Vintage Skip Frye Fish

Greetings, Shredderz! Right as the weekend comes to a close we’re sneaking in with a quick entry in the Price Checks series. Most of the time Price Checks features a few different boards with a common theme, but today we’ve only got one sled for you. Pictured below is a vintage Skip Frye fish, and the price tag is not for the faint of heart.

The board you see above is 5’5″ vintage Skip Frye fish that is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Skip’s hometown of San Diego. You can find a link to the listing here. According to the original listing (it has since been edited — hold that thought), the board was shaped in the Seventies. [CORRECTION: Thanks to the knowledgeable folks who have helped date the board. Pacific Surf Glas was opened in 1988 or so, and it’s like this fish was shaped around 1990.]

For starters, the vintage Skip Frye fish is a beautiful board. Frye has spoken before about how his fish designs were influenced by Steve Lis, who is widely credited with creating the shape in the first place. The board is by no means in perfect condition, but I don’t mind. Would I prefer a completely flawless board? I suppose. But I think the slight discoloration and the few blemishes actually lend it a bit of character. The leash plug looks like it was added after the fact, but that’s my only real quibble.

I’m also intrigued by the Pacific Surf Glas laminate, which you can barely see peeking out from between what I assume are Larry Gephart fins. If I had to guess this is probably an old San Diego glass shop that is no more. I love these little details on boards, though, and the more obscure the better.

The rub here is the price. The board was initially listed for a $3,995, which almost made me fall out of my chair. Before the grumbling starts, let me be clear: my goal is to analyze the price, not the character of the person setting it. As boring or soulless as it might sound, I tend to believe in free markets (though my grades in the one econ class I took in college would indicate otherwise.) Like it or not, Skip’s boards are expensive, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Still, I thought I was immune to Skip Frye sticker shock, but seeing this board proved otherwise.

It looks as if others agree, as the price has been cut to $3,500. I still think that’s too much. It’s also worth noting the board has been listed for almost two weeks now. As a general rule of thumb, if there’s a Skip Frye on Craigslist and the price is anywhere close to being justifiable, it won’t last very long. Consider the board below, which didn’t even last a week on Craigslist. The board below is a 10’7″ Skip Frye Eagle glider and it was listed for $3800 — which, by the way, is still an absolute shitload of money for a surfboard! I don’t think you can look at these two boards and determine that the Skip Frye Eagle is worth only $300 more (or $200 less, if you go by the original price on the vintage Skip Frye fish.)

I’m all for vintage boards and for paying extra for something with historical significance. And yes, you can likely say that any vintage Skip board is historically significant. You won’t get any arguments from me there. But as much as I dig this rad Skip Frye fish, I suspect the price will have to take another haircut before the board moves. Who knows, though, and now is as good a time as any to remind you that I’m just someone who has nothing better to do than write about vintage surfboards in his free time.

Anyway, hopefully you weren’t offended by the talk about prices, and enjoyed the pics of a rad board from one of California’s all-time great shapers. Thanks for reading!

Social Media Roundup: March Madness

Aloha, Shredderz! This entry is being written from beautiful Hawaii. More on that later! In the meantime, enjoy a selection of some recent social media posts from the wonderful world of vintage surfboards.

I’ve posted many of Jimmy Metyko’s photos, and as long as he keeps publishing great ones, I don’t see any reason to stop! Metyko’s photographs documented the Santa Barbara surf scene during Tom Curren’s rise, and the results are amazing. Here’s a shot of Al Merrick posing alongside two of his creations. This must have been sometime during the early to mid Eighties, given the thruster and the twin fin, and I like how the photo gives a clear idea of the rocker on both shapes.

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The name Fletcher means “arrow maker.” As with everything in life, there are times when you’ll make a u-turn and be led into the wrong way. But I think, overall, I’ve been pointed towards the right direction ——————————————————————————— (📷: Flame) #astrodeck #theoriginator #since1976 #wavewarriors #adrenalinesurfseries #thethrillisback #sideslipboogie #surfhistory #surffilm #fletcherdna #genepoolofcool #herbiefletcher #dibifletcher #artist #inventor #performanceart #wrecktangles #wallofdisaster #archipelagos #bloodwaterseries #thebiglick #caseofarrows #rvca #rvcasurf #flame #tbt @dibifletcher @astrodeck @wavewarriors @fletcherdna @rvca @rvcasurf @surfer_magazine

A post shared by Herbie Fletcher (@herbiefletcher) on

Here’s a great photo of Herbie Fletcher taken by the late, great Larry “Flame” Moore. I love that Fletcher is putting one of his surfboards on a rail. There’s also some great trivia, which I had never realized before: Fletcher means arrow maker, hence the arrow logo on Herbie’s shapes!

