Mike Hynson for Bahne Surfboards

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a lovely surfboard that involves a few of the best-known figures in San Diego surf history, including none other than Mike Hynson. Over his long and illustrious career, Hynson has been associated with many well-known labels from his own label, Hynson Surfboards, to other recognizable brands like Rainbow Surfboards, Gordon & Smith, and Bahne. Hynson’s history is a colorful one, often quite literally. He first burst onto the scene as one of the stars of “The Endless Summer”, and then became a figurehead of sorts for the psychedelic 70s, thanks to the equally trippy and elaborate airbrushes on his boards. For an excellent rundown on Hynson’s involvement with drugs and the notorious Brotherhood of Eternal Love, I recommend this long-form Surfline feature on the subject.

Mike Hynson Surfboards Downrailer Gun Airbrush Jeremiah Klein
Close up shot of the Hynson downrailer featured in the picture at the top of the page. Photo by Jeremiah Klein; pic via Surfline

Hynson Surfboards is still in business today, and the man himself continues to churn out hand shaped designs. Today’s post concerns an older board that, upon first look, doesn’t have any overt ties to Hynson.

First, a little background: Hynson is widely credited with creating the down rail, which helped usher in a new era of high-performance surfing during the 1970s. None other than all-around guru Gerry Lopez claims the down rail was one of the critical elements in turning shortboards into fully functional surf craft. One little-known fact about the down rail is that one of Hynson’s first test pilots for the design was none other than Herbie Fletcher!

It’s difficult to put together an exact timeline of when Hynson shaped for the various surfboard labels with which he is associated. Gordon & Smith was an early stop, and Hynson’s signature red fin model is still coveted by collectors today. Hynson worked at Hobie and also founded Rainbow Surfboards in 1970, according to the Encyclopedia of Surfing.

The board pictured above is a rare example of a Hynson shaped downrailer that was created for Bahne during Hynson’s brief tenure at the brand, which took place between 1969 and 1970. It is currently being offered for sale on Craigslist in Orange County, and you can find a link to the board here. The Bahne Hynson downrailer measures 6’8″ and it has been restored by Sam Cody, who works on glassing boards at Bing Surfboards today.

Hynson Surfboards Bahne Downrailer 6.jpg
You can clearly see the down rail design in the picture above. This may look pretty unremarkable by modern standards, but that’s the point: compared to Transition Era boards in the late 1960s, Hynson’s down rail designs represented huge performance gains

According to the seller, Bahne produced these downrailers in production quantities during 1969 and 1970, and the boards were shaped by Hynson himself. (Stoked-n-Board claims Hynson shaped for Bahne only during 1970; however, both Surfy Surfy and the board’s seller claim 1969 was the year Hynson started, so I’m going with 1969.) There is no signature on the board. Nonetheless, I believe the seller’s account, given that he is a current surfboard industry executive and a knowledgeable collector. The seller also took the board to both Bill Bahne and Mike Hynson, who confirmed that the board was shaped during 1969 / 1970 in the old Bahne factory, which was located on top of the hill on Westlake in Encinitas.

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Appropriately mystical spray job by Gary Brummett

But wait! There’s even more back story. The seller believes the airbrush was done by Gary Brummett, an artist who also did some pinline and resin work with Surfboards Hawaii. The seller initially showed the board to Peter St. Pierre, founder of Moonlight Glassing and father of the owner of Leucadia shop Surfy Surfy. It was St. Pierre who identified the airbrush as being the work of Gary Brummett.

While the Bahne Hynson downrailer above doesn’t bear a Hynson signature, there are a few other Bahne boards that do.

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Bahne Mike Hynson surfboard, as originally seen on Surfy Surfy. Click through to their blog for more pics of the board, which is another example of a 1969 downrailer.

To no one’s surprise, Surfy Surfy has a great example of a different Bahne / Hynson board. See the photo above. It’s interesting to see the “Designed and Hand Shaped by Mike Hynson” laminate right beneath the Bahne logo.

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Another example of a Bahne / Hynson collaboration. Even though Hynson definitely shaped for Bahne, I tend to think the “Designed and Hand Shaped by Mike Hynson” logo is a laminate. Pic via Vintage Surfboard Collectors (Facebook)

There’s another example of a Bahne Hynson shape on Facebook. You can find the link to the board here. The board is also dated to the late 1960s, according to the poster. I highly recommend clicking through, as the board has a beautiful acid splash paint job and it is in beautiful condition.

Hynson Surfboards and its creator have a long and illustrious history that is well-deserving of another, more in-depth post. In the meantime, however, enjoy the evidence of Hynson’s time at legendary Bahne Surfboards. Finally, you can find a link to the Bahne / Hynson downrailer being offered for sale here.

