Greetings, Shredderz! It has been a while since the last installment of our Social Media Roundup series, but I’m afraid there’s too much heat on Instagram not to share here. I don’t get paid by the word around these parts, so start scrolling for some recent selections:
Zephyr is an iconic brand that played an instrumental role in shaping surf and skate culture as we know it today. The picture above features Skip Engblom — cinephiles may recognize the name as the character played by Heath Ledger in “Lords of Dogtown” — artist CR Stecyk III, and shaper Jeff Ho, looking as fresh as can be in their finest seventies regalia. Engblom’s short shorts, windbreaker and OG Budweiser beer can ensemble is an absolutely killer look. And don’t miss those two gorgeous Zephyr single fins in the middle, too!
If you missed our post last week on a Dave Parmenter board made for Tom Carroll, you can check it out here. The Instagram post above, however, proves that TC has an open mind when it comes to equipment. It’s so rad to see Carroll putting a Liddle hull through its paces.
A post shared by Duncan Campbell (@bonzer_front) on
First, if you don’t follow Duncan Campbell on Instagram, you must. Not only is Duncan the co-creator of the Bonzer, but he frequently shares photos and tidbits from his long history of the board. Pictured above is Craig Fineman, a well-regarded skate and surf photographer who sadly passed away in 2003, posing alongside an early Bonzer creation. (Also see our earlier post on Russ Short, which features quotes taken from a Surfer feature Fineman wrote and photographed.)
A post shared by Kensaku Hamaguchi (@ken39_hamachan) on
Over the past few weeks I seemed to find Mike Purpus boards all over the place, and during my research I stumbled across this amazing example of a Hot Lips single fin. I’m guessing the board was shaped during the 1970s. Note the rad little Clark Foam laminate near the tail on the deck of the board. This Instagram didn’t fit with any of the previous posts I wrote about Mike Purpus and Hot Lips, but it’s too beautiful not to share somewhere!
Fresh off last week’s post about Mike Purpus, today we have another collaboration between the Hermosa Beach pro and a well-known shaper. The board pictured above and below is the Jacobs Mike Purpus V, a Transition Era vee bottom board that was created in the late 1960s. The board can currently be found for sale on Craigslist, and you can find a link to the listing here. Keep reading below for some more pictures of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V for sale, and some background on the collaboration between Jacobs Surfboards and Purpus.
Brief History of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V
Purpus became a Jacobs team rider when he was 14 years old. The first Jacobs Mike Purpus signature model was created under an unusual set of circumstances, befitting Purpus’ colorful personality. In 1967, Purpus had successfully made the finals of the AAA Oceanside Invitational (competing against a murderer’s row of Donald Takayama, David Nuuhiwa, Skip Frye, Corky Carroll and Mark Martinson!). When pressed by the announcer, Hap Jacobs declared that if Purpus were to win the contest, he could get his own signature model. A few waves later, Purpus sealed the victory, and the rest was history.
The initial Jacobs Mike Purpus model was a standard noserider that was similar to the Bing Noserider Model of the 1960s. Jacobs Surfboards continues to produce the original Mike Purpus model today, but I believe Matt Calvani is now the head shaper.
Just as we saw with Rick Surfboards and the Barry Kanaiaupuni model, which began as a noserider and then morphed into a mini-gun design in the blink of an eye, the Jacobs / Purpus collaboration underwent dramatic changes in a very short period of time.
By 1968, around a year after the Jacobs Mike Purpus model was introduced, the Transition Era was underway. Surfers now sought out turns and maneuvers in favor of extended rides on the nose, and as a result, shapers began to make smaller, more nimble boards. The Jacobs Mike Purpus V employs many of the design elements that emerged during the Transition Era. As the name suggests, the Jacobs Mike Purpus V has a pronounced vee bottom in the tail. The board also has a dramatic scoop deck, which you can see below.
The Jacobs Mike Purpus V is a fairly rare surfboard. To date I have only seen three others online. The Surfboard Project has a Jacobs Mike Purpus V, but I believe the board has been restored. The Museum of Surf has a bitchin’ Jacobs Mike Purpus V with a similarly colorful spray job. Finally, a plain white Jacobs Mike Purpus V was sold on eBay a little over a year ago. I have included pictures of the board below:
Even though Purpus’ career extended well into the 1970s, his vee bottom board was produced closer to the end of Hap Jacobs’ career as a surfboard builder. In 1971 Jacobs sold his business to focus on commercial fishing, and didn’t return to shaping for another twenty years. Even so, Jacobs remains a revered figure in surfing circles.
Australian Influences of the Jacobs Purpus V
The other interesting aspect about the Jacobs Mike Purpus V is that it is referred to as an Australian board in multiple places. Stoked-n-Board calls it “the first shortboard from Australia”, which is both a very strong statement as well as maddeningly vague. The Surfboard Project refers to its example as an Aussie vee bottom, but there’s no other context given.
