Vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull

My first ever surfboard — which is still in my possession, thank you — is an oversized Channel Islands thruster from the late 1990s. It still bears many relics from a time when the Momentum generation was the coolest thing since sliced bread, including an outdated On A Mission traction pad and what I thought at the time was a small, tastefully done Volcom sticker. I may not have realized it at the time, but buying that board planted the seeds for what has bloomed into a fascination with Channel Islands Surfboards as well as Al Merrick, the board making maestro behind the marque. Thus, today’s post particularly special, as it features a beautiful late 1970s vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull in pristine condition. The board featured here comes courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Kenny G, who was generous enough to share this stunning sled. Many thanks to Kenny G for spreading the stoke!

Vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane HullVintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull 1

Alright, enough appetizers — let’s move onto the steak! As you can see, the vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull pictured above is clean and it is most certainly mean as well. Kenny bought the board in 1978 from the Channel Islands Surfboards store in Santa Barbara when he was a grom. Since then, the board has avoided any significant repairs, as you can see in the pictures. Señor G was also kind enough to provide dimensions: the board is 5’11-1/2″ x 19-3/4″ x 2-5/8″, and then 13-1/4″ in the nose, and 14-1/2″ in the tail.

Vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull Tail 1
Close up of the tail. I love the black pinline work!

Oh, and the hits just keep coming! There are a million details on this board, each more killer than the last. I love the super simple black pinline, and then the unusual Channel Islands laminates on the rails. The logo on the rails looks like the same font used in the Channel Islands logo on the “Tri Plane Hull” laminate on the bottom of the board, but with the words placed on a single line instead. It’s a logo placement you don’t see too often. The double wings in the tail are absolutely gorgeous, as well.

Vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull Tail Closeup
Double wing pintail with a gorgeous example of an original 70s Rainbow Fin in a classic shave ice colorway

And in case you were starting to worry that this board didn’t have enough good things going for it already, why yes, it also has a pristine original Rainbow Fin. Do your best not to drool all over your keyboard while reading this post.

Vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull Bottom
Close up photo of the double concave in the tail, a hallmark of Al Merrick’s Tri Plane Hull design
Kenny provided a close up photo of the board’s tail. The photo above is a wonderful illustration of the namesake of the vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull. In the picture above you can clearly see the double concave in the tail, which is one of the critical elements of Merrick’s pioneering tri plane hull design.
Vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull Signature 1
Merrick’s most recognizable signature is the “fish / Al” design that you’ll see on many of his later boards. However, the “Shaped by Al Merrick” signature is common on many early Channel Islands surfboards from the Seventies
Kenny’s vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull has a signature from the man himself. I wrote two earlier posts dissecting Merrick’s signatures on various Channel Islands surfboards, which you can find here and here. The board is clearly numbered #6044. I featured #6106 in one of the earlier Al Merrick signature breakdowns, and the appearances of both boards suggest that they were shaped within short time periods of one another during the late 1970s.
Once again, many thanks to Kenny for sharing his incredible vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull and the story behind the board. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites here, but this is one of the coolest boards I have had the pleasure of writing up on this blog. As always, if you have a board you’d like to see featured here, please drop me a line or slide in those Instagram DMs.

Herbie Fletcher Longboard from 1975

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have a surfboard from a man who has appeared many times on this humble little blog: the one-of-a-kind Herbie Fletcher. Fletcher is a surfer, a shaper, a businessman and an artist, a multi-hyphenate before that kind of thing ever really became cool. Pictured below is a neat example of a Herbie Fletcher longboard that was shaped in 1975, according to the seller.

The Craigslist posting for the board above is no longer up. Pics are via the original listing. It’s got a beautiful nearly opaque glass job in the classic Coke bottle hues. I love the Herbie Fletcher logo located on the deck towards the tail. The Herbie Fletcher longboard pictured above measures in at 8’6″, a bit on the shorter end for a traditional noserider. It’s interesting that the board was shaped during 1975, during a time when longboards had fallen somewhat out of fashion; then again, I get the sense that Herbie is the kind of guy who marches to the beat of his own drum.

