It’s coming soon, kids! The California Gold Surf Auction is going to rear its head around these parts pretty soon, and you can always count on those folks bringing out the heat. Pictured above is an Owl Chapman gun alongside a Yater single fin bearing the super rare Yater Hawaii laminate.
I thought the most recent Star Wars flick was just decent, but Herbie Fletcher’s incredible sci fi airbrush above gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from the Shred Sledz editorial staff. Love the look of the board, too: I’ve seen a lot of Herbie’s squared off noseriders, but I haven’t seen nearly as many of his shorter single fins with the same design.
You know how incredible this snap is? Imagine, for a moment, a surfing maneuver so radical and boundary-defining that it even grants the surfer a free pass for wearing the footwear TC’s rocking in that picture. I kid, I kid, because Carroll has heaps of style where it actually counts: in the water and on the most critical parts of the wave. I love that he’s posing with the board in question, which, despite the Byrne laminates, was actually shaped by Pat Rawson. You can see Rawson’s signature on the tail.
Vintage Yater Surfboards ad from a 1960s issue of Surfer Magazine
Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time for another “Sagas of Shred” entry. Today’s post features a name that has appeared many times on this blog: Reynolds “Renny” Yater. Yater has been shaping fine surf craft for upwards of fifty years (!) from his home base in Santa Barbara. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a vintage Yater ad or two as a way of examining Renny’s long and distinguished career as one of California’s pre-eminent board builders.
As a relative newcomer to the cult of Yater Surfboards, I have embraced the heritage of the brand with the zeal of a recent convert. To me, Yater Surfboards and its namesake always had a classy quality that could not have been further from the Orange County surf industrial complex (which, by the way, I enjoy as well). Yater Surfboards embodies the best of old school cool, whether it’s the clean lines of its boards, the spare logos, or the wonderfully minimalist website.
I came across the vintage Yater ad pictured above and I was immediately struck by the earnestness — dare I say seriousness? — of the copy. I have never met Renny, but the ad fits in neatly with the mental image I have of the man: a consummate craftsman who is committed to shaping high quality surfboards.
I think the ad would be just as effective today (though it might need an area code for the phone number!), especially considering Yater’s reputation has only grown in the five plus decades since the ad ran in Surfer Magazine. The tone is understated and humble, but confident in its convictions. The Yater ad, much like Yater’s boards, speaks to the undeniable fact that quality is timeless.
The second Yater ad, pictured above, is a nice glimpse into surfboard advertisements of the 1960s. I love seeing the older terms — note how the ad refers to the stringers as “center strips!” I love how the Santa Barbara Surf Shop “almond” logo is repurposed to show a close-up of the board’s construction. A lot of ads from this era were either black and white or printed with a single color, and the yellow makes it stand out from the pack.
Thank you for taking the time to read this entry in Sagas of Shred, and I hope you tune in next week!
Photo at top of the page: Renny Yater at the Hollister Ranch, taken by John Severson. Photo via Surfer Magazine
Greetings, Shredderz! This late night special is brought to you by some insomnia-fueled Craigslist trawling. The focus of today’s post is a vintage Yater longboard that is currently for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find a link to the board here. I have included pictures of the board below:
This vintage Yater is interesting for a few reasons. In the first picture you can see the logo says “Reynolds Yater Signature Surfboards.” According to Stoked-n-Board, this logo was produced starting in 1989. However, I believe that is incorrect, due to the fin box. I believe the fin box is an example of a W.A.V.E. Set fin box, which would mean the board was produced in either the late 1960s or early 1970s. The board also comes with what looks like its original fin, which is a nice touch. Stoked-n-Board claims that Yater produced boards with W.A.V.E. Set fin boxes in the early 1970s. As you can see in the last picture, it appears some additional work was done on the fin box. I’m wondering if it wasn’t replaced altogether (see this thread for an excellent step-by-step overview of replacing a leaky W.A.V.E. Set box). Finally, the triple stringer on the Yater board above is an unusual touch. The stringer of choice for a vintage Yater longboard is a wedge stringer.
Finally, I was able to find pictures of another vintage Yater longboard with the same Signature logo. I believe this is another piece of data that indicates the Signature logo was produced sometime during the late 1960s or early 1970s, versus S-n-B’s date of 1989. (Let me be clear: S-n-B is one of the best online resources for info on vintage surfboards, but like anything else, it’s not perfect.)
I was also able to pick up on one small detail regarding the Yater Signature surfboard logo. More recent boards bearing this variant of the logo have a tilde following the Signature. See below for an example from a more recent board. I’m not exactly sure on the date, but it’s a thruster, meaning that it must be post 1981 at a minimum:
You can check out the triple stringer longboard on Craigslist here.
