To Bolt, or Not to Bolt? 1970s Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt Single Fin

First, allow me to beg for forgiveness regarding the bad pun in the title of the post. I’d promise not to do it again, but I don’t want to waste whatever little credibility I have left!

More to the point, there is a fascinating example of a Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt board that is currently for sale on eBay. I have posted pictures of the board below (pics are via the eBay listing).

While a genuine Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt board from the 1970s is a holy grail for many surfboard collectors, there’s one catch: it’s often difficult to establish the provenance of true Lopez handshapes. For example, there are the California Bolts, which, as their name suggests, were produced on the West Coast and not in Hawaii. The California Bolts often bear a Danny Brawner-designed laminate meant to approximate Lopez’s signature. The California Bolts were mostly shaped by Mickey Munoz and Terry Martin.

Gerry Lopez Signature Island Trader Surf Shop 1.jpg
Great example of a Mickey Munoz-shaped California Bolt. You can clearly see the rectangular shape around the “Gerry Lopez” signature, which is a laminate that was applied to the board. Click through for more pics of the board, which were originally posted by Island Trader Surf Shop. Their site also has a clear picture of Munoz’s signature.

In addition, I have heard from Randy Rarick, who is the authority on all things relating to Hawaiian surfboards and their creators, that Lopez only signed the blanks of his handshapes — never on top of the glass.

Still, I am a bit confused, given that there are some distinct qualities about the Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt being sold on eBay, that matches up with some other boards that were recently sold at auction.

As you can see in the pictures above, “A Pure Source” has been written on either side of the Lightning Bolt laminate. You can also see a Gerry Lopez signature off to the far right in the second picture. Back in the 1970s, “A Pure Source” was the marketing slogan for Lightning Bolt. Based on Rarick’s guidelines — the fact the eBay board has a Lopez signature on top of the glass, and not the blank itself — one might say the board is not a handshape.

And yet there were two boards sold at recent US Vintage Surf Auctions that were advertised as Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolts.

Board #1: 1975 Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt #180, Sold at USVSA (Link)

Gerry Lopez Lighting Bolt USVSA.JPG
Close up of the first USVSA board. You can see it has the same formatting with the signature. Pic via USVSA

The first USVSA board, pictured above, has the exact same signature formatting as the eBay board at the top of the page: you have “A Pure Source” written across the Bolt laminate, and then a Lopez signature off to the right, signed on the glass itself. The USVSA website dates the board to 1975, and it claims that it is a Lopez handshape. In addition, the USVSA site claims the Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt is numbered #180.

Board #2: 1977 Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt #404, Sold at USVSA (Link)

Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt USVSA 1.JPG

Are we noticing a pattern yet? Same “A Pure Source” logo and handwritten signature in the exact same placement as the other two boards featured in the post. USVSA dates this board to 1977. This time, there’s a closeup of the serial number. The board is #404, which is stamped on the stringer. USVSA board #2 has a wedge stringer, which is an unusual touch.

It should also be noted that both USVSA boards have fin boxes. Rarick also tells me that the vast majority of Lopez handshapes made in Hawaii had glass-on fins.

In conclusion, I’m confused about how to explain this curious trio of Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt surfboards. Based on Rarick’s context, I do not believe any of these three boards are Lopez handshapes. As a refresher, none are signed beneath the glass, and at least two have fin boxes (it’s unclear with the eBay board whether or not the fin is glassed on.)

Second, both USVSA boards commanded relatively low prices at their respective auctions. Board #1 sold for $2,700 and board #2 went for $2,400. Compare this to a 1972 Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt (with a glass-on fin, and a unique “signature”, which is a whole different story) sold at USVSA for $4,225, which you can find here.

I guess I can’t figure out why Lopez would go through the trouble of hand signing these boards with “A Pure Source” and a signature on the deck if he didn’t shape them himself. As always, if you have any information, please let me know! If there’s one thing I enjoy more than making bad jokes in blog post titles, it’s hearing from readers.

Hobie Phil Edwards Model (Part 1): A Shred Sledz Deep Dive

Today, little children, we are going to do a quick little lesson on one of the most famous boards of all time. This is the first post in a new Shred Sledz series that hopes to shed light on the creations of the one and only Phil Edwards. Today we will be starting with the famous Hobie Phil Edwards model, one of the most collectible boards ever made.

For a certain generation of surfers, Phil Edwards is and will always be a legend. For starters, he was one of the first people to ever ride Pipeline, which is about as awesome as it gets. The picture at the top of this post – taken by the legendary Leroy Grannis, and courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Surfing – depicts Edwards surfing the fearsome Banzai Pipeline. Edwards is one of the rare humans who shaped as well as he surfed, and his name remains associated with some of the most sought-after boards in the world today.

