Vintage Gotcha Ad with Pottz and Dino Andino: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred. Today we’ll be exploring a vintage Gotcha ad from 1990. Gotcha was founded in 1978 by South African surfer Michael Tomson, cousin to Shaun. (I recently wrote up a sick Stussy board that once belonged to Michael Tomson, which you can see here.) The brand saw its greatest success during the 1980s and the early 1990s, when its loud aesthetic helped set the tone for surf culture as a whole.

Successful surfwear brands are often defined by their team riders, whether it was the combination of Kelly Slater and Quiksilver in the 1990s, OP and Tom Curren in the 1980s. Even today, when the big corporate surf brands have seen their grip on culture begin to slip, Mick Fanning and Rip Curl are still synonymous with one another. Gotcha was no exception to this rule, having been home to pros like Brock Little (RIP), Derek Ho, Rob Machado and Matt Archbold.

Gotcha’s most iconic team rider, though, has to be Martin Potter. The vintage Gotcha ad featured in this post originally ran in a 1990 issue of Surfer Magazine, and as you can see, it prominently features Pottz. Eagle-eyed readers will notice Pottz is going off the top on a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model board. The other pro surfer featured in the ad is none other than Dino Andino, Southern California fixture and father to current WSL competitor Kolohe.

I tend to feature ads that I find amusing — like this earlier Gotcha / Pottz spot — but in the case of the example above, I think it’s a compelling piece of graphic design. The vintage Gotcha ad actually reminds me of Volcom ads from the late 1990s. Beyond the shared homemade collage aesthetic, the Gotcha ad channels the raw energy and creativity that made Volcom so irresistible during its peak.

It’s also interesting that this Gotcha ad reads “More Core.” At some point during the late 1980s, Gotcha spun off More Core Division into a separate sub-brand, which was Andy Irons’ sponsor for many years before Billabong stepped in. I’m guessing this ad just barely pre-dates MCD’s existence as a separate line.

Gotcha More Core Division.jpeg
Photo via Michael Tomson’s personal website.

It’s a shame that Gotcha is no longer around, although Urban Outfitters recently released a small collection in conjunction with the storied label. Even sadder, Michael Tomson was arrested a few years ago on suspicion of cocaine trafficking in Southern California. For a sunnier look at things, the Surfer’s Journal ran this excellent interview with Tomson covering some of the better stories from Gotcha’s run. Even if things didn’t end on a particularly high note, there’s no denying Gotcha’s place in history as a formative surf brand.

Thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred and come back in a week for even more!

Blue Hawaii Pottz Model Ad: Sagas of Shred

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, by now you probably know that the one-man Shred Sledz staff has a soft spot for the surfboards of the 80s. And in a decade filled to the brim with colorful characters and even more eye-catching boards, Martin Potter stands out. Pottz’s “Saint” Town & Country twin fin is his most famous board. In fact, its signature green and yellow spray job is still emulated today. The Blue Hawaii Pottz Model might not be as famous, but it’s a stick that has many fans, especially for examples bearing the signature blue flame airbrush around the rails.

The photo featured above is an old Blue Hawaii ad that appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1988. Blue Hawaii was a surfboard brand that is sadly no more. I believe Blue Hawaii was founded by shaper Glenn Minami, who was the original shaper behind Pottz’s famous “Saint” twin fin. Stoked-n-Board claims Blue Hawaii was founded in 1984. I’m guessing Minami must have left Town & Country around the same time, and brought Pottz with him shortly afterwards.

The other thing that’s interesting about the ad is the customizable “bullseye” spray job that could be applied to boards. I have scoured the internet for examples of a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model with a bullseye design, but I was only able to find one. Even so, I think the example below is a custom spray job for an actual Martin Potter personal rider, versus a mass-produced version that is offered in the advertisement. I’m wondering if the board on the far right was actually the inspiration for the bullseye design in the ad.

I also can’t get enough of the shipping rates. Granted, the advertisement ran 30 years ago, but $25 to get a board shipped from Hawaii to the mainland? That is absolute madness. I’d almost take those rates over the board!

If you have any leads on some pictures of a Blue Hawaii Pottz Model with a bullseye airbrush on it, I’d love to learn more. Otherwise, thanks for reading and stop by next week for even more Sagas of Shred.

