Larry Bertlemann for Rip Curl: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! I’m hoping maybe some of you caught my Sagas of Shred retrospective on Instagram today. And if you didn’t, don’t worry, because you’re here for the main event. Every week I post a scan of a vintage surf ad, plucked from my stash of vintage Surfer Magazines. Rip Curl has been a fixture of the Sagas of Shred series, thanks more to its roster of team riders over the years, than say the creative brilliance of Gotcha’s ad campaigns. Case in point: last week I wrote up a Rip Curl ad featuring Derek Hynd.

This time around there’s another ad from the venerable Victoria wetsuit brand, but featuring Larry “The Rubberman” Bertlemann. Before I flipped open a magazine just a few minutes ago, I didn’t even know that Bertlemann had ever ridden for Rip Curl. And a very quick and incomplete Google Image search didn’t turn up with any other good photos of Bertlemann rocking any Rip Curl gear, either.

But hey, the Rubberman can be seen not-so-subtly pointing to the Rip Curl logo in the ad you see above, so that should settle it. This ad ran in the May 1980 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 21, No 6).

And given that this is a blog about vintage surfboards, you know I’m going to have to geek out on the surfboard. If you look closely, you can see some Byrne logos towards the tail of Larry’s stick. Byrne Surfboards was founded in the Seventies by Australian brothers Phil and Chris. According to the Byrne website, during the Seventies the Byrne brothers were frequent visitors to Hawaii. During this time they struck up working relationships with both Shaun Tomson and Larry Bertlemann. Later on, Phil Byrne would gain even more attention for his collaborations with Tom Carroll.

This Rip Curl ad features the only example I have seen of a Byrne surfboard shaped for Larry Bertlemann. I can only guess that these are quite rare.

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back in a week with more Sagas of Shred!

T&C Surf, Dane Kealoha, Larry Bertlemann Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening here in California, and by now readers will hopefully know that means a heaping helping of vintage surf advertising goodness is about to be served up, courtesy of Sagas of Shred. If I do say so myself, the blog has been on a bit of a tear lately with regard to quality cuts of the Hawaiian variety. Here’s an absolutely killer Dane Kealoha T&C single fin shaped by Glenn Minami, and I also wrote up a tidy quiver of Hawaiian single fins, which included a different but no less bitchin’ T&C Minami stick.

For today’s Sagas of Shred entry we turn the clock back to 1982. Check out the classic T&C Surf ad you can see at the top of the page. The ad ran in the December 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 23, No 12). It features some stalwarts of the storied Town & Country Surf Designs brand. In the larger picture, from left to right, are Larry Bertlemann, Dane Kealoha and Randall Kim. Inset is a picture of Craig Sugihara, T&C’s founder, and Kealoha again. The photos in the ad were taken by Warren Bolster. Bertlemann and Kealoha need no introduction as two of the most famous Hawaiian pros from the Seventies. Rounding out the roster is Randall Kim, a standout big wave surfer from Hawaii who was later killed in a tragic shooting.

Since this is a vintage surfboard blog, we’re going to have to take a second to geek out on the photo props. Dane is posing alongside an incredible stick in the main picture. I can’t tell what the fin setup is, but the airbrush on the deck is insane. You can detect some wings towards the tail, but that’s about it.

The smaller photo in the ad was part of a larger photoshoot for the T&C brand. Here’s another photo from the same shoot, which I featured in an earlier Sagas of Shred post.

I’m calling it: the polo shirt tucked into short boardshorts is overdue for a comeback. All royalties can be paid to Shred Sledz Inc, thanks in advance.

In both ads Dane Kealoha can be seen posing with an awesome T&C twin fin. I can’t say who shaped it, sadly. But I can say that the airbrush is just as an incredible as the other board. It’s also cool to see Sugihara front and center, as he isn’t present in the brand’s marketing during its Eighties heyday.

Finally, I think these ads depict the T&C brand during an interesting point in its history. I would say T&C hit its peak popularity later on during the Eighties, and in the ads here you can see early signs of the aesthetic that would become world famous in just a few years. And for anyone with a passing interest in surf history, you simply can’t go wrong with the combination of the Rubberman, Kealoha, and one of Hawaii’s iconic surf brands.

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back next Thursday with more Sagas of Shred!

