Rip Curl Owl Chapman Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got an unusual stick for you that represents one of my favorite corners of surf history: Australian / Hawaiian mash-ups. Last week’s Social Media Roundup featured MR and his collaborations with Ben Aipa on the latter’s famous sting. MR also recently posted an awesome photo of some boards he had worked on with Dick Brewer. Today’s post features a rad Owl Chapman single fin shaped under Rip Curl, the legendary Australian brand best known for its wetsuits. The photos of the board come courtesy of a reader who goes by Red Robo; give him a follow on Instagram if you’re into more pics of sweet Aussie sticks.

I’ve been told the photo above shows Owl shaping some boards during a 1977 visit to Torquay. I spent an appalling amount of time going through the Australian National Surfing Museum’s Facebook page to try and find the original version of the photo, but didn’t have any luck. Nonetheless, it’s clear that Chapman not only visited Australia multiple times, but also shaped boards during this time. Surf Research notes that Chapman shaped boards for Goodtime Surfboards during pit stops in the Seventies. The Vintage Surfboard Collectors group on Facebook has a couple of cool examples of Goodtime boards shaped by Owl. Here’s a ridiculous Goodtime / Owl board with a Shane Egan airbrush, which I posted about on Instagram below; and here’s another insane example of a Goodtime / Owl stick.

And if you still haven’t had your fill of Owl’s Australian collaborations, the cool folks at Von Weirdos sold a sweet single fin that Chapman shaped under Terry Fitzgerald’s Hot Buttered label.

The Owl Chapman board you see here is 6’6″ x 20″ x 2 3/4″. The board’s owner estimates the board was likely shaped in 1977. I also understand this board was a little shorter than what Chapman was usually shaping at the time, but it was crafted for smaller Bells Beach and other nearby Victoria breaks.

There are numerous references to Owl Chapman and Michael Peterson taking a road trip down to Bells Beach in 1977 after MP won the Stubbies contest. Cheyne Horan mentioned the trip in a recent Tracks writeup. A commenter in the Vintage Surfboard Collectors group referred to the trip as the “Fear and Loathing trip”, and given Chapman and Peterson’s reputations, it’s likely this is a tame description of what actually transpired. Apparently MP and Chapman concluded the road trip in Torquay, where they both shaped boards at the Rip Curl factory. I can’t say whether the board featured here in the post is one of them, but it’s definitely a cool story involving two of surfing’s all-time great characters.

It’s interesting to note the board has both a Rip Curl laminate on the bottom, as well as the classic Owl Chapman Underground logo on the deck. For my money, the Owl Chapman Underground laminate is one of the classics. You can see the board has also been clearly signed on the stringer.

I was able to find exactly two other Owl Chapman Underground Rip Curl surfboards. One is a wing pin on the Vintage Surfboard Collectors Facebook group; the other was featured on Facebook Marketplace. I have reproduced the photos of the Marketplace board above. It looks like someone might have made off like a bandit with that one; as far as I can tell the board was listed for a mere $100 on Facebook somewhere in Australia.

Thanks again to Red for sharing pictures of this awesome Rip Curl / Owl Chapman single fin!

Photo at the top of the page by Peter Crawford and found on Cargo Collective.

Owl Chapman Underground Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post features a very cool and unusual board on eBay: an Owl Chapman Underground surfboard from the Seventies. The board is a single fin and it measures in at a relatively tidy 6’4″. You can find a link to the eBay listing here. All photos in this post are via the eBay listing.

Owl still shapes today under the Brewer Chapman Surfboards label — Brewer, of course, being the peerless Dick Brewer. Of all the Owl Chapman shapes I have seen, the vast majority are under the Brewer Chapman label, which bears an almost identical logo to Dick Brewer’s famous plumeria wreath design. See below for a side-by-side comparison of the Brewer Chapman Surfboards and Dick Brewer Surfboards logos:

It’s far more unusual, however, to come across Owl Chapman Underground surfboards, like the one that’s currently for sale on eBay. I really dig the groovy vibes of the Owl Chapman Underground logo.

Owl Chapman Underground Surfboard Logo
Close up of the Owl Chapman Underground logo from the board that is currently for sale on eBay

The Owl Chapman Underground boards seem to be pretty collectible, too. Most recently, an Owl Chapman Underground 8’0″ single fin pintail was sold at The Vintage Surf Auction for a cool $2,000. The auction board was restored by Randy Rarick, whereas the eBay board looks all original.

If you’re interested in checking out the board, the eBay listing can be found here.

Photo at the top of the page by Jeff Divine; pic via FlySFO.

Owl Chapman Underground

If you’re into underground Hawaiian shapers, there’s a gem of a board waiting for you on eBay. Pictured here is an Owl Chapman wing pin single fin made under the Surfboards Honolulu brand.

Chapman (whom I’ve written about previously) has his own Encyclopedia of Surfing entry, but there is little reliable information about his shaping history. It looks like he still runs Brewer Chapman Surfboards, which of course was founded in conjunction with fellow Hawaiian legend Dick Brewer.

Stoked-n-Board is the go-to source for surfboard and shaper information, but shockingly, it had very little information about Chapman’s various stops. S-n-B doesn’t have a listing for Brewer Chapman, just Brewer’s own eponymous label. S-n-B’s entry for Owl Chapman only lists him as having shaped for three brands: Buttons, Natural Progression, and Wave Weapons.

First, we know that Chapman shaped – and continues to do so – for Brewer Chapman. In addition, Chapman has also shaped under the Owl Chapman Underground label, which has one of the coolest old school logos you’ll ever lay eyes on:

Pic courtesy Surfboards.com

The board pictured here is under the Surfboards Honolulu brand, which I had never heard of before. There is no entry on Stoked-n-Board, and googling the brand is fruitless. I contacted the seller for the board pictured here, and he was able to provide a picture of the signature on the stringer, which clearly reads “Owl Chapman Underground.” I’m wondering if this board and the Surfboards Honolulu brand pre-date the Owl Chapman Underground label (and its ridiculously groovy logo).

If you’re interested in this board you can find it on eBay here. It’s being sold alongside a few other vintage gems. The seller looks like the person behind the excellent Surfboardline.com, which is another great resource if you’re into vintage boards.