Herbie Fletcher Longboard

Greetings, Shredderz! I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving weekends. And for you non-Seppo readers, I hope one day you get to enjoy the sheer delight of a holiday predicated around overeating. But I digress. Fresh off last week’s post about a 1980s ad for Astrodeck and Herbie Fletcher Surfboards comes a real-life example of a Herbie Fletcher longboard for sale. I have included pictures of the board below. Pics are via the Craigslist posting (in Boston, of all places).

Based on the color scheme alone, I would guess this bad boy was shaped sometime in the 1980s or the 1990s. The seller claims the measurements are 9’0″ x 24″ x 3″. Stoked-n-Board claims the logo in the second picture, featuring a silhouette of Herbie noseriding, was used between 1976 and 1996. I suspect the noseriding logo was featured more frequently during the 1980s and 1990s, but I can’t say for sure.

One other quick note about the Herbie Fletcher longboard, as illustrated in last week’s post: there’s no signature anywhere on the board, so there’s a good possibility the board was shaped by someone else. Stoked-n-Board lists Rick Rock and Steve Knoll as shapers that made boards under the Herbie Fletcher label, but does not make any mention of Mike Perry.

The Herbie Fletcher longboard pictured above is going for $500. I don’t know whether or not this is a fair price. I think a lot rides on whether or not Herbie shaped the board himself. If I had to guess, I would assume that 1980s and 1990s Herbie Fletcher boards go for cheaper than 70s single fins, but I haven’t seen enough on sale to say for sure.

You can check out the Craigslist posting for the Herbie Fletcher longboard here.

Early Herbie Fletcher Astrodeck Ad: Sagas of Shred (Shredzgiving Edition)

Is Shredzgiving the worst portmanteau in the history of the English language? Quite possibly. Am I going to roll with it anyway? You know it. This year I am thankful for the following: tasty waves, vintage sticks, family, friends and the bro-deal of a lifetime, in which a generous soul gave me a few decades’ worth of Surfer Magazine for free. Sagas of Shred came about when I would read old issues of Surfer Magazine and stumble across some amazing old advertisements that were able to capture surf history in a unique manner. Moreover, I was taken aback by the fact that not a whole lot of effort had been made to preserve the content in these ads. Some companies, like Clark Foam, have simply ceased to exist. A few companies, like Harbour Surfboards, have great archives, but for the most part, the only way to view old surf ads is to hoard a collection of magazines large enough to guarantee marital strife. Today’s Sagas of Shred post features a Herbie Fletcher Astrodeck ad from a 1979 issue of Surfer Magazine.

Astrodeck was founded in 1976, which means the ad above is from the brand’s earlier days. You’ll note that the ad pre-dates Astrodeck’s now-famous logo. There are a few other details that stand out. First, during the height of Astrodeck’s popularity, it boasted a team roster stocked to the gills with standout pros. The Astrodeck ad above features team riders Jimmy Spring and Mark Tomb, neither of whom I had heard of before.

Second, the Astrodeck ad doubles as a promotion for Herbie Fletcher Surfboards. It also mentions Mike Perry as a shaper on the Herbie Fletcher Surfboards roster. I had written an earlier Sagas of Shred post featuring longtime Campbell Brothers associate Russ Short which mentioned how Short had begun riding Mike Perry’s shapes. I can only assume the Mike Perry in the Astrodeck ad is the same one who made boards for Russ Short. For some later Astrodeck ads, check out some earlier posts I wrote. I think the 80s Herbie Fletcher Astrodeck ads are more representative of what we tend to associate with the legendary traction brand.

Last but not least, I am especially thankful for my readers. I can’t even begin to say how much I appreciate the fact people have taken the time to read this humble little blog. It has been an incredible amount of fun to research vintage surfboards and surf history and to write about it. As always, I love nothing more than hearing from readers, so feel free to reach out at any time. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and stay tuned for bigger and better things from your friends at Shred Sledz!

Astrodeck Ad: Sagas of Shred

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!

The Infamous Square Nose Herbie Fletcher Surfboard!

