Ryan Burch. I’d love to know the back story behind the board featured in Foster’s photo! The photo at the top of the page features Carl Ekstrom posing next to one of his asymmetrical designs in the Sixties, and was originally found on the San Diego Reader website.
Greetings, Shredderz! As 2018 comes to a close I figured I put together one last Social Media Roundup for the year. Even better, it was Herbie Fletcher’s birthday yesterday, which conveniently provides a theme for this post. Check out the photo above of Herbie launching a Jet Ski with an awesome Pottz airbrush design. (Eagle eyed readers may remember that Herbie featured prominently in the last Roundup, but there can’t be too much of a good thing, right?) For anyone who’s read this blog in 2018, I can’t thank you enough. I hope you enjoyed reading Shred Sledz, and more importantly, I hope 2019 has even better vintage surfboard goods for you to enjoy. Now onto the fun stuff…
Joel Tudor posted this photo of Herbie, which was taken by famed photog Warren Bolster. If you do a bit of digging in the comments, it turns out that this photo was the basis for the Herbie Fletcher Surfboards logo. Dig a comparison shot below.
Pat Rawson continues to be one of my favorite follows on Instagram. For the longest time I associated Pat with high performance boards made to tackle serious Hawaiian surf, like the sled that enabled Tom Carroll’s infamous under the lip snap at Pipeline. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Rawson spent time surfing Malibu and overlapped with Greg Liddle, during which time Rawson developed an affinity for Greg’s famous displacement hulls. But that’s not all — Rawson’s time in Los Angeles also overlapped with Jeff Ho, the mind behind Zephyr Surfboards.
Pictured above we have two Herbie Fletcher boards shaped for Hawaii, happening at opposite ends of his career to date. The board in the top photo is a square nose longboard Herbie made recently and the lower photo features a 7’4″ diamond tail shaped in 1969.
This month Taylor Knox comes with not one but two separate entries. The first shot shows Ben Aipa making it look easy in some serious Hawaiian juice; the second is Taylor Knox putting a Mark Richards twinny through its paces.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s entry in Sagas of Shred — the series in which we feature a different vintage surf advertisement every Thursday night, California time — is an unexpected pairing in the form of a Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad. Even though Astrodeck inventor Herbie Fletcher originally hails from California, he has a long relationship with Hawaii, including some amazing Jet Ski adventures in pumping surf. I’m not surprised that Lopez and Fletcher crossed paths on the North Shore during the Seventies and Eighties. (In fact, I even wrote up another Eighties Astrodeck ad where Gerry can be seen lurking in the background.) That said, Gerry Lopez and Herbie Fletcher strike me as an unusual pairing. Fletcher has always possessed a brash presence and the savvy of a sharp eyed businessman. Lopez, on the other hand, is known for being calm and low key, and by all accounts he has avoided the spotlight in recent years to dedicate more time to snowboarding.
This Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad ran in the September 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 23, No 9). I’m not sure when Fletcher invented Astrodeck, though I believe it was sometime during the late Seventies. There are a few clues that tell me the Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad featured above happened earlier on in the company’s history. First, the logo is an earlier design (see here for the current version, which I believe has been around since sometime in the Eighties.) Second, if you look at the traction itself, it’s clearly an earlier design that predates the iconic traction pad we all know and love. By contrast, here’s another Eighties Astrodeck ad I wrote up before, and you can see the updated logo as well as the transition to tail pads.
I love this Gerry Lopez Astrodeck ad, if for no other reason there aren’t too many examples of Lopez doing ads for non-Lightning Bolt surf brands! The same issue of Surfer Magazine also has a feature on Lopez’s experience on the set of “Conan the Barbarian”. Between this Astrodeck ad and a brief Hollywood phase, I’m guessing Lopez reached his fill of the limelight.
Thanks for reading and check back in next week for more Sagas of Shred!
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post is just a quick hit from the archives featuring two unusual Herbie Fletcher surfboards. The photos of both boards were sent to me by a pair of generous Shredderz. Shout out to Russell and JD for passing these along — and I’d like to also issue a friendly reminder that my Instagram DMs are always open for some vintage surfboard heat! Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff:
First we have a classic Herbie Fletcher longboard, which Russell was kind enough to send along. Check out Russell on Instagram here. Apparently this board is mega thick — Russell tells me it’s close to 3″. I’m guessing it’s likely a noseriding machine, but I have yet to see this thing in person.
As you can see, the board is in pretty phenomenal condition. I can’t see any pressure dings on the surface anywhere, and it has been polished to a nice sheen. The Herbie Fletcher longboard has all the details you would want out of an older surfboard. I dig the slight bit of gradient in the tail of the Herbie Fletcher arrow logo, and the Clark Foam laminate is always a welcome sight. I’m not sure when this thing might have been shaped. If you held a gun to my head I would say the Seventies or Eighties, but that’s a wide range.
