Here’s a great vintage Lightning Bolt ad from 1980 that originally appeared in Surfer Magazine. I love the corporate goals laid out in the ad (“Surf your brains out! Get tubed!”). Thanks for reading and check back in next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads.
Greetings, Shredderz! It’s that time of year again: the Boardroom Show is almost upon us. For those of you unfamiliar, the Boardroom Show is an annual event that showcases the surfboard manufacturing industry. Sadly, I won’t be in attendance this year, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings.
While there’s a ton of great stuff about the show — for starters, Wayne Lynch will be making an appearance — in this blog post I’ll simply cover my favorite boards from the accompanying California Gold Surf Auction. The auction closes in less than three days, so hop on it if you’re eyeing any of the pristine sleds that are up for grabs.
It’s interesting to note how the selection of boards has changed over time. In my write up of last year’s auction I noted the increasing popularity of Eighties neon / Echo Beach influenced designs. I think this year’s California Gold Surf Auction represents a bit of a return to the classics. There are a ton of Sixties longboards, some cool Transition Era shapes, and a host of cool Seventies single fins, and some newer stuff, too.
You can learn more about the Boardroom Show here, and see here for a full list of the boards listed at auction. All photos in this post are via the Boardroom Show’s website. Keep reading below for a brief summary of my personal favorites from the 2019 California Gold Surf Auction:
Terry Fitzgerald Hot Buttered Winged Pin (Link)
If you forced me to choose a favorite board from the auction, I think this would be it. I think Fitz’s boards are still a bit underrated here in the States, and this one has it all. How about that rainbow stringer? The airbrush on the bottom is killer, and the unmistakable, sleek Seventies outline is gorgeous. You can read my post on an unusual Fitz-shaped Lightning Bolt here.
Rick Rasmussen Seventies Single Fin (Link)
As a native New Yorker, I will always think of Rick Rasmussen as the gold standard for Empire State surfing. (Apologies to Balaram Stack, who is another favorite.) Here’s an absolutely stunning Rick Rasmussen single fin that’s listed for sale. The board pictured above is in much better condition than a previous Rasmussen surfboard I wrote up earlier this year. Click the photos to enlarge and get a shot of the black pin line on the deck.
Bing David Nuuhiwa Lightweight Fabric Inlay (Link)
The Bing David Nuuhiwa Lightweight is special enough on its own, but this example has the rare and gorgeous floral fabric inlay. I love the color of fabric pattern, especially in contrast with the fin. I have nothing against boards that have been fully restored, but I prefer them all original, imperfections and all. If anything, I dig the natural look of the slight discoloration on the deck.
Tom Parrish Lightning Bolt (Link)
Here’s another gorgeous Hawaiian heat seeking missile. Lightning Bolt is a classic for a reason. The board is all original, and for my money, I think it’s one of the prettiest sticks in the entire auction lineup. Check out that subtle double pin line, and the creamsicle colorway — complete with matching glass on fin — won’t ever go out of style. Parrish, of course, is a legendary shaper and one of the Lightning Bolt OGs. He’s still making boards today, so hit him up!
Miscellaneous / Final Thoughts
In no particular order, here are some other boards that I thought were really rad:
- Rainbow Surfboards Mike Hynson Downrailer: Probably the single most beautiful board in the auction this year (and also one of the priciest.)
- Skip Frye 50th Anniversary Fish Simmons: Featuring some cool artwork by Skip’s wife, Donna
- Russell Surfboards / The Brotherhood balsa gun shaped by Bruce Jones. The chambers are filled with ping pong balls (!)
- Surf Line Hawaii single fin pintail shaped by Barry Kanaiaupuni. This board has made the auction circuit a few times but it’s all original and gorgeous.
I realize some of my picks are a little unorthodox, but I like what I like, and that tends to skew more towards the Seventies and Eighties. No matter what, though, if you’re interested in surfboards, you can’t go wrong by giving the auction lots a closer look. Check out the California Gold Surf Auction site here and if you’re in San Diego, the Boardroom Show is well worth your time.
Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred, the series that brings new vintage surf ads every single Thursday. Here we have an old Lightning Bolt ad featuring none other than Margo Oberg. Oberg’s entire Encyclopedia of Surfing entry is well worth the read. Not only was she a trailblazer on the women’s pro surfing scene, Oberg also won her first world title at the age of fifteen! Anyway, check out the article. The ad you see above ran in the June 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 23, No 6). Oberg was not yet thirty when this ad ran, and yet she was already a surf fixture.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you next week for more Sagas of Shred!
Greetings, Shredderz! For tonight’s entry in Sagas of Shred we’ve got something quick but undeniable: an early Eighties Lightning Bolt ad featuring none other than Rory Russell posing with a quiver of his own boards. I actually posted a Lightning Bolt Rory Russell twin fin on Instagram earlier today. I really love the distinctive graphics on Rory’s Bolt boards, which include dual angled bolts on the deck and some color. Russell, also affectionately known as “Dog”, was an early mainstay on the Lightning Bolt roster. It’s too bad the Lightning Bolt Rory Russell ad above doesn’t showcase the tails and fins on the boards, but it’s still a doozy.
Thanks for reading and check back in next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads on Sagas of Shred!
Greetings, Shredderz! For many of you it’s a three day weekend, which means even more time to consider making an ill-advised surfboard purchase. If your money is really burning a hole in your pocket, keep reading for some ideas on where to spend your hard earned cash.
G&S Swallowtail Single Fin (Craigslist Los Angeles)
I really dig the outline on this Gordon & Smith surfboard. It measures in at a generous 7’8″. I also love the double blue pinline around the rails. Not sure how you would describe this, exactly, as it’s a good deal bigger than you might expect for a standard single fin. It almost looks like an oversized fish, but there’s only one fin. The seller is asking $430, which I think is pretty fair.
Surf Line Hawaii Ryan Dotson Single Fin (Craigslist Orange County)
To me, Surf Line Hawaii is something of an unsung surfboard brand, considering the incredible lineup of shapers that mowed foam under the label. (For more on Surf Line Hawaii, you can check out the Deep Dive I wrote here.) Here’s a gorgeous Ryan Dotson shaped Seventies single fin that’s currently listed for sale. I can’t tell if the board was restored at some point, but either way, it’s gorgeous. Check out the cool glass on fin, too.
Mystery Lightning Bolt (Craigslist Orange County)
I have no idea whether or not the board pictured above is a genuine Lightning Bolt. Bolt is probably the single most ripped off surfboard brand ever. During the Seventies people pumped out tons of boards with the iconic logo that had absolutely nothing to do with the Hawaiian label. A few people on Instagram suspect that it might have been shaped by Tom Eberly. I can’t say one way or another whether that’s likely, but I love the detail of the Bolts on the rails.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post features a classic board: what looks to be an original Seventies Lightning Bolt single fin. This board comes to Shred Sledz courtesy of a reader, who emailed me the photos. Many thanks for the submission (and a reminder that if you have any cool boards to share, I’m always interested, whether it’s by email or DMs on Instagram).
You can click on any of the above photos to zoom in. As you can see, this vintage Bolt is still in beautiful condition. I love what appears to be a grey resin tint on the exterior, and the glassed on fin gives some beautiful pop against the neutral color of the board.
The downside to Lightning Bolt’s status as the surfing brand of the Seventies meant its logo was shamelessly ripped off during this time. It’s common to see boards shaped during the Seventies bearing the signature Bolt logo that had absolutely nothing to do with the brand. As a result, it can be a bit tricky to identify so-called “authentic” Lightning Bolt boards.
