Greetings, Shredderz! It’s the Fourth of July, and as a patriotic American, I have to confess that I have better things to be doing right now than writing about vintage surf ads. Like having a few drinks before setting off a bunch of explosives in a completely unsupervised setting, for example. But stories don’t get much more American than Michael Tomson’s red hot heyday, followed by his more recent fall from grace. We wish Tomson nothing but the best. Regardless of how you feel about the man, there is no denying his branding genius. I’ve writtenbefore about Gotcha’s amazing ad campaigns on this blog. It’s interesting that Tomson features himself in this ad, which was originally published in the September 1980 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 21, No 9). My guess is the ad is from the early days of Gotcha, before it found its stride.
Thanks for reading, Happy Fourth of July to everyone, and we hope to see you again next Thursday with more Sagas of Shred!
Greetings, Shredderz! The board I’m writing up today is one of the coolest I have ever seen. By now some readers might know that Shawn Stussy is a favorite of this humble vintage surfboard blog. Stussy’s Eighties thrusters are likely his most popular shapes, and for good reason. But what makes this Shawn Stussy thruster special is the fact it was shaped for none other than Gotcha founder Michael Tomson.
First and foremost, a big shout out to Rob, who owns the board above, for sharing the photos you see in this post. He’s on Instagram here.
Anyway, back to the board in question. By now we all know Shawn Stussy’s legacy as a renowned surfboard shaper and an early streetwear pioneer. But early on, Michael Tomson looked to be on the exact same trajectory, having transitioned from a pro surfing career to founding Gotcha, which was one of the hottest labels in surfing during its heyday. It’s also worth noting that Tomson ripped.
As you can see from the Instagram post above, Stussy and Tomson’s history goes back to the early Eighties. This isn’t totally surprising, given Stussy’s Laguna Beach roots, which also was home to Gotcha’s offices.
Befitting Gotcha’s raw, in your face style, Tomson was one of the most outrageous characters on the surf scene at the time. Sadly, Tomson’s hard charging lifestyle has lost a considerable amount of its romance, given Gotcha’s eventual fade and a string of drug arrests that occurred well into middle age.
I love the fact this surfboard was not only shaped by Stussy, but also created for a true character who happened to be a world class surfer. And even if you don’t care about Tomson’s colorful history, well, at the end of the day, the board is still a Stussy thruster, with all the details and flourishes that make his boards so collectible.
Of course, the board wouldn’t be complete without a Gotcha logo — beneath the glass, naturally. You can also see an additional Stussy signature on the deck right above the tail.
What really gets me going are the awesome hand drawn logos found on the Stussy thruster. The planer laminate is one I don’t believe I have seen on any other Stussy boards. And how cool is that Stussy Team laminate?! That must have been the ultimate Eighties surfing street cred accessory. I love the touch of having the logo on the glass on fins, too — I wish more shapers did this nowadays.
You might be wondering what kind of psycho writes five hundred plus words about an Eighties surfboard. Well, I regret nothing, because this Stussy thruster shaped for Michael Tomson is an absolute gem. Thanks again to Rob for generously sharing the pics of the board — you can follow him on Instagram here.
Greetings, Shredderz! As I’m sure many of you already know, next weekend sees this year’s version of The Boardroom Show, hosted at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. 2018’s Icons of Foam Honoree is none other than Marc Andreini, an all-around classy dude and tremendous shaper. The Boardroom Show is also home to the California Gold Surf Auction, which, in my mind, is the premier vintage surfboard auction. As always, the CA Gold auction has a curated selection of some the usual suspects — names like Dora, Noll, Brewer, et cetera. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a significant number of boards from the late 1970s and 1980s. This is nothing new, of course — 80s Town & Country boards command pretty ridiculous prices any time they pop up on eBay — but I wonder if it isn’t a sign of a larger shift in tastes as older collectors age out. And as an incorrigible fluoro enthusiast, I thought I would take the time to highlight some of my favorite boards from the auction. Keep reading for some selections…
Stussy Thruster for Michael Tomson of Gotcha (Link)
Oh man, this board is killer. Michael Tomson, cousin of Shaun, founded Gotcha clothing. Stussy even designed an early Gotcha typeface that was used prominently during the 80s. This thruster has all the little touches I love about Stussy’s boards, including some nifty hand-drawn graphics. I love the little planer design, and the Gotcha shark logo on the deck is an awesome throwback to the brand’s heyday. Make sure you hit the link above for a shot of the sick Stussy Team logos on the fins. I also wrote up this board when it popped up at the Vintage Surfboard Collectors Club swap meet a few months back.
I can’t think of a better representation of Echo Beach than this incredible board. The board was shaped in 1980, and the auction estimate is between $2,500 and $3,000. There are so many details to love about this board, whether it’s the branded glass-on fins, the huge Lance Collins laminates, or, of course, the inimitable airbrush. The board has been restored, which I find slightly odd given the visible ding on the bottom right above the fins, but I’m not going to quibble. This Wave Tools twinny is ridiculous in all the right ways.
My initial guess was that this stunner was shaped in the 1980s, but it turns out it’s from 1978. Then again, it feels a little silly to focus so much on dates given the timeless — and bitchin’ — checkerboard graphic on the deck. This T&C single fin has also been restored. And while I prefer my boards all-original, this is a stunning example of a classic Hawaiian single fin.
Alright, this technically isn’t an 80s board, either, but given how sweet the board is, I am willing to make an exception. Like the other Glenn Minami example above, the board has been restored, hence its impeccable condition. I can’t get enough of the color scheme, and I really dig the old school Town & Country logos on both boards. I think it’s interesting how Glenn Minami’s name appears in a sans serif font on the sting, and then in a script font on the checkerboard single fin above. The sting is also dated to 1978.