Randy Rarick: North Shore Icon

Greetings, Shredderz! A few months ago I had the good fortune to visit Oahu. Even if you have so much as a passing interest in surfing, Hawaii, and the North Shore in particular, is Mecca. Every winter the storied seven mile stretch of coastline becomes the center of the sport, hosting countless pilgrimages from around the world. Even for someone like me, whose surfing ability is best described as limited, a visit to Oahu’s proving grounds is practically required. During my time in Hawaii I had the good fortune of spending part of an afternoon with North Shore fixture Randy Rarick. Rarick, who still rips Sunset Beach, owns one of the most varied and fascinating surfing resumes on the planet: a surfer, first and foremost; a shaper, with stints at both Surf Line Hawaii and Lightning Bolt; an event organizer, who served as the longtime contest director for the Triple Crown of Surfing; and perhaps the authority on vintage surfboards.

Rarick and his home break of Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore, just steps from his house and shaping room.

Rarick is known for glass-off restorations of vintage boards. The process involves completely stripping off the fiberglass from a board and then re-glassing the shape. It is a long and laborious process that transforms beaters destined for the trash heap into showroom-worthy collectors’ items. If you have ever looked at recent high-end surfboard auctions, you have no doubt seen Rarick’s work. It’s also worth noting that Rarick pioneered the collector-focused surfboard auctions, although he has since passed the baton.

There are a range of opinions on the practice of full glass-off restorations — surfers are nothing if not opinionated — and at one extreme, the most vocal critics claim this can compromise the integrity of the board itself. Rarick has shared extensive thoughts on the subject, and for more on his perspective, I highly recommend this Surfer’s Journal profile. Many folks far more knowledgeable than me have weighed in on the subject, and while I personally love (and prefer) the slight imperfections of older boards, I simultaneously have a deep respect for the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into a full glass-off restoration.

Rarick’s shaping room has probably seen more classic surfboards than any other place on earth. As you can see in the photo below, Rarick preserves laminates from boards he has restored. Each one of the laminates pinned to the walls represents a board that Rarick worked on.

Yes, that is eleven different Phil Edwards Honolulu laminates you see.

I love the practice of preserving the original laminates from these boards. If nothing else, it’s a great way to document the sheer number of notable surfboards that have passed through Rarick’s shaping room. When I picked up my jaw off the floor and told Rarick I couldn’t believe how many rare shapes he had restored, he casually mentioned that there had been even more laminates hanging up until someone had come through and purchased a bunch.

Rarick’s shaping room is small, and it’s hard to imagine a space with more surf history per square inch. And while there are plenty of reminders of all the boards Rarick has worked on in the past, I was just as interested in the projects that were currently under way. In the photo below you can see a unique wooden blank (second from top). The blank is actually crafted from wiliwili, also known as Hawaiian balsa, as part of a project with Tom Parrish, another renowned Hawaiian shaper and Lightning Bolt alumnus.

Parrish posted a different wiliwili board on his Instagram, which I have embedded below.

During my visit Rarick was in the midst of restoring an Inter-Island Surf Shop Hydro Gun shaped by John Kelly. The board would later appear at the California Gold Vintage Surf Auction.

Inter-Island Surf Shop John Kelly Hydro Gun, stripped down to the foam

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Kelly’s Hydro Gun is the insane Scorpion tail, which you can see below.

Close up of the scorpion tail on the John Kelly Hydro Gun

It was really cool to see the board as a bare blank, midway through the restoration process. I don’t have any photos of what the Hydro Gun looked like before the restoration, but the auction listing has some great shots of the finished product.

Rarick was incredibly generous with both his time as well as the vast amounts of knowledge he has accumulated over the decades. Speaking with Rarick was also a reminder of the importance of learning surf history by meeting the people who helped make it. There are times when I chafe at surfing’s fondness for oral tradition, mostly because it can make research so difficult. And while I am a proud advocate of putting as much surf history online as possible, my time with Rarick underscored the fact that it’s so much more informative and rewarding to speak to people in person, especially when those conversations take place steps from storied Sunset Beach. Thanks again to Randy Rarick for sharing his time and making this modest blog post possible.

Photo at the top of the page by Lance Trout; Randy Rarick, Sunset Beach, 1978.

[UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Barry Kanaiaupuni as Reno Abellira. The caption has been updated. Sorry for the mistake and thanks to everyone who helpfully pointed it out.)

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.

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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.

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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.

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail Personal Rider

First, if you haven’t seen the previous posts on Rick Surfboards and you’re interested in learning more about the brand, I recommend checking them out. Here are links for Part I and Part II.

Pictured above is a super rare Barry Kanaiaupuni personal rider with the Rick Surfboards logo. The pictures come courtesy of Randy Rarick / Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction. The Rick BK personal rider above was sold at the 2011 Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction. Prior to that, it was on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu for a number of years (anyone know how I can hire that interior decorator?) Many thanks to Mr. Rarick for providing the pictures and the background on the board!

