Ole Surfboards Transition Era Hull

Greetings, Shredderz! This transmission is being sent from the midst of a severe wave drought in Northern California. Please send swell ASAP. There hasn’t been much in the way of waves recently, but luckily there have been a few good finds popping up on Craigslist and eBay. Case in point: featured here is a Ole Surfboards Transition Era hull, shaped by Bob Olson.

I can’t in good conscience claim this is the prettiest board I have ever seen, but as a big fan of the interesting shapes that emerged from the late 1960s, I thought it was worth a closer look. The Ole Surfboards Transition Era hull is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find a link to the board here. The seller is asking $400 for the board, which I find a bit on the pricey side, given the condition. That said, it’s an unusual board with some awesome pedigree. The vast majority of Ole Surfboards I have seen are traditional longboards, like the one pictured below.

Anyway, back to the Ole hull in question: the seller claims the board measures in at 7’11”. He also says that it has a serial number of #70 somewhere on the board, although this isn’t shown in the pics. Given that Olson began his shaping career in the late 1950s, and the hull was likely shaped a decade number, I doubt this is a sequential serial number.

The Ole Surfboards hull also comes with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin, which you can see in the photos below. (Click to enlarge).

The photos also give you a good sense of the vee bottom on the board. Again, all of these details point to the board being shaped in the late 1960s, per the description on Craigslist.

As an aside, I am a little stunned to see that Olson doesn’t have an entry in the Encyclopedia of Surfing. Stoked-n-Board is temporarily out of order due to the SHACC website redesign, which means that there isn’t a ton of info readily available on Olson online. Either way, it seems like there should be much more information about Bob Olson given his long and storied career as a shaper. (Olson was also the shop teacher for a young Shawn Stussy, believe it or not, before moving to Maui in 1971). Amazingly, Olson continues to shape Ole Surfboards to this day from his home base of Maui. You can find a listing for his surf shop on Facebook here.

Photo at the top of the page via the Board Room Movie.

Ole Surfboards Phil Edwards Model: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to another installment of Sagas of Shred. Today’s post focuses on an old ad for Ole Surfboards. Ole is the namesake and brain child of Bob Olson. This is a blog that likes to celebrate history, but Olson is truly old school. For starters, the man is in his mid-eighties, and I believe he continues to shape to this day! Check out Ole Surfboards page on Facebook here.

Olson got his start in Orange County. For a quick bit of background on the man, I recommend this article in the Orange County Register, which was written by none other than Corky Carroll. Olson not only shaped Corky’s third ever surfboard…he was also a wood shop teacher at Shawn Stussy’s high school, and went on to become a shaping mentor to Stussy. (Since we are big Stussy fans here at Shred Sledz, here’s another bit of trivia: Jeff Timpone glassed Olson’s boards at some point, and Timpone and Stussy shaped together at Russell Surfboards during The Brotherhood days.)

guy on the right is responsible for my second shaping job ever, and by far the most formative… Mr. Bob Olson was my wood shop teacher at high school and also my employer in the tenth grade… the summer after ninth grade I worked at Chuck Dent shaping up in Costa Mesa behind bay cities glassing… Bob would bring his blanks there for glassing throughout that summer… he would see me there and say hey, aren't you that kid from wood shop?… what you doing here?… what, your shaping boards for Chuck out there in the back?… I am like yeah, figuring it out… so I go back to school in the fall and have woodshop again… I get my license and he offers me a job with this new thing called " work experience"… after fourth period I drive to sunset beach, open his old gas station turned surf shop and rough out boards till he got there after all his seven periods that were required of him… he would critic the work I did, offer tips, finish off a few together, doing our thing… all good… his brand was OLE and he has been around since kinda the beginning… at the end of my junior year he packs up and moves to Lahaina and has been there since… big shout to the guy that saw something in me and let me mow some foam and figure it out… big hug BOB, I wish to thank you…

