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.

Brewer Hawk Surfboards: Sam Hawk Single Fin

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a board that I wrote about earlier on Instagram, but I figured was worth a closer look. There are few shapers who can claim to have influenced modern surfboard design as much as Dick Brewer. During the Seventies, Dick Brewer had a number of proteges and collaborators, including Owl Chapman and Sam Hawk. (This post has a cool example of a Brewer / Hawk / Chapman board that was shaped under the Australian Hot Buttered label.) Sam Hawk initially shaped surfboards under the Dick Brewer label, but eventually began to branch out on his own. Somewhere between Dick Brewer and Hawk’s eponymous label, Sam Hawk crafted boards under the Brewer Hawk Surfboards name. During this stint he adopted Brewer’s famous plumeria flower wreath logo. It’s interesting to contrast Brewer Hawk Surfboards with Brewer Chapman Surfboards (the latter representing, of course, Owl Chapman’s foray into shaping for himself), which are practically mirror images of one another.

Sam Hawk Owl Chapman Dick Brewer.jpg
From left to right: Sam Hawk, Owl Chapman, and Dick Brewer. Date and photographer are unknown

Anyway, this is all a very roundabout way of saying you don’t see too many Brewer Hawk Surfboards around. Owl continues to shape under the Brewer Chapman Surfboards brand, however. The board you see below is a Sam Hawk Seventies single fin that recently popped up for sale on Craigslist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Brewer Hawk Surfboards Sam Hawk Single FinBrewer Hawk Surfboards Sam Hawk Single Fin BottomBrewer Hawk Surfboards Sam Hawk Single Fin Tail

I’m not sure when the board was shaped, but I’m guessing somewhere in the 1973 to 1976 range. I could be completely off, however. The Brewer Hawk Surfboards example here is a classic Seventies single fin in a lot of ways, from the glassed on fin to the wings in the tail. The Sam Hawk surfboard is approximately 7’3″ x 19 1/2″. All the photos of the board are via Craigslist; the listing has since been taken down.

The Brewer Hawk Surfboards sled pictured above is simply gorgeous. I love all the different colors going on, from the simple red deck to the contrasting cream bottom, and the multiple colors on the fin. If you look closely you’ll notice some nice detailed pin line work as well: there is a double pin line on the deck (contrasting white and blue), and then a red pin line on the bottom. While there’s a bit of an ugly ding on the back, a more knowledgeable friend speculated that the color matching for the repair wouldn’t be so tough, given the neutral color on the bottom.

Either way it’s a beautiful board, and part of me is very much wishing I had tried to snag the Brewer Hawk Surfboards stick. Now all I can say is I hope it has gone to a happy home. Finally, for a bonus, see below for a different Sam Hawk single fin.

Social Media Roundup: Herbie Fletcher’s Hawaiian Boards and More

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a smattering of social media posts from the past month or so, that I think you might enjoy. Keep scrolling for more…

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In 1969, I was having the time of my life living on the North Shore with Dibi, and surfing some of the biggest waves that ever hit the Hawaiian Islands. I hand shaped this 7’4” diamond tail board, and the nose on this board had plenty of concave; it was perfect for riding fast in the tube — and that’s just what I did! ——————————————————————————— (📷: @artbrewer) #astrodeck #theoriginator #since1976 #tractionpad #45degreetovert #wavewarriors #adrenalinesurfseries #thethrillisback #sideslipboogie #surfhistory #surffilm #fletcherdna #genepoolofcool #herbiefletcher #dibifletcher #artist #style #love #fun #performanceart #wrecktangles #wallofdisaster #archipelagos #bloodwaterseries #caseofarrows #hawaii #northshore #1969 #60s #fbf @dibifletcher @astrodeck @wavewarriors @fletcherdna @rvca @rvcasurf

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Pictured above we have two Herbie Fletcher boards shaped for Hawaii, happening at opposite ends of his career to date. The board in the top photo is a square nose longboard Herbie made recently and the lower photo features a 7’4″ diamond tail shaped in 1969.

This month Taylor Knox comes with not one but two separate entries. The first shot shows Ben Aipa making it look easy in some serious Hawaiian juice; the second is Taylor Knox putting a Mark Richards twinny through its paces.

