Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to the latest installment of Sagas of Shred, where we take a peek back at surf history. Today’s entry is short and sweet: nothing more to see here than an old Harbour Surfboards ad from an old issue of Surfer Magazine (Dec. – Jan. 1963 / 1964, Vol. 4 No. 6). There are only a few more days to catch the Harbour Surfboards exhibit at the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center, so hurry up and head over before October 7th, when it all ends.
Greetings, Shredderz! I hope this post finds you all well. Today’s post features a surfboard I have long been fascinated with: the Harbour Spherical Revolver. The Spherical Revolver was invented in 1969, according to Harbour’s website. Harbour continues to produce the board today, at lengths ranging from 6’10” to 8″. While the Spherical Revolver has been updated since its genesis in the Transition Era, the board’s MO remains the same: it is intended as a shorter board for longboarders who still want paddling power, but are looking for something a little more maneuverable.
Rich Harbour is California surf royalty, and his vintage boards are very collectible. As is far too frequent when it comes to surfboards, though, it can be hard to find concrete information on prices and history. Even Harbour’s website doesn’t have any details on the history of the Spherical Revolver, other than its creation date. Stoked-n-Board, shockingly, doesn’t even mention the model by name.
As you can see in the advertisement above, the Spherical Revolver was based off an experimental design that was made in collaboration with Mark Martinson. (Side note: Harbour Surfboards has a webpage dedicated to their old ads and it is a must-visit.) Martinson was an early pro who won a bunch of surf contests in the 1960s, and was part of the Harbour Surfboards stable. Martinson continues to shape for Firewire Surfboards today, after stints working as both a commercial fisherman and then shaping for Robert August’s label.
Unfortunately, that is where the trail goes cold. I have no clear information on when the Spherical Revolver was produced, and what specific changes were made to the board between its introduction and its current iteration. It’s a shame, as while many Transition Era boards are derided as being impractical and tough to actually surf, the Spherical Revolver endures today. If you have more info, please drop me a line!
It’s not all bad news, though, as you can still find Spherical Revolvers that pop up for sale on Craigslist and eBay these days. There’s currently one up for grabs in San Diego, California on Cragislist. You can find a link to the board here. Pics below via the Craigslist posting.
The board is 8’1″ and the asking price is $650. I’m reluctant to weigh in on the price, as I have been unable to find any comparisons from boards sold at auction, etc. However, the board above was definitely produced in the late 1960s or so. The first thing you’ll recognize is the awesome, slightly psychedelic logo:
Here’s a Hang Ten ad from Surfer Magazine in 1969 featuring Mark Martinson. You’ll notice he has a Spherical Revolver under his arm in the photo, and the logo is identical to the Craigslist board currently for sale.
One quick note about the board and its logo: in the close-up shot of the board’s logo, you’ll notice there is a small serial number written horizontally (#6670). Nowadays, Rich Harbour signs his hand-shaped boards very clearly. However, I believe this was not the case early on in Harbour’s history. There are other examples of Harbour hand-shaped boards with similar serial number formatting. Kagavi.com interviewed Harbour a few years ago and took a picture of a very collectible 1968 Trestle Special that was hanging from the rafters of the Harbour shop. The Trestle Special was shaped in 1968 and it has serial number #4032. In the case of the Spherical Revolver that is listed for sale, I do not know whether this board was shaped by Rich himself. The Trestle Special documented by Kagavi indicates that there are Harbour handshapes that do not have a signature, but have numbers written horizontally across the stringer.
Finally, the Spherical Revolver for sale on Craigslist comes with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin and the corresponding fin box. This is as clear a sign as any that the board was made in the 1960s, back when these Tom Morey-designed fin boxes were popular.
It’s too bad there isn’t a definitive history of the Spherical Revolver that is available to fans of Rich Harbour and his surfboards. In the meantime, check out the board that’s for sale listed here.
Greetings, Shredderz! Hope your respective weekends are all going exactly as planned. See below for your irregularly scheduled dose of social media from the wonderful world of vintage surfboards, including a cool seventies Schroff single fin.
So stoked to pick up a very clean, 1975 "Sting Jet" Wave Tools shaped by Lance Collins. This board is the definition of innovation and creative risk. Check the sliding pics for up close details of the tubes running through the board. Grande Mahalos to the original owner, Maverick, who sold me the board and keeping it stored properly for the past forty-two years. Dims: 6'7", 20 1/4", 3". #thevintagesurfboard #vintagesurfboard #vintagesurfboards #wavetoolssurfboards #newportbeach #echobeach #StingJet #creator #innovator #singlefin #surfhistory
Now THIS is cool! This is a trippy Wave Tools Sting shape combined with some truly out there Jet elements meant to route the water flow. To top it all off, the gradient paint job on the board is beautiful, too. Make sure you scroll through all the pictures in the gallery above — this is a must-see. Congrats to @thevintagesurfboard for scoring such a rare and interesting gem.
Hope you’re not sick of me mentioning Bird and his eponymous Surf Shed yet, because I’m not stopping any time soon! Anyway, Bird has a few more recent Dick Brewer boards for sale. They’re not cheap, but quality never is. These boards aren’t technically vintage, considering they were built in 2001-2002, but they are beautiful nonetheless. I love the Surfboards Hawaii logos towards the tail, too. The Brewer boards are also a nice modern complement to this week’s earlier post about Terry Fitzgerald and Dick Brewer. Note that all three boards above were all glassed by Jack Reeves, too.