A post shared by shawn stüssy (@shawnstussy) on

Olson’s shaping career is worthy of a post of its own. However, for today I’ll simply zero in on one fascinating little detail in the advertisement. You’ll notice in the bottom right the ad says “Phil Edwards Model now available.” The ad at the top of the page was published in Surfer Magazine in 1963 (Aug. – Sep. 1963, Vol. 4 No. 4). I have personally never seen a Ole Surfboards Phil Edwards Model, and I imagine these must be incredibly rare. Google searches don’t turn up any info, either. I’m not sure how the timing of Ole’s Phil Edwards Model lines up with its far more famous counterpart, which was Edwards’ famous signature model for Hobie Surfboards.

Phil Edwards for Bob Ole Olson
Photo of Phil Edwards that Phil signed for Ole. Apparently this is hanging up in Ole’s current shop in Lahaina, Maui. Pic via Composite Corner / Fiberglass Hawaii

I was able to find evidence of a friendship between Olson and Edwards, including the photo above, which is apparently hanging in Ole’s shaping room on Maui. In addition, it was Phil Edwards who recommended Olson for the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame back in 2009.

If you have any info on the Ole Surfboards Phil Edwards model, please let me know!

Clark Foam Ad from the 1960s: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to yet another installment of Sagas of Shred. Every Thursday we feature a different slice of surf history, and today’s entry sheds a light on one of the most accomplished businessmen the surf industry has ever seen: Gordon “Grubby” Clark, the founder and CEO of Clark Foam.

Clark Foam Promotional Photo Gordon "Grubby" Clark.jpg
Gordon “Grubby” Clark in an early Clark Foam promotional photo. Pic via Charlie Bunger’s Long Island Surfing Museum

Before its abrupt closing in 2005, Clark Foam was one of the most fearsome forces in the surfboard industry. There are endless stories about Clark’s ruthlessness. The Surfboard Project has an anecdote, via Joel Tudor, about how Donald Takayama’s first label went under after Clark Foam denied him blanks. Surfer Magazine recently ran a retrospective on the Clark Foam closing, which includes similar tales of strong-arm tactics.

In the early 1960s, though, Clark had yet to establish its dominance, and this ad, at least, makes an earnest appeal to quality and performance instead. I love the fact that just about every single big name surfboard brand at the time has their logos present: Yater, Bing, Ole, Hobie, Wardy, Hansen, and Con. Of that list, only Wardy no longer continues to produce boards (although Con is a completely different company, and Bing Copeland has ceded control to well-regarded shaper Matt Calvani.)

For a great article on the early years of Clark Foam, and how Grubby and Hobie Alter helped lay the groundwork for the modern surfboard industry, I recommend the “727 Laguna Canyon Road” feature in The Surfer’s Journal.

Hope you enjoyed this entry in Sagas of Shred, and tune in next Thursday for what comes next!

Shred Sledz Presents: Weekend Grab Bag (March 5)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope your weekend has been chock full of shapely waves and light offshore winds. Here are some finds I came across recently.

Ole Noserider on Craigslist (Orange County)

I haven’t written much about Ole Surfboards before, which was the brainchild of Bob Olson. This one sports a nice D fin and I would guess it dates to sometime in the 1960s. It might be all original, too. Priced at $975.

Mint Condition all-original 1966 Hansen Master on eBay

This one is going for $12K out the gates, which might be a little ambitious. But it’s worth clicking through for the pictures. This thing is in incredible condition – I’m talking time capsule status.

Dyno David Nuuhiwa 70s Single Fin on eBay

The airbrush on this board is pure 1970s. Nuuhiwa was the subject of an earlier Sledz post, which I naturally recommend you read if you’re interested in learning more. Otherwise, bask in the sheer outrageousness of this paint job, which toes the line between painstaking craftsmanship and looking like a Lisa Frank parody. The board is incredible condition, but it’s no longer for sale (closed at a healthy $1,258!)