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Personal Rider Randy Rarick Logo.png
Rare version of the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Hawaii logo. I have never seen this logo before — either the cupped hands design or the Hawaii designation. Picture via Randy Rarick / Hawiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction

One of the coolest things about the BK rider — you know, besides the fact that it was ridden by BK himself! — is the logo. It is the only board I have ever seen with this Rick Surfboards Hawaii variant logo. According to Rarick, during the time when Rick Surfboards was producing its BK Pintail models, the brand opened up a store in Honolulu on Kapiolani Boulevard. Kanaiaupuni shaped some custom boards with Rick logos from their Honolulu store. My guess is the pink board pictured above was likely either shaped or sold at the Rick Surfboards Honolulu shop, hence the Hawaii logo. I’m not sure of the significance of the hands above the logo, but I am sure that it looks really, really cool.

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Personal Rider Randy Rarick 3
Close up of the glass-on fin. Pic via Randy Rarick / Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction

I’m not sure when the Rick BK personal rider was shaped, but the board does have a distinct outline similar to other Transition Era boards. I imagine this board was put through its paces at Sunset!

For more on the Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction, visit the website here. Thanks again to Randy Rarick for the pictures and information in this post.

Rick Surfboards Part II: Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail (A Shred Sledz Deep Dive)

An in-depth overview of the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model surfboard produced during the Transition Era of the late 1960s

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post is Part II of our exploration of one of surfing’s most influential but still somehow underground surfboard labels: Rick Surfboards. If you missed Part I, which covers Rick noseriders and pre-Transition Era models, please check it out here. The initial version of the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model, produced starting in 1966, was a noserider. Rick Surfboards BK Model longboards continue to command high prices; one recently sold at the California Gold vintage surf auction for $2,450.

In 1967, with the Transition Era underway, Rick Surfboards released a shorter surfboard made for the steep, challenging conditions of Hawaii’s North Shore, and, of course, its namesake’s radical surfing. The end result was the Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail model.

The canvas for Kanaiaupuni’s new equipment — I’ve seen his Transition Era boards referred to as both pocket rockets and mini-guns — was big wave spot Sunset Beach. Barry K’s exploits at Sunset resulted in some iconic surf photographs, including shots from famed photographers Art Brewer and Jeff Divine.

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Barry Kanaiaupuni and one of his signature bottom turns. Sunset Beach, 1972. Photo by Jeff Divine.

Barry Kanaiaupuni’s Early Shaping Days

From what I can tell, the longboard version of the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model was produced only during 1966 and 1967. I believe sometime in 1967 Rick Surfboards began producing the Pintail version of the BK Model. Stoked-n-Board claims the BK Pintail was produced until 1982. I find this unlikely for two reasons. First, just about every BK Pintail I have seen has a distinct Transition Era outline, which would have been outdated for the 1970s, much less the early 1980s. Second, Barry Kanaiaupuni started shaping for other brands during the early 1970s.

The Encyclopedia of Surfing tells us Kanaiaupuni began his shaping career at Rick Surfboards, followed by stints at Country Surfboards, Surf Line Hawaii, and then Lightning Bolt. This sequence makes me think Rick Surfboards ceased production on the BK Pintail well before 1982. There are many examples of boards shaped by Kanaiaupuni for other brands well before 1982: Surfboard Hoard has a Chuck Dent brand shaped by BK dated to 1969; I have seen a BK Surf Line Hawaii board dated to 1971; and Surfing Cowboys has a Lightning Bolt BK board supposedly made in 1972. Based on this evidence, I believe the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model was produced from 1967 until the early 1970s, at the latest.

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail: Gun

Pictured above is an unusual example of the Rick Surfboards BK Pintail. Although dimensions for the board are not listed on the post, you can see the board has a traditional big wave gun shape. Compare this to all the examples below, which are shorter and have fuller noses paired with long, drawn out pintails. Nor is the pintail gun above a noserider, a la the board featured in the first post. The logo is interesting, too. It is the only example I have seen that reads “Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail.” All the other versions in this post read either “Barry Kanaiaupuni Model” or “Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail.” The board has been fully restored by Randy Rarick. The restoration makes me think it’s possible the logo is not all-original. See below for a pic comparing the length of the board to a Hobie Dick Brewer Model. I couldn’t find dimensions for the gun, but it looks considerably longer than all the other BK Pintails featured in this post.

 

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model: 7’1″, 1967, Serial No. 442 (Non-Pintail Logo)

Pictured above is another Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail oddity. Pics are via the USVSA. As you can see, the board is clearly a Pintail version of the Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model. However, it does not have a Pintail logo. The Rick Surfboards laminate is in the original font, too. Note the board is numbered #442 on the stringer; more on this later.

 

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail (Various)

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Close-up of the logo on board #368. Note the updated font on Rick Surfboards, and the slight name change for the board: what was the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model has been changed to the Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail. Pic via The Vintage Surf Auction

This section focuses on “standard” versions of the Rick Surfboards BK Pintail. I define these boards as follows: they possess a Transition Era outline, with a full nose and dramatic, pulled-in pintail; and the logos bear the updated Rick Surfboards font and the “Pintail” text (versus boards that simply read “Barry Kanaiaupuni Model”).

