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…

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One classic found in a 1982 issue of @surfinglife … 🌴

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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.

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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How to Tell if Ben Aipa Shaped Your Sting

First, the good news: there is an Aipa sting for sale on eBay, whose pictures I have included here. The board is in decent shape, and right now the current bid is a tidy $82.01.

Before I go get to the bad news, I’d like to give some background on Ben Aipa, who has made more than a few appearances on Shred Sledz. This is the first Shred Sledz post featuring a board that Aipa made under his own name.

The sting is Aipa’s claim to fame. The board pictured above is a classic example. You’ll see the wings extremely high up the board – well above the fin box – with a single fin setup in the back. Aipa’s stings frequently boast swallowtails, as well.

Aipa’s sting design (sometimes referred to as the stinger) is most associated with iconic Hawaiian surfers Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Larry Bertlemann. Here’s a picture of Aipa (on the left) with Buttons, in front of a spread of Aipa-shaped stings that would be worth a pretty penny today.

Photo by Steve Wilkings; courtesy of Surfline

And as a bonus, here’s another Aipa board, this time under the careful stewardship of legendary Aussie surfer / shaper Mark Richards, likely also taken sometime in the 1970s. Look at how far back MR has the fin!

Photo by Jeff Divine; courtesy of The Surfer’s Journal

So, back to what we were saying: there’s an Aipa for sale on eBay, it’s only $80 bucks or so, and it’s Aipa’s signature design. What’s not to like, right?

Well, fellow Shredderz, listen closely, because this is a lesson that I originally learned through a bit of bitter experience myself. If you look at the board for sale on eBay, you’ll notice that there is a small “Surfing’s New Image” script beneath the Aipa logo. I’ve included a close up here:

The sad fact is, the “Surfing’s New Image” boards were NOT shaped by Aipa. Rather, Aipa licensed his name to the “Surfing’s New Image” brand, and these boards were all shaped in California (not Hawaii, where Aipa is based) by a variety of different shapers, including Mike Slingerland, Rick Hamon, and apparently even Donald Takayama. This information was confirmed to me via an email with none other than Randy Rarick, the Don Dada of Hawaiian surfboard design.

I happened to make this rookie mistake, and I now am the proud owner of two VERY weathered SNI / Aipa stings that serve as a cautionary tale. (The caution is two-fold: make sure what you’re buying is legit, and NEVER tell your fiancee how much you spent on the boards.) See below for two examples: the first is unsigned (likely shaped by Slingerland, but who knows), and the second has a clear Hamon signature and serial number.

Photos courtesy of the Shred Sledz Signature Collection ™

You’ll see a lot of stings online with the SNI branding. I won’t tell you to steer clear of these boards completely, as they are still genuine, rad 70s shapes. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that these are on par with real handmade Aipa boards.

Aipa has signed many of his boards, and you can see below for an example of a clearly identifiable Aipa signature, taken from a late 90s thruster he shaped.

However, it’s also worth noting that Aipa seems to have shaped some boards, at least back in the 70s, that didn’t have his signatures. Here’s an example of Larry Bertlemann with an Aipa (note the “Wave Crest Hawaii” branding beneath Aipa’s name) that doesn’t appear to have a visible signature anywhere on the deck. (It also has a pintail instead of the standard swallowtail design, which is an interesting touch.)

Photo by Steve Wilkings; courtesy of Surfline

I won’t get too into the weeds of signatures. Just note that “Surfing’s New Image” boards, even if they bear Aipa’s name and his best-known silhouette, were not shaped by Aipa himself.

Here is a link to the board you can find on eBay, and if you happen to find a genuine 70s sting for cheap, feel free to send it my way!

Takayama, Bertlemann…and Pepsi?

A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool?

Larry Bertlemann.

Photo from The Inertia; copyright Art Brewer.

Mr. Bertlemann, the Hawaiian pro surfer dubbed “Rubberman” for the physics-defying body torqued that defined his surfing, was one of the best known surfers of the 70s.

Bertlemann was one of the few men who could truly lay claim to having a signature style, whether it was his radical surfing, his awesome hair, or, of course, his surfboards. Bertlemann was sponsored by Pepsi during the height of his career. He embraced his role as an ambassador (some might say billboard), going as far as to decorate his boards with the Pepsi logo.

The Pepsi boards have not only become synonymous with Bertelmann’s legacy, they are one of the more enduring symbols of 70s Hawaiian surf culture itself.

One of Bertelmann’s infamous Pepsi boards is currently up for grabs on eBay. It is a classic twin-fin swallowtail shape (not sure if it qualifies as a fish or not…anyone got thoughts here?). Even better, it bears a Donald Takayama signature, and one of Takayama’s clear bird logos (I believe it’s an ewa / frigate bird, but also cannot confirm). There’s a bit of damage around one of the glassed on fins, but hey — that’s a small price to pay for an iconic piece of Hawaiian surfing history.

Check it out on eBay here.