Herbie Fletcher Longboard 1975 8'6" 2.jpg

The Herbie Fletcher longboard also comes with a sick vintage Rainbow Fin. You usually don’t see Rainbow Fins with such dark colors, but I dig it overall.

One thing about Herbie’s boards is I have never been able to tell the difference between boards hand shaped by Fletcher and those produced by other shapers working under the label. For example, I posted a old Astrodeck ad that listed Mike Perry as being a shaper for the Herbie Fletcher brand. In addition, there’s actually a Herbie Fletcher single fin that’s currently listed for sale on eBay. The eBay board has a signature from shaper Del Miller, who was a protege of Rich Harbour‘s during the 1970s. In fact, I have yet to see a Herbie Fletcher signature anywhere on a board, and I’m beginning to think that he simply didn’t sign any of his creations. If anyone has more info, I’d love to hear it.

And while I’m a stickler for hand shapes, I think it’s a bit besides the point as to who actually shaped the Herbie Fletcher longboard featured here. It’s a beautiful board from one of the modern legends of the sport, and that’s more than good enough for me.

Shred Sledz Presents: 4/10 Weekend Grab Bag (Harbour, Surfboards Hawaii, Gordon & Smith)

These “weekend” posts are increasingly stretching into Monday evening territory, so apologies for the delay. With that said, here’s a mix of some interesting surfboards I’ve come across recently.

Harbour Banana Longboard

Today’s post features not one, but two great deals regarding some Harbour boards. First is a Harbour Banana model for sale for $600 on Craigslist in Santa Ana, California (Orange County). You can find the board here. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Rich Harbour is charging an additional $500 just to hand shape a board! This thing is underpriced, considering. The Banana looks like it was shaped recently, it’s in great condition, and the listing has clear pictures of the signature. Check it here.

 

Harbour Spherical Revolver

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This deal might be better than the first (and I’m sorely tempted to pull the trigger on this thing myself). There’s a Harbour Spherical Revolver for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles that’s going for a mere $300. You can find the board here. The pictures on the post aren’t great, but there aren’t any major areas of concern I can identify off the bat. Now is as good a time as any to remind you that Shred Sledz’s Official Policy regarding these matters is that you should see a board in person before pulling the trigger.

 

Surfboards Hawaii Mike Slingerland Single Fin

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First, the good news: there’s a Mike Slingerland-shaped Surfboards Hawaii single fin currently for sale on eBay, and it features a rad alternate logo that I have never seen before. You can find the link here. Right now, the bidding is at a mere $45. The bad news? The board has a pretty gruesome repair that needs to be re-done. Either way, it’s a cool example of a later-era Surfboards Hawaii board.

 

Guy Okazaki Single Fin

Guy Okazaki is a Venice-based shaper who has been plying his trade way before Venice was ever cool. There’s a 70s single fin he shaped that is currently for sale for $475 on Craigslist in Simi Valley, which is right outside of Los Angeles. You can find that link here. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about Okazaki himself, but this is a beautiful classic 70s single fin with a great rainbow fin, and it looks like it has been kept in pretty impeccable condition.

 

Bargain Bin

I won’t justify these with pics.

$80 for a Phil Becker-shaped Rick Board. Board isn’t in great condition, but $80 for a Becker Phil is worth mentioning. Craigslist, Orange County: link here.

$50 for a Russell single fin. Shawn Stussy used to shape for Russell back in the day; could be worth taking a flyer on this thing in the hopes that this could be true. Craigslist, Los Angeles: link here.

$300 for a Schroff shortboard. This price isn’t a bargain, per se — the board has the older logo and it’s not one of the obvious 80s versions that the collectors go crazy over. I’m having a hard time telling if this thing is a re-issue or if it really is vintage. Glass on fins are making me lean towards the latter but don’t quote me. It has some cool channels on the bottom, too. Craigslist, San Clemente: link here.