Greetings, Shredderz! First, let’s ignore the fact that I spend my Friday nights combing through Craigslist in search of great vintage surfboards. Instead, I’d like to focus on the positives. Tonight’s silver lining is nothing other than a great example of a vintage Herbie Fletcher surfboard that is currently being listed for sale.

Pictured above is a Herbie Fletcher surfboard with a squared off-nose. This board is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. You can find a link to the listing here. The board measures in at 8’6″ and it is being offered for $1,000. I don’t have any historical prices on Fletcher surfboards. With that said, it’s difficult to find Herbie’s shapes for sale online. I was able to find two other Herbie Fletcher surfboards that are currently for sale. First is what looks like an old 1970s single fin for sale on eBay, which is listed at $2,450. Second is another 1970s single fin, this one with a winged swallow tail setup, which is listed on Craigslist for $3,200. I don’t view any of these prices as definitive, but I figured it’s helpful to have comparisons. I’d also like to point out that both of the single fins for sale have been up for grabs for a while now, which indicates that these prices are probably on the higher side.

Square Nose Herbie Fletcher Surfboard Noserider.jpg
The original Wave Warrior himself holding one of his squared off longboard designs. Note this board has a swallow tail, whereas the Craigslist board above has a squash tail. Pic via SIMA

I’m not sure when the yellow Craigslist board was made. In the Art Brewer image at the top of the post, which Herbie also shared to his Instagram, Herbie describes the board as a 7’11” shape that was made in 1976. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give much insight as to when the yellow board was shaped.

As you can see, I embedded a few posts from both Herbie and Dibi Fletcher’s Instagram accounts. I highly recommend giving both a follow. Herbie was also recently honored by the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association, and I recommend reading his wife Dibi’s tribute to him here.

Finally, here’s the link to the Herbie Fletcher surfboard for sale on Craigslist, which you can find here.

1980s Astrodeck Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred, where I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of surf culture from years past. Pictured above is an Astrodeck ad that appeared in the August 1985 issue of Surfer Magazine (Volume 26, No. 8). The ad features none other than the following surfers: Rabbit Bartholomew, Larry Bertlemann, Greg Day, Gary Elkerton, Herbie Fletcher, Marvin Foster, Hans Hedemann, Michael Ho, Marty Hoffman, Jim Hogan, Vince Klyn, Buzzy Kerbox, Wes Laine, Buddy Lomas, Gerry Lopez, Barton Lynch, Tony Moniz, Willy Morris, Paul Peterson, Martin Potter, Joe Roper, and Rory Russell (whew!). That kind of list is only fitting for a product considered to be the “ultimate in competitive traction.” Bonus points if you can match the names to all the faces!

Astrodeck: A Fletcher Family Production

Surfing is a sport with more than its fair share of characters. And even by this standard, the combined Hoffman / Fletcher clan stands out for its per capita density of colorful personalities.

As a quick aside, while previous posts have covered various members of the extended Fletcher family, none have made mention of Dibi Fletcher (nee Hoffman). Dibi is Herbie‘s wife, and in addition to being the mother of Christian and Nathan Fletcher, both of whom are renowned pro surfers, Dibi plays a large role in running the day-to-day business of Astrodeck. Like Herbie, Dibi is descended from veritable surf royalty: her father, Walter Hoffman, was an early big wave surfer and surfwear industry pioneer, and sister Joyce was an early female pro, as well. See below for an incredible old ad Joyce Hoffman did for Triumph, of all brands.

RVCA, which has a history of collaborating with the Fletcher family, trained the latest episode of its “Inspired by…” video series on Herbie and the story behind the famed Astrodeck brand. The video coincides with the release of a new RVCA x Astrodeck collaboration. You can find more detail on the collaboration here.

And while the new RVCA project is focused on Astrodeck, the surfboard traction company that Herbie and family built into one of the original surf accessories brands, given that this is a vintage surfboard blog, we can’t let this entry go without highlighting some of Herbie’s shapes!

There’s currently a Herbie Fletcher-shaped single fin for sale on Craigslist in New Jersey, and you can find pictures of it below. Link to the Craigslist post for the board can be found here.

There are some open dings on the board that will need a bit of work to get it water tight. Click through to the listing for more details. Even though the board needs work the spray job has been beautifully preserved. I’m intrigued by the combination of a single wing pintail along with the twin fin setup, which feels unusual to me. There’s no signature on the board anywhere that I can see, but I don’t know that Herbie ever signed most of his boards.