Clipz: Mikey February & More

Greetings, Shredderz! While the rest of you are probably ogling the goods at the Boardroom Show, I’m here in Northern California, trying to work up the enthusiasm for some blown out slop and otherwise wishing I were in San Diego. But hey, that means I’ve got some free time to write up some of the better surf videos I’ve seen recently, so I figure someone should benefit from my misery! Keep scrolling for more.

Nü RYTHMO: The Surfer’s Journal / Michael February / Sam Smith & Wade Carroll

We’ve been blessed with some quality surf clips as of late, but Nü RYTHMO just might have all of them beat. It should come as no surprise that this unique film comes courtesy of The Surfer’s Journal, which remains the standard for surf media. I usually associate TSJ with beautiful photographs and well-written articles, but I for one am extremely stoked to see them branching out a bit into videos. The latest issue of the magazine covers this trip, with some accompanying photos by Alan Van Gysen. If you don’t already subscribe, you need to. Van Gysen also shot the beautiful photos for Stab’s most recent Electric Acid Surfboard test with Steph Gilmore. February’s surfing is silky and unhurried, and for alternative surfboard nerds, it’s cool to see him schralping on an MR twin fin and a Campbell Brothers bonzer. This is a must watch.

The Shakes: Ryan Burch & Ryan Lovelace

Ryan Burch is a talented surfer / shaper from San Diego, and here he can be seen riding the creations of another craftsman who shares the same first name. Understandably, you mostly see videos of Burch surfing his own creations, but somehow I came across this older vid of Burch on a 7’10” v.Bowls. The v.Bowls is probably Lovelace’s most famous model, and Burch puts the board through its paces, managing to make some unremarkable surf look way more fun than it should.

Larry Bertlemann 16mm Footage

Here’s a super rad video that serves as a neat summary of all the things that make the Rubberman so cool. He starts off by explaining his fin placement preferences on his signature Aipa stings. I love seeing the stings being put through their paces in some proper Hawaiian juice, where Bertlemann cranks some seriously impressive bottom turns. Not only does Larry have a strong case for having the best hair in surfing history, he also rips skateboards barefoot while wearing a Hawaiian shirt, which is an incredible combo. And if that’s not enough to get your pulse going, Bertlemann nabs a macking switch stance barrel at what looks to be decent sized Pipe. All hail the Rubberman!

Photo at the top via Michael February’s Instagram

Social Media Roundup: Ben Aipa for Greg Noll Surfcenter & More…

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a selection of social media posts from the last month or so.

I’ve long held a fascination with the crossover of Australian and Hawaiian surfers and shapers, and this is one of the best I have seen yet. I love the contrast of styles here: Wayne Lynch‘s cool reserve and Larry Bertlemann’s brash style. Also, Larry’s wetsuit vest is absolutely killer.

I love Aipa and his signature sting, but one of his less-heralded models is the Transition Era single fin he made for Greg Noll’s Surfcenter shop in Hawaii. You don’t see these every day, and I love the sideways logo as well as the subtle blue resin pin lines on the deck. The photo at the top of the page was taken from a recent USVSA auction for a similar board, which you can see here.

Dick Brewer needs no introduction. I really dig this super rare board, one of the few surviving samples of his early Lahaina Surf Designs label (yes, the acronym is intentional). Make sure you scroll through the pics for a close up of the trippy logo.

Nothing too crazy here: just a super clean and lovely example of a classic Sixties longboard, the Rick Surfboards Dru Harrison Improvisor Model. I love the bright blue high density foam stringer and the matching glass on fin. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

Last but not least, here’s a gorgeous T&C Surf Designs sting from the Seventies. Not sure who shaped this bad boy, but it’s stunning. I think there’s a chance it may have been restored, judging from the impeccable condition, but either way you can’t go wrong with this one. I’ve said it before, but even though the Eighties T&C thrusters with the neon sprays are the most collectible vintage boards from the label, I just might like the Seventies single fins even more. In particular, I’m a sucker for that huge, clean old school yin yang logo.

As always, thanks for checking out the blog, and stay tuned for even more vintage surfboard goodness!

Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have another installment of Price Checks, coming in hot off the press. The subject of today’s entry is a unusual vintage Larry Bertlemann surfboard shaped under the Hawaiian Expressions label. All of the photos of the green Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions surfboard you see in this post are via the original eBay listing, which can be found here.