Given Edwards’ resume, you would think there would be tons of information floating around online. Sadly, this isn’t the case. I had always assumed Edwards had passed away, given how little is said of his current whereabouts. But apparently he is alive and well, and he visited the Hobie factory about four years ago for an event. You can find a recent photo on Hobie’s website, which I’ve included below.

Hobie Phil Edwards
Phil Edwards at a recent Hobie Surfboards event. Photo via Hobie Surfboards

Phil Edwards his best known for two surfboards: the Phil Edwards “Honolulu” model, known as such for the “Honolulu” branding written on the board; and then the Hobie Phil Edwards signature model, which was produced over a few different time periods. This post will deal exclusively with the original run of Hobie Phil Edwards models. I will be devoting separate posts to Hobie Phil Edwards model re-issues (post 1960s); the Phil Edwards Honolulu models; and finally, a grab bag of some random boards that don’t fit into any other buckets.

According to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, Hobie’s Phil Edwards model was produced first in 1963. Today these boards are incredible collectors’ items. This post will examine three different Hobie Phil Edwards boards that were recently up for sale. The hope is to give some kind of context on this wonderful board, as well as what kind of prices it commands on the open market.

Hobie Phil Edwards Model Serial Number #999

The first board featured here was sold at the recent Surfing Heritage Vintage Surf Auction. The picture below depicts a Hobie Phil Edwards model with serial number #999. The estimated closing price was between $2,000 and $5,000; I was unable to find info on the final price for the board, however. You can see the beautiful glassed-on D Fin in the pictures, the triple stringer design (with a wider center stringer), and then the silver foil label.

image
Photo courtesy Surfing Heritage Vintage Surf Auction

 

Hobie Phil Edwards Serial Number #865

The second board is a Hobie Phil Edwards from the 1960s, also in excellent condition. It is a 10′ board that is currently for sale on Surf Garage, and the listing claims it’s all original and dates to 1968. Here you can clearly see an example of the “foil” label that can be found on the earlier runs of the Phil Edwards models. Later on, especially with reproductions, these labels were replaced by silver, non-foil laminates beneath the glassing. This board is being listed for sale at $4,000, which is steep, but if this indeed all-original, that is in the ballpark of similar boards. You’ll also notice this board has the same features as the one sold at the California Gold auction: same triple stringer setup, same D fin, and then the foil label. It is serial number #865, as clearly shown in the picture. My last note is that this board seems to be in suspiciously impeccable condition. I am wondering if it was restored, but I have no further info.

image
Close up of the famous Hobie Phil Edwards foil logo. Photo via Surf Garage

 

Hobie Phil Edwards Model Serial Number #103

The third Hobie Phil Edwards model was also sold at an auction, but this time it was at the US Vintage Surf Auction. This board has the same hallmarks of a Hobie Phil Edwards model, as explained above: you can see the triple stringer design, a glassed-on D fin, and, of course, the distinctive silver label with a clear serial number (#103). The auction claims that this is the lowest numbered Hobie Phil Edwards they have found in existence; I have no way to verify if this is indeed the case. It’s also curious to contrast this silver label with the one on Serial Number #865. #103 is way more faded, and the deep blue of #865 looks more like a green. There are likely differences in photo editing, etc., that explain the discrepancy, but I found it interesting nonetheless. This board was estimated by the USVSA to go for somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000, but again, there’s no info on what the final price ended up being.

Photo via USVSA

Photo via USVSA

 

What’s interesting about these original boards is I can’t find an example of a Phil Edwards signature on any of them. I tend to believe that none of the original run of Hobie Phil Edwards boards bore his signature, but I would love to know if there are any examples I might be missing. Edwards signed the re-issued version of the Hobie boards, which will be the subject for a future post.

Hobie Phil Edwards Model from John Mazza Collection at Pepperdine University Serial Number #479

Finally, I’d like to include a shot from a board that Pepperdine University has as a part of their John Mazza Surfboard collection. It’s a 10′ Hobie Phil Edwards model from 1963, and they’ve got some great pictures up on the site. In this shot you can see the fin. I’ve heard conflicting reports, as some sources indicate the fins are made of ash wood, and I’ve also heard they are made from balsa. I can’t say for sure. But I do know they’re pretty awesome to look at.

Closeup of a Hobie Phil Edwards fin from John Mazza’s collection at Pepperdine University. I’ve read that the fins on these boards were made of ash, and I have also read that they were made out of balsa. Photo via Pepperdine University.

And as a bonus, I came across this old Hobie ad on Swaylocks. From left to right are the following surfers: Joey Hamasaki, Joyce Hoffman, Mickey Munoz, Phil Edwards, and Bill Hamilton! Note how each name has an Encyclopedia of Surfing account linked to it. That’s a murderer’s row of surf legends right there. In the middle of an ad is an example of a classic Phil Edwards model. You can see the triple stringer and the silver foil logo.