According to Stoked-n-Board, some of Fletcher’s boards were subcontracted out to other shapes. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing whether this one was shaped by Herbie himself.

There’s an Instagram user who found an old Herbie board in Baja at a surf shop near K38. He has some clear pictures of the board, and even some footage of him surfing it! It looks like a rad 70s single fin.

#SwamisLove @nolanpowerphotography

A post shared by John Afshari (@johnafshari) on

You would think that there would be more information available online about Herbie’s boards, but sadly, it takes a bit of digging. If any of you eagle-eyed readers have more examples of Fletcher’s handshapes, I would love to see them!

Finally, if you want to check out the board featured above, the seller is asking $525, and you can check out the board on Craigslist here.

The Original Wave Warrior: Herbie Fletcher

Photo by Jeff Divine; Courtesy of Surfline.com

For most of us mortals, December signifies the arrival of the holidays. It’s time to spend time with family, watch “Home Alone” again, drink egg nog, or maybe just use the time as an excuse to do some otherwise unjustifiable amounts of online shopping.

For the surf industry, though, December is a month of pilgrimage. Surfers from around the world descend upon the North Shore of Oahu, turning the sleepy island town of Haleiwa into the pulsing center of the surf world for a few intense weeks.

One of the best known rituals of the North Shore is the annual Wave Warriors photo shoot. The Wave Warriors shoot gathers some of the best surfers in the world. The original shoot was done back in 1983, to coincide with the release of the surf movie of the same name. After a long lull, the Wave Warriors shoot was restarted again a few years ago, with the same premise of gathering the world’s best surfers for a group photo.

The Wave Warriors maestro is none other than surfing legend Herbie Fletcher. Legend can be an overused term, and I have to admit, as I write this I am getting flashes of panic thinking about times I have used this word to describe others whose impact on surfing has been a fraction of Herbie’s. Among other things, Fletcher is an artist, the creator of surf traction original Astrodeck, and father to sons Christian and Nathan, both of whom are long-time pros. (Christian’s signature boards are particularly prized at Shred Sledz HQ).

Herbie Fletcher enjoying a coconut on the North Shore of Oahu in 1969. Photo by Art Brewer; Courtesy of Encyclopedia of Surfing

Herbie is also a surfboard shaper. As the 2016 edition of the Wave Warriors shoot is wrapping up – stay tuned for pics – I figured it would be as good a time as any to explore some of the boards that Herbie has made.

First, there is a Herbie Fletcher gun currently for sale on eBay. The board is being sold out of Japan, which explains the insane price (upwards of $3,000). Nonetheless, it’s an excellent example of a real deal Herbie Fletcher shaped board.

You can see the distinctive arrow logo, as well as the clear “Herbie Fletcher” logo in the center. I’m guessing the narrow swallowtail is likely from sometime in the 70s. You can see the original listing here as well. The listing advertises this as a “Sunset Gun”, meaning the board was designed for the big open ocean peaks of Sunset Beach, one of the North Shore’s most demanding waves. I can’t find anything that supports this, but given Fletcher’s history and the board’s design, including the unusually thick stringer, this all sounds very plausible.

I’ve seen examples of Herbie’s boards that have his name inscribed in the arrow logo, and those that are blank. First, here’s a clearer example of another Herbie Board with his name on the logo:

Apparently the board is for sale for $350 (!) and it is from 1974. The website looks like it might not have been updated in some time, but if that’s a real price then that board might be my very thoughtful gift to Mrs Shred Sledz (a la the time Homer Simpson bought Marge a bowling ball for her birthday).

Island Trader Surf posted a primo example on their blog a little while back. I’ve reproduced the picture below, and you can see there’s even a “Dana Point” visible as part of the logo, signifying the board’s place of origin:

Here’s a shot of Herbie surfing one of his own creations, and you can see his name is noticeably missing form the arrow logo:

Photo by A-Frame; courtesy of Surfline.com

I hope this was a helpful rundown of Herbie Fletcher’s various board designs. As always, feel free to leave me any feedback, and happy shredding!