Questionable Moments in Surf Advertising History: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! If you’re currently wondering whether or not this humble little vintage surfboard blog took a sudden left turn, let me assure you that is not the case. Shred Sledz remains as dedicated as ever to our mission of shedding light on the great surfboards and craftsmen of yesteryear. But let’s face it: this 1980s Gotcha ad is simply too funny not to post.

Throw in a pair of acid wash jeans and the ad hits every single cliche about bad fashion in the 1980s. More importantly…what on earth is going on? Is the painting on the left supposed to be coming to life? Why is the other guy just staring off in the distance? Sadly, seeing as how this is a family friendly blog, I think there are many questions that will have to go unanswered. And if you haven’t noticed, that’s Pottz who’s getting his tank top stretched out. Not sure how they coerced him into doing this photo shoot. I imagine the ad was originally intended to be edgy and provocative, but with three decades worth of perspective behind us, the entire thing is silly. I say that affectionately, though: no matter what, I will always have a soft spot for the weird and colorful creations that the surf industry produced during the eighties.

Fun fact: the Gotcha logo that appears in the ad was actually designed by Shawn Stussy.

As always, tune in next Thursday for the next installment of Sagas of Shred!

Town & Country Pottz Model

Greetings, Shredderz! While some surfboard aficionados don’t enjoy talking prices, here at Shred Sledz we’re not only fans of capitalism, but also transparency. One of the most iconic boards from modern pro surfing is Martin Potter’s T&C twin fin emblazoned with the iconic green and yellow airbrush. A Town & Country Pottz airbrush board recently sold on eBay, providing a little insight into the market for the former champ’s boards. I have included some pictures of the board below (pics via the original eBay listing).

The final price for the board ended up being $1,300. As you can see in the pictures above, the board is in pretty good condition (I omitted a picture of a decent ding along one of the board’s rails).

First, if you’re inclined, I think there are some questions around whether or not the example above should be considered a proper Pottz board. Of course, Potter rode for T&C, and the airbrush is unmistakable, but as far as I can tell, T&C never released a mass market Pottz model until recently, the way Channel Islands put Tom Curren’s Black Beauty design in surf shops everywhere.

Then again, that’s not the point: the board above is a genuine Town & Country board from the 1980s in good condition, complete with an iconic design. Is it nitpicking to mention that the airbrush on the board above is a lesser-known variant on the classic Pottz spray job, and not the original one?

I won’t attempt to answer the metaphysical questions around how one defines a Pottz board. Instead, I’ll just state the obvious: cool surfboards from the 1980s often command a pretty penny on the open market.

Chuck Andrus in Disguise

Chalk this one up to mysterious bloodlines.

When I stumbled across this HIC board on Craigslist, I thought it must have been a Martin Potter pro model, as evidenced by the giant logo on the bottom of the board (see left).

However, the more research I do, I can’t find any evidence of Pottz having ever been a team rider for Hawaiian Island Creations. Pottz’s most famous boards were for Town & Country Surfboards and Blue Hawaii Surf, which you can see pictured below:

Photo below credit thevintagesurfboard.com

If you look closely, you can see the “Pottz Pro Model” logo on the HIC board is a perfect replica of the Blue Hawaii board above. This makes me think that it simply might be a decal or something else.

The HIC board has “Team” written on the stringer, which strikes me as something of an odd touch as well. Finally, there is a clear signature from Chuck Andrus, whom Stoked-N-Board lists as having been an HIC shaper.

Check out the board here and drop me a note if you have any ideas as to the origins of this board!

Last of the Wildmen: Martin “Pottz” Potter

Whoever posted this little number must be dreaming about the price – $1,000 is a lot for a surfboard, no matter what! – but it’s still worth looking at the pictures. Located on Craigslist in Daytona Beach, Florida is a cool little Blue Hawaii ‘Pottz’ board, named after legendary former tour surfer Martin Potter and shaped by well-regarded Hawaiian shaper Greg Minami. This is different from the board most surf fans associate with Pottz – the T&C with the jagged green outline and yellow deck – but nonetheless still a fantastic memento from the surf industry of yesteryear. Check it out here.