Luckily, I found an amazing article that Purpus wrote for the Easy Reader News in which he tells some fantastic stories about the history of his collaborations with Hap Jacobs. In 1967, Purpus, alongside Skip Frye, Steve Bigler and Margo Godfrey, headed to Australia to film “The Fantastic Plastic Machine”. During this trip, Purpus encountered the vee bottom boards that had begun to usher in the shortboard revolution down under. (I’m still unclear as to whether or not Plastic Fantastic Surfboards got their name from the movie or vice versa).
Purpus’ article in the Easy Reader News sheds light on the Aussie influences on what would later become the Jacobs Mike Purpus V. The outline for Purpus’ 1968 signature model came from Aussie surf pioneers Midget Farrelly and Bob McTavish. Farrelly and McTavish disagree on who invented the vee bottom. Purpus sidestepped the controversy by modeling his new board after both Australian shapers. He says the nose of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V was taken from Farrelly’s design, and the tail from McTavish. When Purpus returned stateside, he worked with Hap Jacobs shapers Ricky James and Robert August to tweak the design.
The way Purpus tells it, Jacobs was initially resistant, and was convinced Purpus’ new board would be a dud. As a result, Jacobs promised Purpus that any vee bottom produced under the Jacobs label would bear Purpus’ personal decal. There was another boldfaced name working with Jacobs who was openly skeptical about the Purpus V: none other than Donald Takayama! Takayama apparently favored the mini-gun, which was popular in Hawaii, and saw it as a superior option to the vee bottom.
When the Jacobs Mike Purpus V began selling out, the Jacobs team riders that were surfing Takayama’s boards began to ask Donald for their own vee bottom shapes. Donald acquiesced, but as soon as Purpus caught wind of this, he reminded Jacobs of their initial agreement:
Donald could see the David Nuuiwhia Noserider ordeal starting all over when his top riders Bobby Warchola, Jim Lester, Tommy Padaca and Pee Wee Crawford, wanted V-bottoms. Donald made them V-bottoms with his decal on them. I went crying straight to Hap, who told Donald that a deal was a deal. If he wanted to make a V-bottom he would have to use my decal. Donald was furious at me and left Jacobs to open his own shop down the road by the Baskin Robins 31 Flavors in Redondo Beach. Hap remained best friends with Donald, but as far as I was concerned the divorce was final. As I look back, I should’ve asked Donald to work together on shortboard designs, using both our names but I was way too immature and wouldn’t reach puberty for several more years.
Again, the entire article is well worth a read. Purpus’ account also makes me wonder if any of Donald’s short run of Jacobs vee-bottoms have survived! I have personally never seen or even heard of one existing, but needless to say, a Jacobs Takayama vee bottom would make an incredibly rare and special board.
Here is a link to the Jacobs Mike Purpus V that is currently being offered for sale on Craigslist. The seller is asking $1700. One other little tidbit that I was unable to confirm: apparently, at some point the board belonged to Gene Cooper! Whoever previously owned the board, the Jacobs Mike Purpus V is a very cool piece of California and Australian surf history.
The sting design has a special place in the hearts of the Shred Sledz editorial staff. Any story about the sting must start and end with Ben Aipa, who created the shape. That said, here at Shred Sledz HQ there’s a deep appreciation for other shapers’ takes on the sting. (One of my all-time favorites is this 1970s Con Surfboards sting with a sweet step tail.) Today’s post features a sting from Mike Purpus’ Hot Lips Designs label, shaped by none other than Lance Collins of Wave Tools fame.
The Hot Lips surfboard pictured above is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. You can find the for sale link here. It was also posted on a Swaylocks thread about a month ago.
What is there to say about the Hot Lips Designs logo, other than it is delightfully loud and tacky? Hot Lips Designs was the brainchild of Mike Purpus, the South Bay surfer who shot to fame in the 1970s. It’s a fitting name for a surfboard label founded by a guy who posed for Playgirl magazine (yes, seriously).
It’s unclear to me whether or not Purpus actually shaped for Hot Lips, or whether the brand was meant to capitalize on his fame at the time. Regardless, Purpus clearly had an affinity for the sting design. Check out the photo below, via the Australian National Surfing Museum, that features another Hot Lips sting. If you click through to the Facebook link, you’ll see that Purpus himself has commented on the post, and dates the board below to 1977.
Here’s a photo of the Hot Lips team taken during the early 1970s, featuring an array of designs, including more than a few stings. You can see Purpus in the middle, standing above a sting. (Purpus’ affinity for racy airbrushes on his boards is well-documented.)
Likewise, Lance Collins also has some history with the sting design. Board Collector has some incredible pictures of some pre-Echo Beach era stings that Lance Collins shaped for Danny Kwock and others, one of which I have included below. Board Collector is a must-read website for anyone with an interest in vintage surfboards.
A little over a week ago I featured a surfboard shaped by Lance Collins for Jack’s. The questions in the post about the Lance Collins / Jack’s Surfboards single fin apply here as well. In other words, it appears as if Collins was shaping boards for other brands like Jack’s and Hot Lips, even while his Wave Tools brand was up and running, and I’m not sure why that would be the case.
The Hot Lips Lance Collins sting at the top of the page is listed at $800. One word of caution: the board needs a lot of work, including around the fin box. The seller was kind enough to include detailed pictures of the damage, so hit the Craigslist listing for more.