A number of the standard Rick BK Pintails have been sold at auction recently. The picture above is from a board that sold at the Vintage Surf Auction in 2015. The Rick BK Pintail above is dated to 1967, and it has the serial #368. No dimensions are listed for #368. One thing that throws me for a loop is the ordering of the serial numbers. #442, the board with the blue fin that appeared earlier in the post, does not have the updated font on the Rick Surfboards logo, nor does it have the Pintail text. The numbering indicates #442 was made after #368, but the logo suggests otherwise.

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail via Surfboardline.jpg
BK Pintail AKA Buggs’ Board. This is an all-original example of a standard Rick BK Pintail. Pics via Surfboardline.com

Buggs, the proprietor of Surfboardline.com, has a number of awesome Rick BK Pintails, which he has featured on his website and Instagram. The board above appears on Surfboardline.com. No serial number is listed for what I’ll call “Buggs’ Board.” I think it’s very possible Buggs’ Board and #368 are one and the same, but I can’t be sure without seeing pictures of the fin on #368. Buggs’ Board is all-original and it measures in at 8′ x 22″ x 2-1/2″, compared to #442, which comes in at 7’1″.

Pictured above is a 1967 Rick BK Pintail with an era-appropriate acid splash paint job. The board was sold at a USVSA event close to ten years ago. Pics are via the auction listing, which you can find here. The Acid Splash board measures in at 7’10”. Other than the rad airbrush, it looks quite similar to the other Rick BK Pintails listed above, from the silhouette down to the W.A.V.E. Set fin box.

 

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail with Glass-On Fin

The board above comes courtesy of French surfboard site Surf-Longboard.com, and it is currently being offered for sale at €1,000. You can find a link to the board here. The French Board measures in at 7’4″. It has a very similar outline and length to the other Rick BK Pintails posted above.

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail Glass On Fin
Close up of the fin on the French Board. The fin looks different — it has more rake and is thinner towards the tip — than its counterparts on the Acid Splash Board and #442. You can also see a bit of color towards the base of the fin. Pic via Surf-Longboard.com

The thing that stands out about the French Board is its glass-on fin. This is the only example I have seen without a W.A.V.E. Set fin box. The French Board also has some nice pin lines, reminiscent to #442.

There are a few Instagram posts that show off the details of the tail on the French Board. I assume this is true of the other Rick BK Pintails as well, but it’s difficult to say without any close-up pics.

 

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail with Signature

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The only triple stringer version of the Rick BK Pintail I have seen to date. Also note the signature on the bottom right. I can’t say for sure that it’s legitimate, but it’s promising!

The yellow board shown above is the only Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model I have seen that looks like it was signed by BK himself. The board was previously posted for sale on SurfnHula.com. You can find the link here. I don’t know whether or not this is a genuine BK signature. I have seen a variety of boards signed by BK, and his signature seems to vary.

Like the gun at the top of the post, the Triple Stringer board has two additional stringers.  It’s interesting the note the Triple Stringer board has been labeled a “Pocket Rocket.” The Triple Stringer’s dimensions are 7’9″ x 20-1/2″, putting it line with the other standard Rick BK Pintails featured here.

 

Conclusion

There you have it — every single Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Pintail I have ever laid eyes on. I’m still bursting with questions: did BK shape all of these, or did Rick Surfboards use a ghost shaper? (I’m leaning towards the latter). What were the exact years during which the Rick BK Pintails were produced? How to explain the varying lengths of the boards — were they offered in different pre-set sizes? And, perhaps most importantly, are these boards every bit as cool as they look? As always, if you have any additional information or pics about the wonderful Rick Barry Kanaiaupuni Model, please give me a shout!

Check out the earlier post in the Rick Surfboards Deep Dive series here. Coming soon is Part III, in which we will delve into the beautiful single fins Rick Surfboards produced during the 1970s.

Photo Credit at the top of the page: Barry Kanaiaupuni surfing Sunset Beach, 1969. Photo by the peerless Art Brewer.

 

 

 

Original Hobie Phil Edwards Model Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! Here at Shred Sledz HQ we like to think of ourselves as equal opportunity surfboard enthusiasts. Stoke levels remain high for all kinds of vintage surfboards, ranging from underground Santa Cruz shapers to household names like Gerry Lopez. Even so, it can be difficult to resist the urge to play favorites. Such is the case with the Hobie Phil Edwards Model surfboard, which holds a special place in the hearts of Shred Sledz staff. If you missed our earlier post covering the Hobie Phil Edwards model, I urge you to check it out here. It’s a detailed look at the various Hobie Phil Edward Model surfboards that have been sold at auction. As always, if there are any missing boards you know of, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Pictured above is a Hobie Phil Edwards Model Surfboard that is currently for sale on eBay. Pics are all via the eBay listing, which you can find here. The board is exciting for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s an example from the original run of the Hobie Phil Edwards boards, as evidenced by the foil logo and the serial number. This is the first time I have seen board #586 appear (my previous post covered boards with serial nos #999, #865, #103, and #479). The seller dates the board to 1963. You can see it has the classic triple stringer setup, with a 3/4″ central stringer made from redwood, and then two 1/4″ redwood stringers flanking it on either side. The dimensions of the board are 9’3″ x 20-7/8″ x 3″, which should be provide ample paddling power on top of all the necessary style points. It’s interesting to compare the lengths of the various boards: #103 is 9’9″; #865 is 10′; and #479 is also 10′. I was unable to find data on #999.