You can click the photos above to enlarge. As you can see, the vintage Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions surfboard is a Seventies single fin that looks to be in great condition. According to the seller, the board was shaped in 1974. Amazingly, the swallow tail is mostly intact. Given how delicate swallow tails are, it’s great to see one that is still sharp and undamaged.

According to the listing, the Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions board measures in at 7’6″ x 19 3/4″ x 2 7/8″.

Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions Signature.jpg
Close up of the signature on the Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions surfboard featured in this post. The “L.B.” indicates this board was shaped by the Rubberman himself.

The board was hand shaped by Larry himself, given the “LB” signature that can be found on the stringer. If you look closely in the photo above, you can see a 7’6″ inscribed on the stringer, and then a very faint “L.B.” to the right.

The final bidding for the vintage Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions surfboard ended at $1,901, not including $150 for shipping. I was very curious to see where the bidding might end, considering that Bertlemann’s famous Pepsi boards are some of the most collectible vintage surfboards out there. I most recently wrote up a Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Pro Designs surfboard that sold on eBay just about a month ago. The HPD board sold for $1,085, nearly half of the price of the Hawaiian Expressions board featured here. However, the Hawaiian Pro Designs / Bertlemann board was in much worse condition, and it had also had some restoration work done. My guess is a classic Seventies Bertlemann Pepsi board in impeccable condition will command more than just about any other kind of vintage Bertlemann shape.

That said, the Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions boards are unusual. In my opinion, this makes them very interesting collectors’ boards. I had personally never even heard of the Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions model until Buggs posted one on his Instagram about two weeks ago. In fact, I still can’t find any info on Hawaiian Expressions, and whether the label produced any other surfboards. See below for more pics of Buggs’ stick.

Buggs’ board and the green board that just sold on eBay have almost identical airbrush designs and laminates, except for the color differences. It’s interesting that Buggs’ Larry Bertlemann Hawaiian Expressions board is almost a foot shorter than the green eBay board; otherwise the width and thickness are pretty similar.

Finally, eagle eyed readers may have noticed that Bertlemann’s name is actually mis-spelled on the logo! Yikes, that is not the mistake you want to make when producing someone’s signature model, but I digress. At some point, I believe this logo was updated. Buggs has an excellent page on the Larry Bertlemann boards in his ridiculous collection, where you can see the refreshed Hawaiian Expressions logo.

As you can see in the photos above, the copywriters at Hawaiian Expressions got around to adding the second ‘N’ to Larry’s name. The updated version is the red board on the left, which comes courtesy of Buggs’ site. They also changed the image to a picture of the Rubberman doing a cutback, instead of the silhouette of Bertlemann walking with a board under his arm. I have to say I prefer the misspelled version, but that’s just me.

You can check out the original eBay listing here and make sure you check out Buggs’ Instagram and also his Surfboardline site.

Price Checks: T&C Surf / Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ll be examining one of the most coveted signature sticks out there: a T&C Surf / Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard. As I have written about before, getting concrete information on surfboard prices can often be tricky, but eBay makes things slightly easier, thanks to the fact it keeps up posts on completed listings even after the sale has closed. The Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard featured here just closed earlier today on eBay, and thankfully, the listing still has pics and prices. You can find the listing here; all photo in this post are via eBay.

This Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard closed at a cool $1,085, with an option to ship the board within the US for an additional $100. The board is a swallow tail twin fin and it measures 5’10” x 20″ x 3″. On one hand, I can’t say I’m that surprised, as these Larry Bertlemann boards are super popular among collectors. On the other, this board has discoloration throughout, and some additional restoration work has been done, too. The board is in decent condition, all things considered, but it’s also clearly not a perfect example. I see the price as an indication of how collectible Bertlemann surfboards are, given that it still went over $1K, even with its various imperfections. I’m curious to see what a similar Larry Bertlemann surfboard in excellent condition might fetch — I can’t see one going for anything less than $2,000, but that’s only a guess.