 

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup: #Fryeday Edition (September 1)

Greetings, Shredderz! Here to take you into the weekend is a celebration of one of California’s finest board builders, one Harry “Skip” Frye. Don’t forget to check out the latest issue of The Surfer’s Journal for a comprehensive look at Skip’s personal quiver. In the meantime, here are some social media selections showing off Skip’s shapes…

I wrote about this Skip Frye single fin when it was posted on Craigslist…and I’m still kicking myself for not buying it! This is the only Frye I have seen with a Select Surf Shop laminate, and it’s got a sick little wing pin outline to boot. I’m glad that it found a good home with Buggs, who runs Surfboard Line. The board has been fixed up and looks better than ever. Make sure you scroll through all the pictures!

A palm reflection off two Skip Frye's

A post shared by taylor_knox (@taylor_knox) on

Taylor Knox owes his long career to his powerful rail surfing. It’s difficult to imagine him laying these gliders into his patented spray-chucking carves, but if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Taylor Knox! I’m just stoked to see this unexpected but rad union between two opposite ends of the famously varied spectrum that is San Diego surfing. Don’t hold your breath for Joel Tudor to bust out a high performance thruster, though…

I don’t know a word of Japanese, but I do know how to recognize an incredible quiver when I see one…

Holy Grail. Art and shape by Skip Frye.

A post shared by Val Dusty 69mm (@beyond_litmus) on

Things are really heating up over at @beyond_litmus Limited release. Holy Grail. Straight backs. Original.

A post shared by Andrew Kidman The Windy Hills (@andrewkidman) on

This board is a bit of a mystery, but don’t skip over it because of the abstract picture! Skip Frye shaped this board for use at Jeffrey’s Bay, and it ended up being ridden by Derek Hynd (and I believe Tom Curren, too). You can read more about the board and the session in Andrew Kidman’s forthcoming Beyond Litmus book.

A post shared by James Llewelyn (@lyttlestreet) on

A young Skip Frye holding an early Gordon & Smith board. Interesting to note Skip’s board doesn’t have any Frye logos on it — it must pre-date his signature models for the brand.

Mike Hynson: Hand Shaped vs Regular

Here’s a great example of the maddeningly subtle differences between a hand shaped board and a “close but no cigar” example.

Hynson Surfboards, the namesake of “Endless Summer” star Mike Hynson, is currently selling two boards on Craigslist with small but meaningful differences.

The first board can be found here. It’s the Coke bottle tinted board above with the red fin and the triple stringer. If you look closely at the signature on the board, it says “Designed and Hand Shaped by Mike Hynson.” This is the real deal – a board completely hand made by a famous California shaper.

The second board you can see here. It’s also a longboard with a triple stringer and boasts the red fin design that has become something of a hallmark of Hynson’s boards. However, note that the stringer only has a Mike Hynson signature and an ohm signal. This board is not a handshape. It was machine cut, and while the outline is designed by Hynson, it wasn’t crafted start to finish by the man himself.

This is made clear in the pricing of the boards, too. The handshape is going for $2500, and the other board is a lot cheaper at $1500.

While it’s clear that a board signed “Designed and Hand Shaped by Mike Hynson” is the real deal, some questions remain about boards that simply have Mike’s signature and then an ohm insignia. In an earlier post I wrote about a Hynson, I also linked to an older Hynson single fin being sold at Surfy Surfy. The single fin at Surfy Surfy doesn’t have the “Designed and Hand Shaped” signature, but who knows, it still could be a genuine shape. More than anything else, I think this is a good example of pointing out how hard it can be to divine the exact origins of a surfboard, even with seemingly clear evidence.

Recent Mike Hynson Single Fin

Surfer or not, you have likely heard of “The Endless Summer”, filmmaker Bruce Brown’s timeless ode to surfing, and one of the few surf movies to receive equally rapturous responses from surfing insiders as well as the mainstream (alongside “In God’s Hands”, of course.)

Mike Hynson, one of the stars of “The Endless Summer”, went on to a distinguished career as a surfboard shaper. Hyson’s life is a compelling story of its own, sadly filled with more drama and lows than the movie that made him famous, recounted in an autobiography released in 2011.

What we have here, via Craigslist in San Diego, is a 9′2″ Hynson hand shaped board with a clear signature on the stringer. The signature includes the “Om” symbol, a favorite of Hynson’s. You can see another example of an excellent and clear Hynson signature here, via a board that was once on sale at peerless San Diego shop Surfy Surfy.

The best part about this listing? The board is going for a mere $525. I think this is a steal. There’s a 9′0″ on sale directly from Hynson’s website currently going for $1500.  Hynson is 74 and while he’s still shaping today, I think it’s likely that his most prolific days are behind him. Surfers and shapers don’t get any more legendary than one of the guys who starred in “The Endless Summer”. And most importantly, of course, Hynson’s pedigree as a shaper cannot be overstated.

Check the listing here.