It’s unclear to me the extent to which the board has been restored. The listing mentions that #586 has been re-glossed by surfboard whisperer Randy Rarick, but I’m not sure if that amounts to a total restoration.

Hobie Phil Edwards Model Surfboard 5
Close up of the fin. The seller claims this is the original one that came with the board. If so, it’s remarkable that it has retained its color over the years! Pic via eBay

The fin stands out as well. The seller claims that this is the original “two-tone powder blue fin.” Board #999 has an identical fin, although it looks like the color has faded over time. It’s interesting to note that boards #103 and #479 have wooden fins. The auction listing for #103 describes it as a reverse mahogany fin. Board #865, meanwhile, has what looks like a fiberglass fin similar to #586, but it is a burgundy color. I’m not sure if there’s any discernible pattern for why a given Hobie Phil Edwards Model surfboard would come with one type of fin or another.

Hobie Phil Edwards Model Surfboard 9
Goodness gracious, this board has some beautiful lines. Pic via eBay

The starting bid for #586 is $2,400. All the historical data I have for other Phil Edwards sales involve all-original, unrestored boards: #103 apparently closed at $4,925; #865 is still on sale for $4,000; and #999 was estimated to sell for anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000.

If you’re interested in the board — it would make an ideal gift for your favorite vintage surfboards blogger — please check it out here.

Rick Surfboards: A Shred Sledz Deep Dive (Part I)

Rick Surfboards is a surfboard label that should be more famous than it is. I admit, part of this stance is informed by my own extensive biases, starting with the fact I have a soft spot for Rick’s clean and classy logos. Setting aside these preconceptions, though, Rick Surfboards boasts a rich history intertwined with some of California surf culture’s most notable figures. Sadly, Stoner’s premature passing in 1977 brought an early end to a label whose influence can still be felt today. Today’s post is an exploration of the early history of Rick Surfboards, and the shapes it produced during the mid-1960s. This is the first part in a series. As always, if you have additional information on Rick Surfboards, please drop me a line!

Part I: History — Bing & Rick

Rick Surfboards is the eponymous label of Rick Stoner. Stoner was a native of the South Bay of Los Angeles, hailing from Hermosa Beach. In 1955 Stoner decamped to Hawaii alongside friend Bing Copeland. Even in the 1950s the North Shore of Oahu was a proving grounds for the emerging surf scene. Bing and Rick surfed until their funds ran out, then joined the Coast Guard reserves, where they were lucky enough to be stationed on a ship in Hawaii.

Rick & Bing Makaha
I believe Rick Stoner is pictured at the far left, and Bing Copeland is in the white boardshorts at the right. Makaha, 1950s. I’m not sure who the other two surfers are, although there’s a very similar version of this picture in the Easy Reader News.

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Bing Copeland (left) and Rick Stoner, paying a visit to the Piha Surf Club in New Zealand in 1958. I believe Piha was a lifesaving club, hence the outfits on Bing and Rick. During this visit, Bing and Rick introduced New Zealand to modern lightweight foam surfboards. Pic via Piha

The two would later become business partners: in late 1959, following a trip to New Zealand, they opened Bing and Rick Surfboards in Hermosa Beach.

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Bing & Rick’s cheeky original logo. Pic via Bing Surfboards

According to Copeland, shortly after opening up their shop, Rick decided to focus on being a full-time lifeguard, selling his shares of the business to Bing in the process. The newly renamed Bing Surfboards went on to become one of the most recognizable and influential surf brands in the world.

At some point, Stoner must have had second thoughts about the surfboard business. As best I can tell (mostly from the Stoked-n-Board entry for the brand), Stoner established Rick Surfboards in 1963.

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Rick Surfboards ad from 1964. Pic via Harbour Surfboards

Part II: Rick Surfboards from the Longboard Era (Mid 1960s)

Before the dawn of the Transition Era and shortboards, Rick Surfboards, like every other surfboard manufacturer at the time, initially focused on producing beautiful old-school longboards. Examples of 1960s Rick Surfboards longboards are highly coveted and demand high prices at auctions. Here is a rundown of some of the best-known early Rick Surfboards models.

