Mike Croteau for O’Neill (I Think)

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a sweet single fin that was sent to me by someone on Instagram. For the most part, I’ll write up boards here on the blog and then maybe throw up a picture on social media. Today’s post is the reverse — after originally posting the board on IG, I decided to devote a brief but more in-depth blog post to the stick, just because I liked it so much. One more caveat before we begin: I’m almost certain the board featured here is a Mike Croteau shape, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ll include a pic of the signature and let you compare for yourself. Click any of the photos below to enlarge.

More importantly, I love this board. Shout out to the board’s owner for taking such great pics. This is an extremely trivial point but I love the way the yellow pops against the nice green grass background. The Mike Croteau single fin also has some nice subtle details, including wings towards the tail, and then some very interesting looking channels on the bottom.

The channels in the tail are pretty subtle. They’re also very different from a previous Mike Croteau-shaped board that I featured recently. You can see some closeups below.

As for who shaped the board, I’m almost certain it’s Mike Croteau. First, Croteau has deep ties to Santa Cruz, and it looks to me as if this was a board created under the O’Neill label. O’Neill is of course best known for its wetsuits, but they have also produced some boards on and off over the years. That said, there’s a chance the O’Neill laminates were applied after the board was shaped, but seeing as how I don’t have the board available to me in person, I just can’t say.

See below for a comparison between the signature on the O’Neill single fin (on the left) and then the signature from the earlier Croteau / Straight Up Surfboards stick I wrote up a few months back. The signatures look pretty similar to me.

If you have more info or thoughts on the board, please let me know! I’d love to know more about this stick. Thanks again to the owner for sharing pics of this gorgeous single fin.

Mike Croteau Straight Up Surfboards

Greetings, Shredderz! By now, most of us are familiar with the biggest names in surfboard shaping: Dick Brewer, Gerry Lopez, Al Merrick…the list is long and illustrious. You can’t ever go wrong with the classics. But there’s something to be said about those shapers who might not match the star power of the aforementioned names, but, if you pay attention, seem to get mentioned by all the right people. Mike Croteau is one of those shapers. Croteau doesn’t have the immediate brand recognition as the earlier folks, but he gets praise from a diverse cast of heavy hitters in the world of surfboard shaping. Rusty Preisendorfer has mentioned Mike Croteau as an influence, and Croteau provided surfboards for top pros like Shaun Tomson and Occy. Croteau was well known in Santa Cruz, Hawaii and La Jolla before his passing almost exactly a decade ago. You don’t see a ton of Mike Croteau surfboards floating around, and even fewer of them that he shaped for the Hawaii-based Straight Up Surfboards label. Recently, however, a rad Mike Croteau / Straight Up Surfboards example popped up on eBay.

Croteau — I’ve also seen his name written as Mike Zeh-Croteau — must have shaped for Straight Up Surfboards during his time in Hawaii. Straight Up boards could be found under Occy’s feet during the late Eighties and early Nineties.

The board I’m writing about today doesn’t have any ties to Occy (who remains the Shred Sledz’s unofficial all-time favorite surfer.) Nonetheless, it’s a very clean example of an Eighties Mike Croteau surfboard, featuring some of his signature channels on the bottom. The board was originally listed for sale on eBay. You can find the original listing here, although the board is no longer for sale. All the photos below are via the eBay post.

The Mike Croteau Straight Up board you see above measures in at 7’2″. As you can see, it has a thruster fin setup, and the fins have been glassed on. It has an interesting baby swallow tail design. It goes without saying that the neon green spray job is 100% Shred Sledz approved.

Straight Up Mike Croteau Channel Bottom.jpg
Close up of the channel bottom of the Mike Croteau shaped Straight Up board

That said, the real draw of this board is in the intricate channel bottoms, as seen above. The Mike Croteau surfboard features six beautifully crafted channels towards the tail. Amazingly, the glass on fins and the swallow tail are all in great shape. It seems as if the board was hardly ever surfed in the three decades that have passed since it was shaped.

The board was undoubtedly created for some hefty North Shore juice.

Sadly, there aren’t many more details to be shared about the board, or Croteau’s shaping career. I’ve mostly seen Mike Croteau boards produced under his own label, which features a signature red white and blue bullseye logo. Nonetheless, I figured this was a great opportunity to showcase the work of Mr Croteau, a talented shaper whose work has remained a bit under the radar, even after his untimely passing.

Photo at the top of the page via Santa Cruz Waves