Lightning Strikes: Vintage Lightning Bolt Surfboards Auction

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’re going to cover the recently concluded Lightning Strikes auction. Put on by the folks at California Gold, Lightning Strikes focused specifically on Seventies Lightning Bolt Surfboards single fins.

I was curious about the auction for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Lightning Bolt is still likely the most famous surfboard label ever. The brand’s enduring popularity is remarkable. This isn’t exactly an original point of view, but Lightning Bolt is classic for all the right reasons. The brand boasts an iconic logo, an incredible roster of shapers and an equally talented team representing some of the most famous folks in surf history.

Secondly, I was also curious to see what kind of prices these Lightning Bolt surfboards would fetch. This is particularly true given that California Gold was experimenting with a new auction format for the first time, with a lineup exclusively made up of Lightning Bolt sticks, versus the usual, varied selection.

A lot of the boards ended up selling for less than the expected prices listed alongside each piece. I’m not sure why that’s the case. I think pricing surfboards is difficult, period. There is an incredible amount of variance between individual boards along numerous attributes: color, condition, dimensions, etc. Add to that fact that boards are somewhat illiquid — how many Bolts are publicly sold every year? — and you have a recipe for inconsistent pricing.

That said, while it’s interesting to talk prices, that’s not why we’re all here. At the end of the day the Lighting Strikes auction had a really nice collection of Seventies Bolts, covering a number of notable shapers. Below you can find some of my favorites. These aren’t necessarily the most well-known or most collectible boards, but the ones I thought were cool.

1978 7’6″ Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt Pintail Pipeliner – $20,000. (Est $8K – $10K)

Well, this one blew it out of the water! This wasn’t my favorite board, per se, but covering the auction without mentioning the sole Lopez in the lot would be like writing about the Chicago Bulls in the Nineties without mentioning the words “Michael Jordan.” What I really love about the listing is that they show the condition of the board before and after. You can also check out the super clear signature on the board, too. My general rule of thumb — which I do not claim is infallible — is that it’s a really Gerry hand shape when he signs his name on the stringer in call caps, just like the photo above. (Here’s another blog post on the topic.)

1975 8’2″ Hakman Parrish Single Fin – $4,200 (Est $6K – $8K)

This Tom Parrish-crafted missile was one of the two unrestored boards in the entire auction. The other was an original, gorgeous “California Bolt” shaped under license at the Hobie factory, by either Terry Martin or Mickey Munoz. I really don’t mind an older board that shows some of its age. The Hakman Parrish logo with the two palm trees is a favorite, and the details on this board are so killer, whether it’s the gorgeous original fin or the nice triple stringer setup. Apparently it’s unclear if the black resin pin lines were added after the fact, but count me among those who aren’t bothered at all by this.

1975 7’8″ Lightning Bolt Mike Diffenderfer Wing Pintail – $3,700 ($5K – $8K Est)

I’ve had a long fascination with Mike Diffenderfer‘s shapes. As is the case with the Gerry Lopez board above, you can see the before and after photos of the board’s restoration process. This is true of a number of boards listed for sale at the auction site, and I definitely recommend checking it out. Anyway, in my humble opinion there are few surfboard designs as beautiful and pure as the winged pintail single fin, and this Diffenderfer delivers in that regard.

Photo at the top of the page by John Durant

Social Media Roundup: May 2019

You know the drill, Shredderz! See below for a selection of some of my favorite social media posts over the past month or so.

This is the only example of a Hakman / Parrish laminate that I have seen. Wish I knew more about the board but it’s gorgeous. Lately I’ve become more interested in Tom Parrish’s career — even more so after reading his Encyclopedia of Surfing entry, which mentions how Parrish became a lawyer in the Eighties. Photo at the top of the page features Hakman on a Parrish shape; photo is courtesy of the excellent Lyttle Street blog.

I haven’t seen Buggs’ collection myself, but judging by what he posts, both on Instagram and Surfboardline.com (which sadly appears to be down right now), it’s filled with gems. If you the photo above doesn’t immediately make you bring your phone within two inches of your face and start frantically zooming in, then I might not be able to help you.

Pictured above is one of my favorite boards that I have seen online: an all original Jeff Ho / Zephyr surfboard with some incredible colors. Apparently the owner was able to snag this for a song, too.

Here’s Carl Ekstrom, the creator of the asymmetrical surfboard, posing alongside a newer shape via Ryan Lovelace, on a fancy new Varial Foam blank, too. I love it when surfboard design comes full circle like this.

Vintage Bing Bonzer Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening here in California, and so I’m obligated to serve up some more vintage surf ads for all you kind folks. Usually, the Sagas of Shred series features ads that I have personally scanned from my stash of Surfer Magazine back issues. Today’s post, however, features an ad that I found somewhere on the internet. If this is your original scan or upload please let me know so I can give credit where it is due! Anyway, today we have a vintage Bing Bonzer ad. The original file had 1973 in the filename, so I’m guessing the ad may have run that same year. According to the old Stoked-n-Board archives, the Bing Bonzer was produced between 1973 and 1976, so the timing adds up. Still, I don’t have any confirmation around the date.

That said, it’s probably best to focus on the downright sexy curves of the cherry red Bing Bonzer featured in the advertisement. I’ve geeked out about the Bing Bonzer many, many times before, and I still can’t get enough! By now you may know that I’m a huge fan of the branded side bites, but you can also see they’re complemented by a cool Bing branded fin in the ad above.

Last but not least the testimonials are all-time, too. Who is Wildman?! More importantly, the Bing Bonzer bears the stamp of approval from folks like Steve Wilkings, Jeff Hakman, Dru Harrison, and of course, the Campbell Brothers, who were responsible for creating the landmark design in the first place. Tiger Makin was a Rick Surfboards team rider alongside Dru Harrison. Between Makin and Dru Harrison, along with Rick Surfboards’ early ties to the Bing label, this rare Rick Surfboards / Mike Eaton bonzer I posted on Instagram recently is starting to make more sense. I had no idea that Hakman and Harrison had anything to do with the Bonzer before seeing this ad. Then again, the Bonzer has had no shortage of notable fans in its forty plus years, ranging from the folks mentioned above to people like Taylor Knox and Alex Knost.

Tune in next week for more Sagas of Shred!

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 30)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you are all having fantastic weekends. Without any further ado, here’s a selection of social media posts that have recently caught my eye.

Christian Fletcher’s signature model is the coolest. Raddest. Most-shredding-est. Choose whatever superlative you prefer; I just can’t get enough of these things.

Hit the “Continue Reading” link below for some more vintage surfboard goodness…

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