 

Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Longboard

The Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model is one of its most famous designs. Produced in conjunction with the legendary Hawaiian surfer, The Barry Kanaiaupuni Model first hit shelves in 1966. For the first few years, the BK signature model was a traditional noserider. This changed when the Transition Era hit (more on that later). There’s a great example of a Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni model that was listed on eBay. The auction was pulled, so there is no final price associated with the board, but the initial asking bid of $2,500 is telling (as is the fact the seller, Brett7873, has sold a number of collectible boards before.) See below for pictures:

According to the seller, the Barry Kanaiaupuni model above was produced in 1966. The dimensions are 9’6″ x 21-1/2″ x 3″. The board has been restored by none other than Hawaiian surfboard whisperer Randy Rarick, which is the next-best thing to being completely original. One last important note about the board: even though Kanaiaupuni went on to famously shape boards at Lightning Bolt, it’s unclear whether or not he shaped these Rick boards, or merely leant his name to them.

 

Rick Surfboards Dru Harrison Improvisor Model

Rick Surfboards also released the Dru Harrison Improvisor model in 1966. Dru Harrison was a well-regarded pro in the 1960s. Like Stoner, Harrison hailed from Hermosa Beach.

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Dru Harrison in a Rick Surfboards promo shot. Photographer unknown. Pic via the Encyclopedia of Surfing

Here are some pictures of a recent Improvisor model that was listed for sale on Craigslist (board has since been purchased). The dimensions of the Dru Harrison Improvisor example are 9’0″ x 20-1/2″ x 2-7/8″. I believe this board is all original, other than some repairs that were made.

The seller claims the Dru Harrison Improvisor above was produced in 1967. Production of the Improvisor ended in 1970, according to Stoked-n-Board. During this time, Rick Surfboards released a number of different logos for the Improvisor. However, I have yet to see any examples of genuine vintage boards bearing the alternate Improvisor logos. Here’s an example of an alternate Dru Harrison Improvisor logo, but I believe this board was part of Matt Calvani’s recent run of Rick reproductions.

As for the collectibility of the Rick Surfboards Dru Harrison Improvisor Model, it is difficult to say. I haven’t seen any Improvisors sold at auction recently. The one data point I have is an eBay sale that took place almost six years ago. You can find the link here. The board sold for just under $3K, and apparently it had a very low serial number (#67). Sadly, there are no pics on the listing any longer.

 

Rick Surfboards UFO Model

Rick Surfboards also produced the UFO Model longboard between 1966 and 1968, according to S-n-B. The UFO Model had a bunch of advanced features at the time of its release, including an interesting scooped out tail, a step deck, and a teardrop concave design on the nose. These features were incorporated to improve the UFO Model’s noseriding capabilities. Adam Davenport of Davenport Surfboards has a nice writeup of the UFO Model’s functionality, which you can find on his personal website here.

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Close up of the Rick Surfboards UFO Model tail. Notice the pronounced concave in the deck at the tail, which creates a corresponding rounded bottom. Pic via Davenport Surfboards

Here’s another example of a Rick Surfboards UFO Model. Pics below are from an old Craigslist posting (board is no longer for sale). The multiple stringer configuration is a common characteristic of the Rick UFO. On an aesthetic note, I love the logos, particularly the ones framing the stringer.

The UFO Model can be seen on the far left in the gallery above; it is the board with the blue / green fin and the quadruple stringers (two center stringers, and then one on either edge). The seller listed the board at 10’0″ and claims it was made in 1967. The asking price was $1300, but seeing as the board sold on Craigslist (if at all), I have no insight into the final closing price.

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Rick Surfboards UFO Model 10′. Pic via Mollusk Surfboards.

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Alternate version of the Rick Surfboards UFO Model logo. I suspect this logo is from a later run (late-1960s versus mid-1960s). I say this because the font was later used on many Rick Surfboards models produced during the 1970s. Pic via TJ Carr on Pinterest

 

Rick Surfboards Assorted Noseriders

There are other longboard models that Rick Surfboards produced during the mid 1960s, but I have yet to see any examples for many of them. It’s difficult to comment on the rarity and collectibility of these boards. For example, I have only seen one D&B Pintail Model, and that was submitted to The Surfboard Project. Here’s a smattering of some random Rick pre-Transition Era noseriders::

Pictured above is a beautiful 9’9″ Rick Surfboards noserider with the classic old-school logo. I love the double laminates on the deck. It has serial number #1252, and the seller claims the board dates to 1965. This board has been listed on and off Craigslist for a while now. The seller has been holding firm at $1200, which I think is reasonable for an all-original 1960s Rick, but apparently I’m in the minority, judging from the fact the board has yet to sell. You can find a link here.

Rick Longboard 10'6 1Rick Longboard 10'6

Pictured above is another Rick Surfboards longboard. Check out the beefy stringer. It’s also interesting to note the tail block and the glassed-on fin. The Rick Surfboards logo appears to be a few shades of blue lighter than the double-logo version above. This board is listed at 10’6″; pics via an old Craigslist posting.

Here’s a Rick Surfboards model with a rare “Tripper” laminate. Check out the Rick logo on the fin, too! I have never seen this model before, and I haven’t been able to find any other information about it online. Stoked-n-Board has no mention of a Tripper model. Pics via an old Craigslist listing. According to the poster, this may be an experimental board that never saw the light of day. The wedge stringer is taken from the Improvisor Model, and you’ll notice the similarities between the Tripper fin and the one on the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model.

