Jacobs Single Fin by Redman

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post is a quickie, but that doesn’t make this board any less stunning. Pictured below is a stunning Seventies single fin shaped under the Jacobs label by storied underground shaper Robert “Redman” Manville. The pictures of this board come courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Steve Wray, whom you might remember for his absolutely killer Jacobs Mike Purpus V.

Surfer Magazine ran a small obituary for Redman for his passing in 2004. The obituary credits Redman as a legendary East Coast shaper. Before that, Redman had his roots in the South Bay near Los Angeles, which would explain his involvement with Jacobs, which has its roots in Hermosa Beach.

There are some interesting details about this board that I can’t quite line up with any research I was able to find online. The owner tells me the board was shaped during the 1970s, and between the unusual logo above, the airbrush and the board’s outline, I can’t imagine otherwise. However, Stoked-n-Board’s Jacobs Surfboards entry doesn’t list an owner for the brand between 1971 and 1976. Moreover, they list Manville as having shaped for Jacobs during the 1990s, with no mention of an earlier stint. Still, I would be shocked if this were a reproduction — the Redman surfboard above has all the hallmarks of a Seventies single fin.

I don’t see a signature for the airbrush anywhere, but the board’s owner speculates it might have been done by the one and only Jack Meyer. I don’t have any proof, but with the bright colors and dolphins, the airbrush definitely could have been done by Meyer.

This Redman shape might not command eye-popping prices at the next high-end auction, but that’s not the point. I absolutely love this board, starting from the contrast between the clean and simple deck and then the over the top madness of the airbrush on the bottom. In addition, I have a soft spot for well-regarded but still mostly underground shapers like Redman. More than anything else, though, I love the board because it suggests that if you’re into vintage surfboards and you’re down to explore just a tiny bit, you can find all sorts of unique little gems that have so much unseen history behind them.

Thanks again Steve for sharing the pics, and if you have a board you’d like to share, please do let me know.

Making a Splash: Jacobs Mike Purpus V Redux

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.

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Now THIS is a quiver. Check out the board second from right. It has a remarkably similar acid splash paint job to Steve Wray’s board, which is featured in this post.

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.

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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.

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Vintage Jacobs ad featuring Robert August and Mike Purpus. Purpus can be seen on the bottom. I believe this is from Purpus’ earlier days riding for the label, but I’m not certain. Pic via Easy Reader News

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.

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Katin ad from 1973 featuring Purpus at the top right. Pic via Katin USA

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.

Shred on and thanks for reading!

 

Jacobs Mike Purpus V: A Shred Sledz Deep Dive

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.

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Mike Purpus ripping on what looks like a transitional shape. Photo by Steve Wilkings; originally posted on Surfline

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.

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The original Jacobs Mike Purpus Model was a noserider released in 1967. Pictured above is an example from 1967, and not a re-release. Pic via JDUBsingles

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.

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Check out that rump! Pic via Craigslist

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.

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Mike Purpus on the left with Hap Jacobs on the right. I believe this photo was taken within the last five years or so, but I’m not certain. Pic via Tahome.net

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).

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Love the beautiful classic graphic design on this poster for “The Fantastic Plastic Machine.” I’m not sure who’s pictured surfing. Pic via Surf Classics

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.

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Reproduction of a late 1960s Body Glove wetsuits ad featuring the famous Jacobs Surf Team. The acid splash designs on the boards look very similar to the Jacobs Mike Purpus V featured earlier in this post. Pic via SHACC

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.