Kon-nichiwa, Shredderz! There isn’t much in the way of waves here in Japan, but luckily I can still trawl Craigslist from the safety of my hotel room. Today’s post features a single fin shaped by none other than Reynolds Yater. The board pictured above, shaped by Rennie for Yater Surfboards, is currently for sale on Craigslist in Los Osos, just a little bit north of Santa Barbara. Pictures are via the Craigslist post.
The board measures in at 6’4″, and it looks to be in pretty good shape. I have left out a picture showing an obvious repair on one of the rails, which looks like it could be re-done without too much fuss.
The seller for the board above claims it was shaped in 1982. There are other examples of similar Yater boards that raise interesting questions about when this board might have been made.
First is another Yater Surfboards single fin that was up for sale on Craigslist a few months back, which I featured in an earlier post. You can find my original post here. I’ve included some of the pics below:
I originally theorized the green board was shaped in the 1970s. This was based on a few factors: the outline is pretty typical for a 70s board; the Rainbow fin; and finally, the logo, which Stoked-n-Board dates to the 1970s.
The green board and the blue logo board at the top of the page both have very similar outlines. The green board is just a tad longer, measuring in at 6’9″, but both boards have similar winged pintail outlines.
There’s another Yater board that got featured on Shred Sledz recently. This board is a board Renny shaped for himself, and it was recently sold at the California Gold Surf Auction. You can find a link to the auction listing here. According to the auction description, the Yater Surfboards personal rider was shaped in 1976. I think this date is the most reliable of any of the three boards, given the credibility of the folks behind the California Gold auction. Pics below were originally posted with the auction link.
First, you’ll notice the logo for the auction board is also missing the almond eye outline. More importantly, though, the board doesn’t seem to have the distinctive winged pintail found on both the green board and the blue logo board.
I wish I had a clear conclusion regarding the dates of the green board and the blue logo board, but unfortunately, I do not. I tend to think they must be from similar timeframes, given the similarity in their outlines. But I’m not sure if they pre-date the Yater personal rider sold at auction or not. There are other possibilities, too: perhaps Yater Surfboards produced wing pin single fins over a long period of time, meaning that both dates (early 1970s for the green board, and early 1980s for the blue logo board) could be correct.
If you have any info, I’d love to hear it! Until then, Happy Shredding!
The 2017 California Gold Surf Auction is underway. Lots begin closing later this week, on May 7, and as the auction enters the home stretch, I figure now is a good time to take a closer look at some of the boards being offered.
First, a little context: the California Gold Surf Auction is put on by Scott Bass, who runs the excellent Boardroom Show surfboard expo, and can be heard on both his Down the Line podcast, as well as the Surf Splendor podcast (both of which I recommend).
More importantly, the auction benefits the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center. If you’re at all interested in surf history — and if you’re not, I’d love to know how you ended up here, of all places — the SHCC is worthy of your support. Personally, I love the SHCC’s Stoked-n-Board resource, which is an online directory of just about every surfboard brand ever. Bottom line: not only are you buying some rad sticks, you’re also supporting an organization that does some great work in preserving history and spreading stoke.
Alright, I’m going to step off my soapbox and play the hits. Here are some of the rad boards on offer.
Renny Yater Personal Rider: 7’4″ Single Fin (Link Here)
I’ll let the auction organizers say it: “in our eyes the coolest board in the auction.” Who am I to disagree? Yater shaped, glassed, and finished this board…and then probably ripped perfect Rincon with it, too. One cool detail for fellow board nerds: you’ll see a number on the stringer with a small Y above it. Apparently this is how Yater signed some of his personal boards (versus the more common “R. Yater” signature and numbering you see on his later designs). The board was shaped in 1976. I’m not sure if this is considered a proper Pocket Rocket or not. There is no reserve and right now the highest bid is $800. That is an unbelievably low price, though I suspect bidding will probably heat up towards the end of the auction. You can see more pics on the auction site, which you can find here.
Hit “Continue Reading” below to see more selections from the auction…
I’ve been writing about Morey Pope a bit lately, and here’s an incredible find from Buggs, who has one of the dopest surfboard collections known to mankind, and runs SurfboardLine in his free time. This is a balsa Morey Pope board from what looks to be 1966 — see the comments for some more knowledgeable people chiming in with info on this beaut.
Joel Tudor has been posting a lot of quality vintage content on his Instagram lately. This is a picture of Renny Yater. I’d guess late 1950s or early 1960s, but don’t quote me on that. Either way, it is one classic picture of one classic dude (and posted by another!)
Greetings, Shredderz! I hope your weekend was chock full of uncrowded lineups and good times. As always, here is a smattering of a few boards that caught my attention over the past week.