I hope you found this post useful, and stay tuned for parts two, three, and four on Phil Edwards and his boards!

Old Hobie Surfboards ad. Photo via Swaylocks

Mickey Munoz Hobie Seaboard

If you’re in the Jersey Shore area and you have an inexplicable but no less compelling urge to check out a cool vintage surfboard, I would like to humbly suggest this Hobie Seaboard model, which can be found on Craigslist (Update: dead link removed).

I had never heard of this model before, so I decided to do some research, based on the info provided in the listing (which warns not to call “unless you’ve done your homework”, so consider this a quick crash course).

First, the poster claims this board was shaped by Mickey Munoz. In the second picture you can see what looks to be a Mickey Munoz logo laminate that can be found on the Hobie boards he shaped. Sadly there’s no closeup on the Craigslist posting, but this is consistent with other examples I have seen.

Here’s an example of a 70s Mickey Munoz shaped Hobie semi gun circa 1974 that was for sale at Island Trader Surf Shop in Florida:

Picture from Island Trader Surf Shop

You can clearly see the Munoz logo laminate, and it is also located at the tail.

Surfboardline.com has an excellent feature on Hobie collector Mark Jeremias’ collection. That post features a 6′10″ Munoz-shaped diamond tail single fin from 1976, and it has a great closeup shot of the Munoz-laminate, also at the tail. (Interesting note: the year on this laminate says ‘71…maybe they just never updated these for every year the boards were produced).

Picture from Surfboardline.com

So, returning back to the Hobie Seaboard in question, it definitely seems like a Munoz shape. What makes the Seaboard interesting is the clear “Seaboard” model name next to the logo.

Usually, the incredible Stoked-n-Board is my resource of questions of obscure surfboard information. Strangely, though, S-n-B’s Hobie entry doesn’t have a ton of info, so here is my best effort to provide some context around the Hobie Seaboard model, and put it all in one place.

The Seaboard model is associated with a few other well-known surfers besides Munoz. As you can see in the Craigslist post, the poster claims that well-known Florida shaper Greg Loehr dates the board to 1972. I found this Swaylocks thread that indicates the Seaboard model was a signature model made for Loehr back when he was a pro, and that it was shaped by both Munoz as well as Terry Martin. The Swaylocks thread is a “Hot Seat” feature in which Loehr answers questions posed by readers, so I tend to think this is reliable info.

The Hobie Seaboard model also makes an appearance in the book “365 Surfboards”, as the Craigslist poster says. Here’s the relevant picture, and you can find a lot of the book posted on Google Books:

The outline in the book looks similar to the board above, but it’s hard to see any clear logos.

The entry in “365 Surfboards” confirms that Gary Propper was also involved in the creation of the Seaboard model. Apparently, Propper was instrumental in getting Loehr his own signature model, which of course became the Seaboard.

Finally, I’d like to point out that there were multiple versions of the Hobie Seaboard. Surfboards.com has an example of another Hobie Seaboard, but with a different logo that clearly calls out Greg Loehr’s involvement:

Picture from Surfboards.com

The Seaboard listed on Surfboards.com doesn’t seem to have a Munoz laminate, though, which is interesting.

Anyway, I think this is such a rad board, and as a native East Coaster, I love the involvement of various east coast surf luminaries. It’s being offered for $600 on Craigslist, and unfortunately, I can’t say whether or not that’s a decent price. It looks like there are some scrapes on the right hand rail when looking at the deck, and I think any serious buyer should check that out along with the rest of the due diligence.

You can find the board here.

Mickey Munoz for Hobie

I could go on and on about how the people who post surfboards for sale on Craigslist are never the ones with rudimentary photography skills, but hey: who am I to judge. So try to ignore the poorly lit and staged pictures – shout out to the Costco sized box of Hefty garbage bags in the fourth picture – and focus on the surfcraft that is being featured.

Nowadays, most boards you find bearing Mickey Munoz’s name are crappy Surftech epoxy gliders. Those boards speak more to how lucrative licensing can be, rather than the craft of building surfboards.

This is a shame, because Mickey Munoz – incidentally born in New York City – is one of the better known surfers from his era. (Fun fact taken from the link above: apparently he was the stunt double for the female namesake in “Gidget”, wearing a blonde wig and a bikini to do her surfing scenes.)

Munoz went on to shape for Hobie, and one of his products can be found here, on Craigslist in New Hampshire, of all places. The board is a single fin that looks like it’s from the 70s, and no dimensions are given on the post. The bottom is in pretty rough condition – check out all the unfortunate scarring along the rails in the third pic – but hey, it’s not every day that you see one of these boards up for grabs on Craigslist. I love the little Munoz-specific logo, which is found in the first pic on this post. There’s no price listed for the board, but if you’re curious in contacting the seller, here is the Craigslist link once again.