Finally, see above for an example of a Rick Surfboards Noserider with a corresponding logo. Pics via Island Trader Surf Shop, who date the board to 1966. This is a pretty unusual logo, that I have only seen on a few boards. The board measures 10’1″.

 

As always, my sincere thanks for making it this far through the post. As mentioned earlier, this is the first post in a series that will cover the history of Rick Surfboards. Subsequent posts will cover Rick Surfboards’ Transition Era models — including the famous Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail — as well as Rick’s transition to the 1970s and single fins produced under the stewardship of Phil Becker. Stay tuned and Happy Shredding!

Surf Line Hawaii: Shred Sledz Deep Dive

Greetings, Shredderz, and welcome to the latest Shred Sledz Deep Dive! Today’s Deep Dive features a venerable Hawaiian surf brand that has long deserved a closer look: Surf Line Hawaii. Before I get into the history, though, let’s skip right to the good stuff: pictures of awesome surfboards.

First up is a single fin shaped by none other than respected Hawaiian shaper Dennis Pang. Pang got his start at Surf Line Hawaii in 1976, before moving on to some of the most recognizable Hawaiian brands, like Lightning Bolt, Town & Country, and Local Motion. The board below was originally listed on eBay (pics originally found on the eBay post).

This thing is clean and mean. I love the black & white color scheme and the pinlines, with just a touch of color on the logos on both rails. I was a bit stunned when the board didn’t sell for $450, considering that another Surf Line board by Dennis Pang sold for $1800 ten years ago!

Surf Line Hawaii History

Surf Line Hawaii began as a surf shop on Oahu. It was founded by Dave Rochlen, and I believe Fred Swartz as well. By the time the shortboard revolution started in earnest, the shop began to put out boards under its own label.

I was blown away when I saw all the well-regarded shapers who passed through Surf Line over the years. According to Stoked-n-Board, Ben Aipa, Randy Rarick, Tom Parrish and Michel Junod, in addition to the aforementioned Dennis Pang, all shaped for Surf Line at some point!

Aipa Surf Line Hawaii
Aipa for Surf Line Hawaii. Board was made for Tony Moniz in 1981. Tony is a former pro and father to Josh and Seth, two up-and-coming Hawaiian pros in their own right. Pic taken from Boardcollector.com

However, I was even more shocked when I found out that Lightning Bolt’s famed core group — Gerry Lopez, Reno Abellira and Barry Kanaiaupuni — were all early Surf Line shapers. Lopez actually spent some time working in Surf Line’s offices on the business side.

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Gerry Lopez working at his “first real job” in the Surf Line Hawaii offices on Oahu, 1972. Picture via Gerry’s personal website.

Here is a great Surfer Magazine interview with Tom Parrish that expands on how a bunch of Surf Line employees broke away to found Lightning Bolt. Bolt was founded by Lopez and Jack Shipley, the latter being Surf Line’s top salesman at the time. Shortly thereafter, Reno, Barry and co followed Lopez and Shipley out the door. It’s really saying something when it’s hard to find space to mention Dick Brewer‘s involvement with Surf Line, as well!

Surf Line Hawaii Surfboards

The board pictured below was shaped by Barry Kanaiaupuni. It was sold at the Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction in 2007, where it went for a mere $1,000 (anyone have a time machine handy?) Pics were taken from the auction site (original link here). I love everything about this board: the listing calls the bottom a “root beer” color, the purple fin pops, and I love the logo, with its clean lines and two-tone color job.

After Lopez left to found Lightning Bolt, Buddy Dumphy took the lead on shaping boards at Surf Line. Lopez writes about Dumphy in his memoir “Surf Is Where You Find It”. Patagonia’s website has a great excerpt from Lopez’s memoir, “Surf is Where You Find It”, where Lopez describes his early friendship with Dumphy and their early experiences riding new surfboard designs.

I’m fascinated by Dumphy’s boards. While they seem to be coveted by a segment of collectors, Dumphy shapes don’t seem to generate the same excitement as those from shapers like Barry K, Reno, and of course Gerry himself. Still, Lopez’s respect for Dumphy speaks volumes about his abilities as a shaper. Sadly, Dumphy passed away as the result of a car accident sometime in the 1990s.

The single coolest Dumphy board I was able to find online was posted by HolySmoke.jp. I have no clue if the board is for sale but that airbrush is absolutely killer!

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The 70s were a great decade for surfboard airbrushes…

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Here’s another Dumphy single fin, which was also sold at the Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction in 2007. I love the plumeria logo on the deck. It looks like this thing was shaped in the 70s for some serious North Shore surf. Pics taken from the original auction listing.

 

I was able to find a few Dumphy boards currently for sale online. There’s one currently for sale at New Jersey’s Brighton Beach Surf Shop, and it’s only listed at $450. Link to the board can be found here. I think it’s underpriced, considering the history of both the brand and Dumphy, but then again, the Pang board at the top of the page failed to clear the same $450 mark.