Here’s a killer shot of Carl Ekstrom taken by Jon Foster. I was actually shocked when I read the caption — I just assumed this photo was far more recent than forty three years ago! Ekstrom is widely credited with inventing the asymmetrical surfboard back in the Sixties. Most recently Ekstrom has been collaborating with Ryan Burch. I’d love to know the back story behind the board featured in Foster’s photo! The photo at the top of the page features Carl Ekstrom posing next to one of his asymmetrical designs in the Sixties, and was originally found on the San Diego Reader website.

Last but not least, here’s Skip Frye posing alongside one of his signature fishes. How about that killer airbrush!

Weekend Grab Bag: Donald Takayama Scorpion & More

Greetings, Shredderz! By now you should know the drill: it’s the latest edition of the Weekend Grab Bag, where I spotlight some great boards I have seen listed for sale. As always, all of the postings are live as of the time the blog post was published. Onto the fresh batch of vintage sticks, beginning with a Donald Takayama Scorpion in clean condition.

Donald Takayama Scorpion (Craigslist San Diego)

Donald Takayama Scorpion.jpg

The Donald Takayama Scorpion just might be one of the most famous models from Takayama’s long and distinguished shaping career. The vast majority of Takayama Scorpions I have seen are the epoxy versions, which were obviously not hand shaped by DT. (For what it’s worth, I borrowed a friend’s epoxy Donald Takayama egg once and absolutely loved it.) The Scorpion featured above is 7’4″ x 22″ x 2 7/8″ and the seller is asking $800. Takayama himself signed the board in pencil on the stringer. I have also heard that some of these later-era DT boards were shaped with the assistance of a shaping machine. I would guess this board is late 90s to early 2000s, given the FCS fin boxes for the side bites. Either way I think this is a nice price for a very cool board.

Vintage Skip Frye Fish (Craigslist San Diego)

Vintage Skip Frye Fish 6'6" .jpg

The seller claims this vintage Skip Frye fish hasn’t been surfed in at least twenty years. As for an exact date, I’m hard pressed to tell you anything. I want to say most Skip Frye fish I see have wooden Gephart keels, but this example has fiberglass ones. Here’s what the seller has to say about the fins: “This board has great fins a modified Keel fin template by JB that is less deep then (sic) a normal keel and rides more loose in the water.” I don’t know who JB is, but I dig the vintage-ish date of the board. It’s 6’6″ long and looks super fun, and the posting has some great pics of the owner surfing it, too. Seller is asking $2,500, which is not cheap, but I have yet to see a bargain on a Skip Frye shape.

90s Hobie Phil Edwards Longboard (Craigslist Orange County)

You can click on any of the photos above to enlarge. I have written up the Hobie Phil Edwards Model a few times, and it remains one of the most classic nose riders ever made. The board you see above was shaped by Phil Edwards, but it’s not a Hobie Phil Edwards Model. For starters, the seller claims the board was shaped in 1995. It also has some interesting details that make it very different from the classic 60s Hobie Phil Edwards Model, such as a triple stringer setup, a wider center stringer, and a different logo. At some point during the 80s or 90s, Hobie also reissued the Phil Edwards Model (with the help of Stewart Surfboards, I believe), that had an imitation foil logo on it, as well as a different outline from the board you see above. So then what exactly is the board above? I’m not sure — it may have even been a custom. The seller refers to it as a Classic Model, but I have never seen that mentioned anywhere. As always, if you have any clues, let me know!

Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker (Craigslist Los Angeles)

Last but not least we have another creation from the mind of Tom Morey, who remains one of surfing’s foremost mad scientists. One of the coolest features found in the Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker model is the psychedelic graphic design of the Slipcheck patterns. The McTavish Tracker was designed by Australian shaper Bob McTavish, and it remains one of the standout shapes of the Transition Era. According to surfresearch.com.au, the Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker was created during a trip McTavish took to visit George Greenough in Santa Barbara, and the rest is history. I actually wrote up an earlier Morey Pope McTavish Tracker here. The earlier post features another example of the board and links to some resources with some history behind the groundbreaking shape.