The second board is a unique Herbie Fletcher sting, which was likely shaped sometime in the Seventies. Gracias JD for sending over these pics! You can check him out on Instagram here. I mainly wanted to share this one because it’s so unusual. I have seen a good number of Herbie Fletcher single fins, but none with a sting outline, in an obvious nod to Ben Aipa’s groundbreaking design. I love the colors on this board too — there’s just something very mellow about the yellow logo and the sea green. Unfortunately some repairs were made on the bottom, as you can clearly see in the white areas, but the rest of the board looks remarkably well preserved.
Finally, if you’re in the market for a Herbie Fletcher single fin to call your own, the board featured above is still up for grabs on eBay. You can find a link to the orange Herbie board here. The price has dropped from $1100 to $850, although I’ll be curious to see if that does the trick.
Thanks again Russell and JD for the photos of these beautiful Herbie Fletcher shapes!
Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to another installment of the Grab Bag, where I’ll happily point you in the direction of some really rad boards that are currently on sale. There are currently some great Seventies single fin surfboards floating around various corners of the internet, and here at Shred Sledz we see it as our duty to keep all you fine folks informed. Keep reading below for more…
I actually featured this board on my Instagram a few days back. First of all, I dig the swallow tail single fin combo. Actually, let me rewind: first of all, Herbie Fletcher is a legend, and for whatever reason, he doesn’t seem to shape boards that often these days. This Seventies Herbie shape looks to be in pretty good condition. It’s listed at $1,100, which I think is a bit on the steep side, but that’s not for me to decide.
Click the photos to enlarge. This Nectar Surfboards single fin looks like it could have been leaning against the wall of a house from “Boogie Nights.” The Seventies aesthetic is an easy punching bag for design snobs, but who cares?!. The painstaking spray job is truly a sight to behold, and there’s a bonus in the form of a lovely original Rainbow fin, too. The seller has listed this at $900. (I also happened to feature another Nectar board on Instagram today, too.)
Here’s a rad Bing surfboard with a very cool matching fin as well. This board is only $200, which I think is a great deal when you consider the fin is included. The Bing Seventies single fin has seen better days, for sure, but I think this is a great pickup.
I wrote up a different Infinity surfboard last week, and it looks like that one is still for sale. Anyway, the one above is yet another swallow tail single fin, and it’s got an awesome spray job. Original fin is included, too. No price is listed on the ad but it’s definitely a lovely example of a vintage Infinity Surfboards stick.
Greetings, Shredderz! By now some of you know that Herbie Fletcher is something of a Shred Sledz legend. Of course, Herbie is a legend, period, but more to the point, I have written abouthis boardsmany times before, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon. I’m also interested in surfboard prices, and a recent Herbie Fletcher egg popped up that gave a bit of insight into how much his boards sell for.
The board posted above is currently listed for sale on Craigslist, and you can find the listing here. All pics are via the listing.
The Herbie Fletcher egg is being listed at $600, and the price has been reduced a few times in the past few weeks. Initial asking price was $1,200. The same board was actually listed on Craigslist in November 2017 for $700, and it looks like it has changed hands since then. I would guess the board was shaped during the 80s and maybe the early 90s. The Herbie Fletcher thruster measures in at a solid 6’9″.
In my opinion $600 is pretty good for a Herbie Fletcher board, especially one in good condition, like the example shown here. And you know I’m a sucker for fins with logos on them!
What I have seen, though, is that Herbie’s boards can command a wide variety of prices. A Herbie Fletcher single fin recently sold on eBay for $100, but the board wasn’t in great condition, and it was also shaped by Dee Miller. On the flip side, there was a Herbie Fletcher double winged single fin that sold on eBay for $259, despite being in pretty bad condition, including a missing fin box. I’m honestly shocked the double winged single fin sold for as much as it did, given the amount of repairs required to get it water tight again, much less looking good. But I take the $259 price as an indication that there’s a healthy market for some of Herbie’s boards. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are two other Herbie Fletcher 70s single fins for sale on eBay. However, I think both are priced way too high: one is being listed for $3,200, and the other for $2,450.
One other thing that stands out is the fact that I don’t know who shaped the board. We know that Herbie employed some other shapers under his label, both from the Dee Miller board mentioned earlier here, as well as this previous post. But I can’t say either way with the egg thruster featured in this post.
So, how come the Herbie Fletcher egg above hasn’t sold yet? I honestly don’t know. If I had to guess, I would say that Herbie’s longboards and 70s single fins are his most collectible models. It appears the board is still for sale, so if you’re keen on snagging it, check out the Craigslist post here.
Greetings, Shredderz! As promised, we have another episode of Sagas of Shred, which features various bits of surf history from over the years. We have written about old Astrodeck ads before, but hey, you gotta keep drawing from the well until it’s dry! Today’s installment is an Astrodeck ad from the 1980s that features another murderer’s row of surfers. Pictured left to right: Willy Morris, Rabbit Bartholomew, Larry Bertlemann, Wes Laine, Gary Elkerton, and Chappy Jennings. The second picture has Hawaiian fixtures Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Rory Russell…because the All Star team assembled in the first one simply wasn’t enough! A lot has changed in surfing over the years, but Herbie Fletcher’s unparalleled ability to gather big name pros has not. Hope you enjoyed this post and tune in next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!