Surfboardhoard.com has a different Dumphy Surf Line Hawaii single fin for sale, but they don’t list the price. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s north of $450. You can find that board here.

Surf Line Hawaii has such a rich history and a deep stable of shapers, it makes it hard to spotlight just a few boards! Standard Store / UsedSurf.jp are selling two other 70s single fins. Note that because the boards are in Japan, the prices are much higher. But they illustrate the wide variety of cool logos that Surf Line employed throughout the years. Boards can be found here and here (pictures below taken from Usedsurf.jp). The boards are credited to Steve Wilson / Welson (guessing the difference is a translation issue), but I couldn’t find any evidence of a shaper by that name. If anyone has some details, let me know!

 

Finally, no Surf Line Hawaii post would be complete without a mention of Randy Rarick. In addition to organizing the Triple Crown of Surfing, putting on auctions like the aforementioned Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction, Rarick restores old surfboards. There is currently a Surf Line Hawaii board for sale on eBay that Rarick restored. The board is not a Rarick shape, but rather, it was made in 1971 by Ryan Dotson. You can find a link to the board here, and I have included some pictures below as well. (Pictures are from the eBay listing.)

Surf Line Hawaii: Odds and Ends

Believe it or not, I haven’t even covered all of the Surf Line Hawaii shapers, like Rick Irons and Sparky Scheufele! If nothing else, that speaks to the incredibly deep collection of shapers that passed through the brand over the years. Sadly, Surf Line Hawaii no longer seems to be in business. It seems as if they stopped producing surfboards long ago (I would guess sometime in the 1980s or 1990s, but that is just a guess), and a Yelp listing indicates that Surf Line’s Honolulu retail location has closed, too.

Nonetheless, Surf Line Hawaii played a prominent role in the Hawaiian surf scene, and remains one of the most impressive collections of shaping talent ever.

I hope you enjoyed this Deep Dive! If you have any pictures of any Surf Line boards you would like to share, or any comments at all, please reach out via the Contact section. Thank you for reading, and may your stoke levels remain high and rising!

Featured Image at top from @aipasurf on Instagram. Original link to photo here.

Mr Pipeline: Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt

Happy Monday to all you faithful Shredderz out there! I hope this week brings you a non-stop procession of tasty waves and interesting surf craft. I figure there is no better way to start the week than with the holy matrimony of Lightning Bolt Surfboards and Hawaiian legend Gerry Lopez. The Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt is perhaps the most famous vintage surfboard of all time, and for good reason. If the name Gerry Lopez rings a bell, it’s because you may recognize him from his role as Schwarzenegger’s sidekick Subotai in “Conan the Barbarian.”

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Gerry Lopez has one of the all-time greatest appearances by a pro surfer on film, guest starring as Subotai in “Conan the Barbarian.” Lopez is the mayor emeritus of Pipeline; his co-star in the film would go on to a decent political career himself.

Actually, that’s nobody’s first impression of Mr. Lopez, but it is an irresistible piece of surfing trivia. All jokes aside, surfing legends don’t get any larger than Gerry. For goodness sake, the dude’s nickname is Gerry “Mr. Pipeline” Lopez! Given his impeccable style, it’s a miracle they haven’t re-named the spot after Gerry himself:

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Gerry Lopez, styling at Pipe. It doesn’t get any better than this! Check out the Lightning Bolt board beneath his feet. Photo by Jeff Divine.

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Lopez at Pipeline in 1975. Photographer unknown; pic via Lightning Bolt

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Lopez (left) at the Hang Ten American Pro at Sunset Beach in 1974. Photo by Jeff Divine; pic via Encyclopedia of Surfing 

First, some background on the man and the marque. Lopez, along with business partner Jack Shipley, founded Lightning Bolt in 1970. (For more extensive background, see the Encyclopedia of Surfing’s entry on Lightning Bolt.) Lighting Bolt started with an unorthodox business model that was more akin to a collective than a real brand. According to the EoS, Bolt initially did not have a centralized factory where all of the production took place, and instead a variety of shapers – including Lopez and other notables like Reno Abellira, Tom Parrish, Tom Eberly, and Barry Kanaiaupuni – shaped at home and then brought their wares into the Lightning Bolt store, where the boards were sold to the public.

Lightning Bolt was ubiquitous during the 1970s, and even today it remains at the forefront of surfing’s consciousness. Unfortunately, Lightning Bolt’s history can also be read as a cautionary tale about the perils of poor brand management. Other brands and shapers shamelessly borrowed the distinctive logo, slapping it on boards that had nothing to do with Lightning Bolt.

Even “official” Lightning Bolt surfboards have a mixed history. Take, for example, the green and yellow board pictured above. The board was originally posted for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles, where it was advertised as a Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt surfboard. And as you can see in the second picture, there’s a clear “Gerry Lopez” laminate bearing the man’s name himself. So far so good, right?

Unfortunately, the board at the top of this post was unlikely to have been shaped by Gerry himself.