Before we go in-depth on the grey board, let’s discuss a quick note on the inconsistent nature of Lightning Bolt logos. There is a huge variation in the number of different logos on vintage Bolts, even when looking strictly at authentic examples. See below for two examples:
The yellow board on the left is a Rory Russell board; the blue board on the right was shaped by Tom Parrish. (Note: I’m not 100% sure that both of these boards are vintage.) The proportions in the respective Bolt logos are completely different. I would consider both of these boards genuine, given the signatures, and as you can see below, these two logos are also very different from the two-tone shadow effect on the grey Bolt single fin.
What’s really interesting about the grey board is the small “akoni” text that appears beneath the Bolt. This is almost certainly Roy Stamm’s handwriting. I have seen Roy Stamm mentioned as an original Lightning Bolt shaper during the Seventies. The other data point I have is a certified authentic Terry Fitzgerald-shaped board for Lightning Bolt, which was glassed by Roy Stamm. You can find a link to the Fitz-shaped Bolt here.
I was able to find another example of a Roy Stamm signature, which you can see on the blue board above and to the right. The orange and yellow board is Roy Stamm’s handwritten Lightning Bolt text from the Terry Fitzgerald board, which was certified by Fitz himself. The blue board was shaped by Wayne Santos, I believe, and likely glassed by Stamm. This leads me to believe the grey Lightning Bolt single fin that was sent in by a reader was at least glassed by Stamm, and possibly shaped by him, too. Therefore I believe the grey Lightning Bolt was shaped in Hawaii during the Seventies, but I can’t say for sure who the shaper was.
The final aspect about the grey Bolt is the “akoni” text. I have no idea what this means. As always, if you have any ideas, please let me know!
Many thanks to the reader who submitted the photos of this beautiful Lightning Bolt single fin!
First of all, I’d like to say that I find this Eighties Japanese Lightning Bolt ad deeply offensive. As a new dad with a long-standing aversion to non-surfing related exercise, I feel body shamed by the presence of these very fit gentlemen.
In all seriousness, I love this ad. It ran on the back cover of the September 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol. 23 No. 9). For a good chunk of the Eighties, the Lightning Bolt brand staked out the primo real estate on the back cover of Surfer Magazine. The end result was a pretty inspired set of ads. You can rest assured I’ll continue to post more of them here!
You’ll notice the bottom right hand corner of the ad reads “For translation go to page 26.” I have copied and pasted the translated text below:
A PURE SOURCE AROUND THE WORLD
The Lightning Bolt Team came to life in the early 70’s on Hawaii’s North Shore, energized by the challenge of Pipeline’s massive tubes and by each individual’s drive to create more progressive surfing equipment to tap that energy source. The resulting combination of dynamic surfers and ideas added up to more than the sum of its parts…and the known limits of wave riding were greatly expanded.
In the ongoing tradition of that first Pipeline crew, Team Bolt Japan joins our honored group of international surfers; each one a proud contribution to the constantly expanding energy of the whole.
That’s what Team Bolt is all about.
There’s something really rad about the Eighties Japanese Lightning Bolt ad featured above, whether it’s the Japanese text — always cooler if you don’t know what it says — or the simple color scheme. Many might say that Lightning Bolt’s glory days were squarely in the Seventies, defined by Gerry Lopez’s effortless styling at Pipeline, but I’m rather partial to this version of the brand, too.
As always, check back in next Thursday night for Sagas of Shred, where we’ll be sharing more bitchin’ vintage surf ads.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a quick update from eBay on an interesting and collectible surfboard: a stunning Lightning Bolt Rory Russell model. What immediately catches my eye is the fact this board is a single fin. I’ve written up two previous Lightning Bolt Rory Russell models, both of which were twin fins. I don’t have any info on how many single fins were made compared to twin fins, but maybe there’s a Shred Sledz Deep Dive to be written on the subject of Russell’s signature model.