Various Morey Pope Boards on Craigslist
First up is an orange Morey Pope mini-gun. It’s in the 7′ range and it’s on sale for $650 on Craigslist in Carlsbad, right near San Diego. Check out the logo on that thing, too — I couldn’t find a similar one on either Stoked-n-Board or Stanley’s. The outline is very reminiscent of a Yater Pocket Rocket. I found a Swaylocks thread detailing a 1969 (estimated) Morey Pope “Power Dude” model, which also looks extremely similar to the orange board. At the risk of sounding financially irresponsible, I don’t think $650 is that crazy. Then again, Mrs. Shred Sledz likely has a very different conclusion, so take that with a grain of salt…
The other Morey Pope board for sale is the white board pictured in the gallery above. It can be found on Craigslist in Santa Barbara, where the seller is asking a cool $1K. The poster claims it is likely an early predecessor to the Camel model. Check out the very clear numbering, too.
If you’re still not satisfied with the amount of Transition Era weirdness served up by these two boards, here are yet two more Morey Pope sticks for sale: first is a hollow W.A.V.E board, going for $500; and then a Morey Pope McTavish tracker, also $500, which I wrote about previously. They’re being sold by the same collector so this could be an attractive package deal.
Right now there’s a Yater twin fin for sale on Craigslist in LA for a reasonable $375 (pending, of course, a closer examination of the board for any soft spots, delam, etc.)
The board looks like it’s in pretty good condition. It has also had some work done. You can see the repairs on the bottom (see the second picture above).
What’s curious to me, though, is that I’ve never seen an example of a twin fin design from Yater. With the swallow tail it almost looks to be a standard fish design. If I had to guess, I would say this may have been made sometime in the 1980s, but I can’t be certain. There’s no mention of a twin fin on the history section of Yater’s website, either. I’d love to learn more if anyone has any info!
Good morning, Shredderz! Today’s post will cover the one and only Reynolds “Renny” Yater, a Santa Barbara fixture and one of the better known shapers in California history.
If you’re a film buff with a great eye for detail, first of all I’d like to say I have no idea how you ended up here, but I’m glad you haven’t left yet. Secondly, I’d add that you might recognize Yater from his cameo in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore, the surf-obsessed madman played by Robert Duvall, wields a Yater board in the movie’s iconic surfing scene. The board sports a pretty bitchin’ custom paint job, too:
When Kilgore isn’t shouting “Charlie don’t surf” and clearing lineups in the Mekong Delta, he can be seen sporting a Yater t-shirt:
Reynolds Yater, for the uninitiated, is a legendary California surfboard shaper who got his start in the 1950s. Yater might be in his eighties now, but he continues to shape boards under the Yater Surfboards brand today. If you haven’t already, you ought to read his Encyclopedia of Surfing entry, which contains this awesome pic of Yater at the Hollister Ranch:
Yater is best known for his longboard shapes. He invented the Yater Spoon in 1965, which was an incredibly modern noseriding shape for its time. Yater is probably best known for his longboards, but as you can see at the top of the post, you can currently find one of his shortboards for sale on Craigslist, in Petaluma. The board pictured at the top of this post was shaped sometime during the seventies. There are two pieces of evidence that point to this fact. First is the logo, which is a more stripped down design than the classic “Santa Barbara Surf Shop” Yater logo, which I’ve reproduced below. Stoked-n-Board’s comprehensive entry for Yater Surfboards matches the logo in the first pic to boards shaped in the 1970s.
The second giveaway is the rainbow fin, which looks to be in excellent condition. The same can be said for the entire board, which looks pretty great considering it was originally shaped almost 50 years ago. I can’t spot any obvious telltale signs of the board having been restored, but take that with a grain of salt.
Yater’s best known shortboard shape is the Pocket Rocket model, which was designed during the transitional era of the late sixties and early seventies. According to the Yater Surfboards website, “From 1969-72, [Yater] produced the Pocket Rocket, a surfboard designed with Hawaiian surfing in mind, riding the crest of the short board era.” I’m not sure whether or not the board at the top of this post would be considered a proper Pocket Rocket, but my early guess is no. Here are some pics of a recent Pocket Rocket reproduction (shaped by Yater), and you can see the outline is far more pulled in and narrow. In addition, it’s missing the wings you can find in the tail of the board at the top of this post.
In addition, here’s an example of a 1969 Pocket Rocket that recently went up for auction. You’ll see in the second pic that the auction board has a glassed-on fin, versus the fin box in the board at the top of this post.
Finally, here’s a third example of a vintage Pocket Rocket, which was sold in 2001 at Randy Rarick’s Hawaiian Island Vintage Surf Auction. I can’t find any information on the closing price, but as you can see in the pictures below, the board has the same narrow outline as the other examples.
Regarding the board at the top of this post, even if it’s not a traditional Pocket Rocket design, it’s still a fantastic example of an early Yater shortboard. It looks like it’s in fantastic condition, too. There is no price listed on Craigslist, but the seller says he is accepting offers. You can find the board for sale here.
As a bonus, the good folks at Pilgrim Surf + Supply published a great interview with Yater where he reminisces on his career and his influences. Check it out here if you’re interested.