According to Randy Rarick, boards that bear the “Gerry Lopez” laminate – not to be confused with a signature – are “California Bolts” that were licensed to a variety of different businessmen around the world, including a factory in the San Diego area. Two shapers involved in the production of the California Bolts were Terry Martin and Mickey Munoz. For more context on California Bolts and the licensing of the Bolt name there is some good info on Boardcollector.com. Martin and Munoz are extremely well-respected, and for good reason; but there is a big difference between a Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt and all the rest.

So, what does a genuine Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt look like, then?

Here’s an example of a 1970s Lopez board that was sold at the recent California Vintage Surf Auction. Note: this board has been restored. But it does contain a clear Lopez signature on the stringer, which at the very least is meant to refer to how these original Lopez boards would have looked:

Image via Surfer Magazine Forums

Surfboardline.com has an incredible selection of Lightning Bolt boards, where you can compare boards that have the Lopez laminate, like the green and yellow board above, versus boards where you can clearly see Lopez’s hand drawn signature beneath the glass. For an example of the latter, see the picture below:

Pic via Surfboardline.com

In summary, Lopez seemed to sign many of the boards he hand-shaped. And those that he did sign, he did under the glass, in all capital letters along the stringer. Lightning Bolt surfboards will always be collectible, and rightfully so, but there’s value in exploring the distinction between a board shaped by Gerry Lopez himself, and one that he assisted in designing.

The board at the top of this post has already been taken down (asking price was $650, for those who care about price points). Even though it’s not a “Lopez” board in the strictest sense, it’s still a wonderful piece of surfing history.

How to Tell if Ben Aipa Shaped Your Sting

First, the good news: there is an Aipa sting for sale on eBay, whose pictures I have included here. The board is in decent shape, and right now the current bid is a tidy $82.01.

Before I go get to the bad news, I’d like to give some background on Ben Aipa, who has made more than a few appearances on Shred Sledz. This is the first Shred Sledz post featuring a board that Aipa made under his own name.

The sting is Aipa’s claim to fame. The board pictured above is a classic example. You’ll see the wings extremely high up the board – well above the fin box – with a single fin setup in the back. Aipa’s stings frequently boast swallowtails, as well.

Aipa’s sting design (sometimes referred to as the stinger) is most associated with iconic Hawaiian surfers Buttons Kaluhiokalani and Larry Bertlemann. Here’s a picture of Aipa (on the left) with Buttons, in front of a spread of Aipa-shaped stings that would be worth a pretty penny today.

Photo by Steve Wilkings; courtesy of Surfline

And as a bonus, here’s another Aipa board, this time under the careful stewardship of legendary Aussie surfer / shaper Mark Richards, likely also taken sometime in the 1970s. Look at how far back MR has the fin!

Photo by Jeff Divine; courtesy of The Surfer’s Journal

So, back to what we were saying: there’s an Aipa for sale on eBay, it’s only $80 bucks or so, and it’s Aipa’s signature design. What’s not to like, right?

Well, fellow Shredderz, listen closely, because this is a lesson that I originally learned through a bit of bitter experience myself. If you look at the board for sale on eBay, you’ll notice that there is a small “Surfing’s New Image” script beneath the Aipa logo. I’ve included a close up here:

The sad fact is, the “Surfing’s New Image” boards were NOT shaped by Aipa. Rather, Aipa licensed his name to the “Surfing’s New Image” brand, and these boards were all shaped in California (not Hawaii, where Aipa is based) by a variety of different shapers, including Mike Slingerland, Rick Hamon, and apparently even Donald Takayama. This information was confirmed to me via an email with none other than Randy Rarick, the Don Dada of Hawaiian surfboard design.

I happened to make this rookie mistake, and I now am the proud owner of two VERY weathered SNI / Aipa stings that serve as a cautionary tale. (The caution is two-fold: make sure what you’re buying is legit, and NEVER tell your fiancee how much you spent on the boards.) See below for two examples: the first is unsigned (likely shaped by Slingerland, but who knows), and the second has a clear Hamon signature and serial number.

Photos courtesy of the Shred Sledz Signature Collection ™

You’ll see a lot of stings online with the SNI branding. I won’t tell you to steer clear of these boards completely, as they are still genuine, rad 70s shapes. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that these are on par with real handmade Aipa boards.

Aipa has signed many of his boards, and you can see below for an example of a clearly identifiable Aipa signature, taken from a late 90s thruster he shaped.

However, it’s also worth noting that Aipa seems to have shaped some boards, at least back in the 70s, that didn’t have his signatures. Here’s an example of Larry Bertlemann with an Aipa (note the “Wave Crest Hawaii” branding beneath Aipa’s name) that doesn’t appear to have a visible signature anywhere on the deck. (It also has a pintail instead of the standard swallowtail design, which is an interesting touch.)

Photo by Steve Wilkings; courtesy of Surfline

I won’t get too into the weeds of signatures. Just note that “Surfing’s New Image” boards, even if they bear Aipa’s name and his best-known silhouette, were not shaped by Aipa himself.

Here is a link to the board you can find on eBay, and if you happen to find a genuine 70s sting for cheap, feel free to send it my way!