And here’s one more that really ties the room together: MR, Owl Chapman, and Ben Aipa, sometime during the Seventies.

I wrote up this awesome Stussy twin fin recently. Here’s a shot of former Stussy team rider John Gothard brandishing another S double stick with some interesting looking fins.

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.

Terry Fitzgerald for Lightning Bolt

Hawaii is, and will always be, the center of the surfing world. Even as globalization pushes surfing into new and interesting corners, like retro longboarding’s unlikely resurgence in Indonesia, Hawaii is not only the birthplace of surfing, but the very place where much of its history continues to be made.

The 1970s were a particularly fertile and fascinating time in surfing’s development. It was during this decade that Australians descended upon the North Shore of Oahu, raising eyebrows with their brash surfing and matching attitudes. While the “Bustin’ Down the Door” episode has rightfully earned its spot in surfing history, the arrival of top Australian pros on Hawaiian shores had another side effect: many fruitful collaborations between Aussies and their Hawaiian counterparts.

I wrote an earlier post about a board Terry Fitzgerald shaped for Dick Brewer, which you can find here. Mark Richards is another example of an Australian surfer / designer who found inspiration in the Hawaiian boards of the 1970s. MR still counts Ben Aipa and Dick Brewer among his influences. MR has written some great posts on the subject, and he continues to produce his version of an Aipa sting today! And if you prefer the reverse commute, Von Weirdos has a Hot Buttered surfboard shaped by Owl Chapman.

Today’s post, however, covers another Terry Fitzgerald board: a rare example of a Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt collaboration. The story behind the board comes courtesy of Gavin Scott, an Australian collector with a special interest in what he calls the “Aussie / Hawaiian cross-pollination.” During the early 1970s, Lightning Bolt founders Gerry Lopez and Jack Shipley invited Fitzgerald to do some shaping for the brand while he was spending the winter on the North Shore. Fitzgerald already had Hot Buttered up and running, but the way Fitz tells it, he took on the gig shaping for Lightning Bolt for some money on the side and to refine his designs. The board below is one of but four boards Fitzgerald shaped for his initial run at the Lightning Bolt shop.

Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt Surfboard.jpg
Terry Fitzgerald posing with one of the few surfboards he shaped for Lightning Bolt. Note the fluted wings in the tail, which TF attributes to Reno Abellira’s influence. Pic via Gavin Scott

The Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt board is filled with all kinds of beautiful details. I’m particularly drawn to the precise double-winged pintail and the striking white pin line on the bottom of the board:

Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt Surfboard 2
Close up of the fin. Check out the white pin line! Pic via Gavin Scott

The Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt board also has some interesting laminates. On the deck you can see the famous Bolt laminate. The bottom, though, has a Lightning Bolt logo that I have personally never seen before. The board’s owner tells me that the text Lightning Bolt logo along the stringer is something that Roy Stamm did with many of the boards he glassed.

Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt Surfboard Logo.jpg
Unusual Lightning Bolt logo along the stringer on the bottom of the board. Apparently this was a common technique for Roy Stamm, who glassed the board. Pic via Gavin Scott

After purchasing the board, Gavin was able to get a certificate of authenticity from Terry Fitzgerald that details the board’s history. I have included a photo below:

Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt Surfboard 1
Certificate of Authenticity by Terry Fitzgerald for the board pictured above. TF goes all out on these certificates! Not only does Fitzgerald get deep into the design elements, he also provides great context on the state of surfing during the time the board was made. Pic via Gavin Scott

As you can see in the certificate of authenticity, the board was shaped in Hawaii in 1973. I love how TF goes through the various influences that informed the board’s final design, including a nod to Barry Kanaiaupuni’s radical stylings at Sunset Beach. The board truly is a product of Hawaiian and Australian influences, spanning Fitzgerald’s experiences from Narrabeen to Sunset. I love how comprehensive the certificate is, going as far as to credit Roy Stamm with the lovely glass job.

Randy Rarick also played a part in this board making its way back to Australia. Rarick was kind enough to share some back story on the board. Apparently Rarick found the Terry Fitzgerald Lightning Bolt on the West Side of Oahu and then turned it over to a friend. Eventually the board made its way to Gavin Scott, its current owner. Scott was responsible for getting the certificate of authenticity and the back story from Terry Fitzgerald. Many thanks to Gavin for making this post possible! You can also check out Gavin’s activity on the Vintage Surfboard Collectors Group on Facebook, where he is kind enough to share more of his incredible collection.