The board pictured above recently sold on eBay for a cool $2,400 — technically $2300 and change, plus a nominal shipping fee. All photos are via the original eBay listing, which you can find here. I’m not totally surprised by the price. However, I think there are some interesting aspects to consider. First, $2,400 is pretty rarefied air for surfboards. Second, I am a little taken aback that someone ponied up this kind of cash for a Lightning Bolt that isn’t a classic Seventies single fin, a la Gerry Lopez and company. My guess is the Lightning Bolt Rory Russell single fin was shaped in the early Eighties, judging by the outline of the board and the graphics, including the logo you can see at the top of the page.
That said, it’s not hard to see why the board commanded a high price. It looks all original, and while there are some small dings here and there, including some open spots on the tail, it’s in otherwise incredible shape. It also goes without saying that the airbrush is killer, and if there’s one thing you should know about Shred Sledz, it’s that we are certified Airbrush Aficionados (TM).
Finally, I’m not sure who shaped the board. My guess is that the Lightning Bolt Rory Russell model was mass produced somewhere in the continental US, likely by ghost shapers outside of Bolt’s original roster.
Once again, you can check out the eBay listing for the board here.
Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a random selection of cool Instagram posts that I have come across. Without any further ado:
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‘67 – ‘71 was a transitional period. Thicker (or thinner), shorter, knife-ier rails; performance and surfing styles were evolving constantly. The pintail, along with the #McTavish V-Bottom, were the performance traits of the day. This particular Yater shape was specifically designed for speeding down the fast waves of Rincon, just on the cusp of the shortboard. Interesting Fact: Renny’s wedge stringer (seen here) was created to minimize the weak point of the fin in the stringer by splitting the stringer around the fin. It is unique to his shapes. . . . 1968 “No Name” • Foam, Glass • Shaper: R. Yater . . . Check out our upcoming documentary on Santa Barbara surf heritage 🗿 “Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story,” directed by Wyatt Daily with @PaintShopLA (link in bio). Board courtesy of Roger Nance of @surfnwearbeachhouse. 📷 @Wyatt_Daily . . . #SpoonsFilm #Yater #1968 #rennyyater #pintail #Longboard #singlefin #vbottom #SantaBarbara #SBSurf #BeachHouse #SurfHistory #History #Handcrafted #handshaped#Foam #Surfboard #ClassicSurfboard #Classics #YaterFilm #RinconFilm #PaintShopLA
Here at Shred Sledz we are firm believers that Renny Yater can do no wrong. While Yater’s noseriders and his single fins are among his most classic shapes, I also love his more unusual boards, like the hull pictured above. Check out this write up of a Yater single fin that sold recently.
I am fascinated by the Bonzer and all its various iterations, but the holy trinity has to be the Campbell Brothers, who created the shape; the Bing Bonzer; and Mike Eaton’s take on the multi-finned design. The concave on this Mike Eaton bonzer is a trip — it almost looks like there’s a small hump near the center fin. Gotta love the airbrush on the rails (forget who the name of the artist is, but you’ll often see similar designs on Eaton’s boards).
Echo Beach era Wave Tools boards are all pretty outrageous, but this one just might take the cake. The warped checkerboard on one side and then the red and pink stripes on the other is completely excessive…and perfect. You know I’m a sucker for branded fins and oversized Clark Foam lams. This Wave Tools Lance Collins twin fin ticks every checkbox on the list.
Leave it to Luis Real to come through with an amazing Mike Diffenderfer shaped Lightning Bolt single fin! The board has been “semi-restored”, and while I prefer the character of all-original boards, there’s no denying the pedigree or radness of this stick.