I’m not sure who Hemisphere Cargo is, but if he doesn’t work for Schroff, at the very least he has a fine appreciation for Pimp’s shapes! Everyone goes crazy over the Echo Beach Schroff thrusters with the checkerboard logos, and rightfully so, but I’m really digging this Schroff single fin. Relatively speaking, it looks a little restrained when compared to Schroff’s more out there looks, and I’m into it!
If you’re not familiar with Rich Harbour and his legacy, I have one small request for you: close this window immediately, read up on the man, and then beg the surf gods for forgiveness over the fact you were reading Shred Sledz instead of learning some history.
Actually, you can do one better, as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, located in San Clemente, CA, is currently exhibiting a retrospective on Harbour’s career. The exhibit opened yesterday and it will be going on for three months. Harbour is a legendary California shaper, and it’s rad to see him get some shine courtesy of the awesome SHACC.
Luis Real has a truly staggering collection of vintage surfboards, and he frequently posts about them on Instagram. Pictured here is a rare bit of Dick Brewer trivia — one of the few boards Brewer shaped under the Greek label.
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
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
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.
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.
Yeah, yeah…it’s not the weekend. But we live in the age of alternative facts, so I’m not going to let something as trivial as accuracy get in the way of giving you a little taste of the coolest vintage surfboards that are currently for sale online. Without further ado, here goes…
Skip Frye G&S Vee Bottom on Craigslist
No link because the board already came and went. This board was sold on Craigslist in Santa Cruz and it vanished after a short time. The seller was asking $850, which is below market price if you ask me. Looks like it’s in decent condition, though there are some obvious repairs that have been done. Check out a similar Skip Frye vee bottom that went for auction recently, with the price estimate between $700 and $2K. Skip modeled his v bottom designs on the models pioneered by the Aussies — you can read a bit of history on his website. This is such a sick board and I hope whoever owns it now is putting it to good use.
Happy Saturday, fellow Disciples of Shred! As always, here are a few boards that have caught my eye as of late.
Harbour Spherical Revolver on Craigslist (Monterey)
We sure do love our Harbour Surfboards here at Shred Sledz. This here is an original Spherical Revolver model, measuring in at 7’3″. It has a nice original red Waveset fin, as you can see in the third picture. The board is listed at $600. Not sure whether or not this is all original, but click through to the listing if you’re curious.
Bill Shrosbree Twin Fin on Craigslist (San Diego)
Bill Shrosbree is a well-known San Diego shaper. He is the head shaper for Joel Tudor Surfboards. Shrosbree also shapes boards under the Fresh Pineapples label, which is definitely on the shortlist for coolest surfboard brand name. Pictured here is an early board, shaped under the “Shros” brand, complete with a cool little old school Moonlight Glassing logo. The board pictured here is a 6’6″ fish with glassed on fins. It has been misidentified in the ad as a Moonlight board. There are some dings and this isn’t the greatest photography I’ve ever seen on Craigslist, and the board is listed at $250. See link above.
Vintage Liddle on Craigslist (San Dieg0)
Apologies for the not so great picture, but it looks like a vintage Liddle, and it’s being listed at $90! Like the Shrosbree board above, the Craigslist poster has not correctly identified the board in the ad. It looks pretty weathered, and I suspect there are some bad repairs lurking under those mysterious bad patches on the right rail and the nose, but like I said, it’s a Liddle and it’s $90. 7′ single fin, too.
There are days when the search for rad surfboards can seem like an endless slog. There are others, though, when gems seem to fall out of the sky right into my lap. Consider the board pictured here as an example of the latter. Up for sale on Craigslist in Honolulu is a Harbour Banana model that looks like it was likely shaped sometime in the 1970s.
What’s immediately interesting to me is the alternate Banana Model logo, which I have never seen before. Stoked-n-Board’s entry for Harbour lists no such logo, and it’s always exciting to find something that the eagle eyed editors at S-n-B haven’t encountered. I found a similar one on Stanley’s Surf Logos, which I have reproduced below. It is meant to be a play on the famous Chiquita Banana logo, which features the same blue and yellow color scheme.
Contrast this to the “classic” Harbour Banana Model logo, taken from a pic on Harbour’s website:
The second interesting thing about the board pictured at the top of this post is the fact it is more of a transitional shape, whereas the Banana Model is a traditional noserider. Currently, you can only order the Banana Model from Harbour as a longboard, and the only vintage examples I have seen are all 9′ plus. The Craigslist board at the top of this post, by contrast, is 7′10″. It looks to have way more in common with the Harbour Spherical Revolver, which was a transitional board offered up by the brand starting in 1969. The picture below was taken from DIS•PLACE•MEN•TIA, an excellent displacement hull-centric surfboard blog.
Finally, it’s worth noting that there is a serial number on the Craigslist Harbour Banana Model. The board is numbered #64, which you can see directly beneath the “Chiquita” Logo. See below for the picture.
I’ve reached out to the fine folks at Harbour Surfboards to try and get some more information. If I find out more I will update the post.
In the meantime, check out the board for sale here. It’s $400, and given the condition and the relative rarity of the board, I would be VERY tempted if I were in the Honolulu area.