Photo at the top of the page taken by Jeff Divine.

Shred Sledz Presents: September 15 Grab Bag (Hawaii Edition)

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest edition of the Grab Bag, where I’ll be featuring some of the more notable boards I have seen listed for sale over the past few weeks. Today’s entry has a distinct Hawaiian flavor , as all of the boards covered below are from famous labels that hail from the birthplace of surfing.

Lightning Bolt Rory Russell Twin Fin (eBay)

This thing is KILLER! First, it’s in excellent condition. Actually, let me back up: first and foremost, the board just looks awesome. Even if you didn’t know the first thing about Lightning Bolt or Rory Russell, this board makes you stop and look. Maybe that makes me shallow…or maybe I just have impeccable taste when it comes to vintage surf craft. I’m always a sucker for intricate details, and I love the Clark Foam and Rory Russell Model laminates on the tail. The board is 5’4″. Is this considered a fish? I never see the Rory Russell twin fins referred to as such, but they seem pretty fish-like to me. Bidding is already hovering near $700 with four more days to go. Pics above via the eBay listing.

Surfboards Hawaii Owl Chapman Gun (Craigslist)

I love the old school Surfboards Hawaii logo, which is one of my favorite surfboard labels ever. Apparently this board was shaped by none other than Owl Chapman, uncle to current North Shore pro Kalani Chapman, and all-round Oahu fixture. I asked the seller if there’s a signature anywhere on the board, but I haven’t heard back. I’m not sure when this board was made, but I am guessing very early 1970s, based on the shape of the pintail, what looks like an after-market leash plug, and the glass-on fin. I have never seen a straight up Surfboards Hawaii Owl Chapman surfboard before. The pairing makes sense, given Chapman’s association with Dick Brewer, and the fact Brewer founded Surfboards Hawaii in 1961. The board is 9′, the board is located in Los Angeles, California, and the seller is asking $900.

Dick Brewer Gun and 1970s Single Fin (Craigslist & eBay)

There are currently two great Dick Brewer boards for sale. The first, pictured above, is a 8′ x 19-1/2″ x 3″ gun with glass-on fins in a thruster setup that should be ideal for the upcoming winter. It is being sold in Orange County, California. You can find a link to the board here. The seller is asking $600. I think that price is extremely reasonable, given that the board looks to be in excellent condition.

You want a Dick Brewer signature? Great, then how about another one? It’s a little odd that Brewer signed the board twice, but either way, I feel confident in saying the board was shaped by Brewer himself.

There’s a 1970s Dick Brewer single fin available on eBay that also bears two Dick Brewer signatures. Pic above is via the listing, which you can find here. The seller is asking $1500 for the board. The 1970s single fin has a wonderful old school outline and glassed on fin. Unfortunately, the pics provided with the eBay listing are pretty poor, so I have omitted them from the post. Still, I encourage you to click through and check them out for yourself.

As for the price difference, the best I can offer is that Brewer prices can be all over the place. I think one should expect genuine 1970s Dick Brewer single fins to command higher prices than newer boards. The gun on Craigslist is clearly newer (I would guess mid-1990s or later) and in better condition, but I imagoine 1970s single fins have more cachet.

Lightning Bolt 1970s Single Fin by Darrell Beckmeier (Craigslist)

Darrell Beckmeier was a fixture at Lightning Bolt during the 1970s. There’s a beautiful example of one of his boards that currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. Pics above are via the listing. The board is 6’6″ x 19-1/2″ (no dimension listed for thickness). The seller is asking $750. I’m honestly not sure what to make of this price, and how Beckmeier’s boards compare in value to other Bolt shapers. Still, it doesn’t get any more classic than single-fin Bolts!