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i poached this from @casurfmuseum . if you aren’t following or supporting them some how, you are blowing it!!!! below is the text to support this post , swipe -> to check all of the 3+ minutes. shit is MENTAL!!!!!! ……………………………. ・・・ ⚡️J O H N S E V E R S O N ⚡️ presents ⚡️B A N Z A I P I P E L I N E ⚡️ This film is from 1962 and could be ordered out of the back of @surfer_magazine for $5. This film is extremely rare and hasn’t been seen in over 50 years. The music by Link Wray was added recently. The surfers in the film aren’t named but we have a pretty good idea who these legends are, we’d love to hear your guesses too. Make sure you bring the whole family in to tour our newest exhibit “Salute to Pipeline” sponsored by @billabong @josecuervotequila @wsl @visitoceanside . . If you #repost please tag us. Thanks. . . #northshore #oahu #hawaii #pipeline #johnseverson #surf #surfing #film #8mm #digital #photography
The post above is not a surfboard, per se, but it’s safe to say that surf culture as we know it would not exist without John Severson’s influence. The late, great Severson is best known as the creator of Surfer Magazine, but he was also an artist and a filmmaker. I’ve really been digging the graphic design on various Severson creations — things like posters and lobby cards for his early films — and I love that someone unearthed a clean copy of an old Super 8 movie he made. The packaging is amazing!
Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have for you a very cool example of perhaps the single most coveted surfboard of all time: a Lightning Bolt Gerry Lopez single fin, most likely shaped by the master himself.
First, a little bit of background: Lightning Bolt might have been the single biggest surfboard brand of the Seventies, but tracking down authentic Bolts can be a bit of a headache. For starters, Bolt’s logo was copied off endlessly, and it appeared on numerous surfboards that had absolutely nothing to do with the Hawaiian label.
But even when dealing with genuine Lightning Bolt surfboards, it’s not always clear which ones were shaped by Lopez. I wrote an earlier post on the subject of Lightning Bolt Gerry Lopez boards that featured some so-called “California Bolts”: genuine Lightning Bolts bearing signatures with Gerry’s name, but produced in California and shaped by Terry Martin and Mickey Munoz. (I also covered the topic in another blog post, which you can find here.)
So you can imagine my surprise when I saw an intriguing little Lightning Bolt board pop up for sale on Craigslist in Hawaii. The board is no longer listed for sale, but I saved the photos, which you can see here.
First, as you can see in the photos, the Lightning Bolt Gerry Lopez board is far from mint condition. But it does have a number of unusual touches, starting from the circle around the famous Bolt logo laminate.
It also has a pretty upright glass on fin, which you can see in the photos above. I also can’t help but notice the diamond tail. Most of the Lightning Bolt Seventies single fins I have seen have pintails, with the occasional swallow tail mixed in. I have seen a few examples of Lightning Bolt single fins with diamond tails, but they are much narrower than the Craigslist board pictured above.
The outline on the Lightning Bolt Gerry Lopez board featured here is reminiscent of the boards Lopez produced with Hansen during the Transition Era of the late Sixties. All of the factors above lead me to believe that the Craigslist Bolt was shaped in the early part of the Seventies.
What really struck me about the board, though, was the presence of an obvious Gerry Lopez signature. As I mentioned in my previous post about the California Bolts, hand shaped Lightning Bolt Gerry Lopez boards are signed on the blank beneath the glass. Moreover, I have noticed that Lopez’s signature is often written in all caps, instead of the script you’ll see on California Bolts and newer repros. (Many thanks to Randy Rarick, who first passed on this tip.)
To no one’s surprise, Buggs Arico‘s Surfboard Line site has a few excellent examples of hand-signed Lightning Bolt Gerry Lopez boards. I have reproduced the signatures here, which originally appeared on Surfboardline.com. Please check out Buggs’ site if you haven’t already!
You’ll notice the red and yellow boards have very similar examples to the Craigslist Bolt. All of the signatures feature “LOPEZ” written on the stringer in all caps, in what looks to be beneath the glass. One small difference with the Craigslist board is the tilde over the O, which I have personally never seen before. In conclusion, I think the Lightning Bolt board posted to Craigslist was a rare example of a Bolt that was hand-shaped by Gerry himself.
The Craigslist Bolt was actually listed for a mere $700, which I think is an absolute steal. The listing stayed up for a few days but I have no idea who eventually made off with the board. If you’re the lucky owner, give me a shout!
Featured Photo at the top of the page by Jeff Divine; found on his awesome website.