Larry Bertlemann Surfboard via Juice Magazine.jpg
Larry Bertlemann, AKA The Rubberman, going vertical. Photo by Jeff Divine and via a Juice Magazine interview between LB and Zephyr’s Jeff Ho

I still can’t quite figure out whether the Larry Bertlemann surfboard you see here is considered a Hawaiian Pro Designs board, or a T&C Surf Designs board. As you can see it has laminates from both brands. The T&C Surf Designs yin yang features prominently throughout the board, but all of the Pepsi Larry Bertlemann logos have Hawaiian Pro Designs on them, too. Hawaiian Pro Designs is best known for being Donald Takayama’s label during the later part of Takayama’s career. However, I simply don’t know about the earlier history of the Hawaiian Pro Designs brand. See here for a Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard that has a rare Olympic rings logo, but no mention of T&C. And here is another Larry Bertlemann surfboard, which has the T&C Surf Designs yin yang logos, but otherwise no T&C branding (looks like the sticker on the fins was added after the fact). Long story short, I don’t know how to classify the brands and/or labels for Larry Bertlemann’s various signature surfboard models.

I also don’t know who shaped the board. Bertlemann shaped some of his own surfboards. According to SurfboardLine.com, Takayama also shaped some twin fins for Bertlemann during the Seventies, but I’m not sure when. These Larry Bertlemann surfboards were produced under license in Australia for a while, too, but again, I’m not clear on who the production shapers were.

Finally, see below for a little video produced by Buggs Arico, the collector behind the aforementioned SurfboardLine.com. Buggs’ site has a great entry on Bertlemann, including a killer Larry Bertlemann surfboard producer under the killer Hot Lips Designs label, so check that out if you get the chance.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (Oct 6)

Greetings, Shredderz! I hope a weekend chock full of tasty waves is on the forecast. In the meantime, see below for a selection of some wonderful boards that have recently caught the eyes of the Shred Sledz editorial staff.

Ben Aipa. Town & Country Surfboards. Neon.

There is nothing else that needs to be said about this gem.

There’s actually a Harbour Trestle Special for sale on eBay right now. You can find the eBay board here. Unfortunately, the example that’s being sold isn’t in great condition, which is more or less expected, given the age of the board. The example above is super clean and it also has a great close-up shot of the fin. We’re big fans of Rich Harbour here at Shreddies, and we’re always on the lookout for a particularly cherry example of a Harbour Trestle Special!

I didn’t realize the iconic Larry Bertlemann twin fin board with the Pepsi spray job was also produced in Australia until I saw both posts above. LB’s legendary board is begging for a more in-depth feature. Stay tuned…

Hilarious Simon Anderson / Nectar Surfboards ad from back in the 1980s. According to the caption, the ad originally appeared in Australian Surfing Life magazine. I had always thought Nectar Surfboards had only distributed Anderson’s thrusters in the US, but I guess I was mistaken!

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!

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!

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (July 26)

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a sampling of some of the finest surfboard pictures recently found on the world wide web…

As I’ve written before, Lightning Bolt’s notoriety in the 1970s was a double-edged sword. The label’s popularity meant the signature bolt design was slapped on boards that had nothing to do with its Hawaiian bloodlines. Pictured above is a nice selection of genuine articles, via the Australian National Surfing Museum.

 

Yup, another classic piece of Hawaiian surf history, this time presented by the Lost & Found Collection. L&FC came about when its founder discovered boxes of pristine surf photography slides from the 1970s at a flea market. It has since blossomed into a wonderful project that supports surf photographers and the history of surfing. I highly recommend checking out the site and following them on Instagram, too. Pictured above is Larry Bertlemann alongside one of his signature Pepsi surfboards. Dying to know who the shaper might be…if anyone has more info, drop me a line!

 

If you object to the above post on the grounds that it’s not vintage enough, then I’d like to politely refer you to Andy Irons’ gesture in the photo. Happy belated birthday to The Champ, the only surfer to take on Slater during his prime and win.

 

Finally, I figured we’d throw our Aussie friends a little bone. Pictured above is Wayne Lynch with the first ever surfboard he shaped! It’s great to see a close up photo of this board, and one in color. For more on Lynch’s early boards, check out this earlier post, which is still one of the pieces of which I am proudest.

 

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Early 1960's #consurfboards #🐖 #singlefinlog

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Just a beautiful 1960s Con Surfboards log in lovely condition. Check out that D Fin! Love the color of the stringer…I love everything about this board, really.