Quivers of Distiction: An Awesome North Shore Owl Chapman Collection

If the surf industry were a high school cafeteria, then Saturdays NYC would definitely be sitting at the cool kids’ table. I imagine the Saturdays founders are hanging out with European models in SoHo right now while I sit here in my apartment, surrounded by empty Kind Bar wrappers and piles of unfolded laundry. But I digress. Saturdays used to publish a killer print magazine filled with beautiful photography and great features. I highly recommend picking up a back issue or two. Nowadays, Saturdays Magazine can be found online, where it continues to publish great content. The most recent blog post details the Owl Chapman quivers of two North Shore fixtures, Andy St. Onge and Rick Williams. Owl Chapman remains one of the pre-eminent builders of big wave boards, and the Saturdays Magazine post is a great opportunity to get a closer look at his shapes. Check out the blog post here, and if you know the Saturdays guys, put in a good word for me so I can come to one of their parties the next time I’m in New York.

Photo above via Saturdays Magazine. Photo taken by Joey Trisolini. jtrisolini on Instagram

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (3/22)

Greetings, Shredderz! Here is the latest in vintage surfboard news from the far reaches of the interwebs, collected all in one place.

Luis Real is the owner of North Shore Surf Shop on Oahu. He is also the owner an extensive collection of vintage surfboards that has been known to bring grown men to tears. He posts a lot of incredible stuff on Instagram and on the Vintage Surfboard Collectors group on Facebook. This post above is a rad picture of a rare Dick Brewer logo that features Sam Hawk and Owl Chapman as well. Note that in the top portion of the pic, Sam Hawk is on the left, Owl Chapman is in the middle, and Brewer himself is to the right.

Today’s post features some tasty Bonzer content for all you alternative surf craft fans. Check out this Shane Bonzer shaped by none other than Simon Anderson! This is a cool look at one of Anderson’s earlier experiments with a tri-fun setup before he invented the proper thruster and revolutionized surfboard designs forever. Note that the owner of the account above is none other than Duncan Campbell, brother of Malcolm and one of the co-founders of Campbell Bros.

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I'll take the brown one

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Your last Bonzer related post of the day comes from none other than Joel Tudor. Check out the comments in the thread where Tudor and Malcolm Campbell are discussing how Joel is going to take that thing down from the rafters and have the outlined copied so he can make a repro. Check out the fin placement on the board on the right — just like the Campbell Bros recommend. Love the little “Bonzer Vehicles” logos you can see next to the side bites, not to mention the funky double concave and the super thinned out tails.

Look at this beautiful example of a Steve Lis fish! And check out those dimensions: at 5’2″ x 20 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ it’s not hard to see the kneeboarding influence. You can barely see a little logo on the bottom of the board towards the top.

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Presents Expression Session 1

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Surfboards and Coffee (looks like their website isn’t quite ready for primetime yet) is a group of surfboard collectors in LA that host regular meetups to compare boards and ingest some caffeine. If I lived in that lovely City of Angels I’d like to think I’d be a regular, but alas Shred Sledz HQ isn’t moving from the Bay Area any time soon. Anyway, check them out on Instagram (and how about the spray job on that Stussy!)

Last but not least, Marc Andreini took to Facebook to explain some of the backstory behind his famous Vaquero design. The board on the right is an early predecessor of the Vaquero — then called the “365”, because Andreini and co found they could surf the board nearly every day of the year — from 1974.

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.

Buttons and Owl: Two Hawaiian Counter Culture Icons

This board represents a timeless combination of two of the better-known figures in Hawaiian surf history: 70s pro surfer Buttons Kaluhiokalani, and legendary shaper Owl Chapman.

Found on Craigslist in San Diego, this board is a 7′ single fin shaped by Chapman (see his signature on the stringer in the 3rd picture) intended as a tribute to Buttons.

Buttons is one of the most iconic figures to come out of the North Shore of Oahu, which is saying something, considering the island’s place in surfing history. He has been immortalized in a number of pictures from the era, including many of Jeff Divine’s photos.

Photo by Jeff Divine

Owl Chapman still lives and shapes on the North Shore, and he continues to supply boards to some of the best surfers in the area. It was interesting to come across this one, which has Buttons’ distinct logo, and bears Chapman’s signature on the stringer. If I had to guess the board is probably a recent shape, judging from the condition as well as the FCS fin boxes for the side bites.

For $1200 it isn’t cheap, but it’s in immaculate condition, and has a ton of cool Hawaiian surf history involved. You can check it out here.