We love Thursdays here at Shred Sledz HQ for a few reasons. First, it means the weekend is within striking distance. Second, and more importantly, Thursdays are when we publish our exclusive Sagas of Shred series, which is really just an excuse to run scans of awesome advertisements from my stack of old Surfer Magazines. And as you can see above, the subject of today’s Sagas of Shred post is none other than Australian legend Mark Richards.
When I first stumbled across the ad pictured above, I wanted to make some customary lighthearted comments about MR’s era-appropriate hairdo and outfit. But MR’s incredible resume deserves far more attention. Richards is one of the few modern pros whose shaping career matches (or even exceeds!) his accomplishments in a jersey. This is saying something, considering that MR won four consecutive world titles, an achievement surpassed only by the otherworldly Kelly Slater.
MR wasn’t just shaping boards as a hobby while he was competing: in fact, he claims that riding his own designs gave him a significant advantage over other pros at the time. Richards was an early pioneer of the twin fin, a board he credits with helping him garner his world titles. I highly recommend reading the bio on the Mark Richards Surfboards website, which is a great overview of MR’s journey.
The advertisement at the top of the page is interesting because it ran in an issue of Surfer Magazine in the 1980s in what I assume was an attempt to target the American market. Richards continues to live and shape in Newcastle, Australia. I believe most of the boards sold under the Mark Richards Surfboards label in the US were licensed out to ghost shapers, but it’s unclear who. One indication is the Spanners logo in the ad. I believe Spanners was a glassing shop, and it appears that at one time, Spanners was associated with Robert August Surfboards.
Richards’ career is deserving of much more than a snapshot of an advertisement in an old magazine, however. Stay tuned for some more content about the man. In the meantime, enjoy this MR-themed blast for the past, and tune in next week for more Sagas of Shred.
Attention vintage surfboard trivia buffs: Matt “Mayhem” Biolos and …Lost Surfboards team rider Kolohe Andino are giving away a free surfboard to the person who can name all of the surfers who inspired the various paint jobs in the Instagram post above. Edit: Kolohe also included close ups of all the boards on his Instagram account, which I have included below:
Some hints are rapidly filling up in the comments. Even with the added help, I’m only certain of three of them, and I have an educated guess for another.
The board at the top left is modeled after a board Kelly Slater surfed at Trestles in “Kelly Slater in Black & White.” I only know this from the comments, but I was able to find a YouTube video with the incriminating evidence.
The red / blue board on the top row, second from right, is clearly Tom Carroll’s board from his famous under the lip snap at macking Pipeline. I’m not sure who the shaper might be, though.
On the bottom row, the board second from right is clearly Martin Potter’s “The Saint” board, which is one of the most recognizable airbrushes ever.
I believe the board that is second from left on the top row is a Mark Richards Lightning Bolt, but I’m not 100% sure.
I suspect many of the boards aren’t what some would consider vintage. For example, there are a lot of guesses in the comments that suggest the top left board was one ridden by Kelly Slater in one of his earlier videos.
I’ll be running an updated post once all the answers are in, as I’m dying to know myself. In the meantime, check out the post here.
For those who don’t know, Mark Richards remains one of the most decorated surfers in history. The Aussie won four consecutive world titles from 1979 to 1982, a feat that went unmatched until Kelly Slater came along and re-wrote the rules of pro surfing.
After hanging up the contest singlet, Richards has distinguished himself as a well-known shaper. This little specimen, measuring at 6′2″ x 20″, dates back to 1986, with a clear date on the stringer.
I love the 80s paint job on this bad boy, as well as the interesting channels on the bottom. Richards is best known for his swallow tailed twin fin shapes with ultra bright airbrush jobs, and this one is a little different given the thruster setup. The paint job is rad, though!
The main holdup here is whether or not the board was shaped by Richards himself. The best evidence I could find of a Richards signature on a hand-shaped board was from his website, and it looks a little different than the no-name dating on the stringer for this board.
It’s also a bit steep at $950. Still, who can say no to an 80s board in pretty great condition? You ain’t gotta buy it, either – just look at the pics! More on the Craigslist posting, found here.