Unity Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s Sagas of Shred post focuses on a South Bay brand of yesteryear: Unity Surfboards. There isn’t much info to be found on Unity, other than the requisite Stoked-n-Board entry. Unity Surfboards was the brainchild of Pat Reardon, who later shaped under his own name. According to Easy Reader News, as of March of this year, Reardon continues to shape boards for South Bay surfers.

The Unity Surfboards ad pictured above apparently ran in 1977. This makes sense, given the ad features a distinctive Sting shape. Here at Shred Sledz HQ, there are few boards more beloved than the Sting design. And while Aipa’s Stings will forever be held in high regard, I get a big kick out of seeing Sting interpretations from other shapers, whether that’s Con Surfboards or even Al Merrick and Channel Islands.

Unity Surfboards dubbed their design the “Sting-It.” You’ll also notice in the ad that Unity refers to the Sting-It as a stinger. The debate over Sting or stinger rages on; I have heard that it’s the former, and until someone can prove otherwise, I’ll continue to refer to them as Stings.

There also happen to be two separate Unity Sting-Its that are listed for sale. The first board is can be found on Craigslist in San Pedro, not far from Unity’s Hermosa Beach stomping grounds. You can find that Sting-It here. It’s listed at 6’8″, and it’s not in perfect condition, though it certainly looks rideable. (There’s also another Unity Surfboards single fin on Craigslist in Orange County, which you can find here.)

The board pictured above is currently listed on eBay. There’s no mention of Unity on the eBay listing, but it’s quite clear from the pictures. Pics via the eBay listing, which you can find here. The asking price for the eBay Sting-It is $600, which seems a bit steep. Nonetheless, it’s a great example of a classic 1970s design (even though a part of me cringes at the black leash plug that seems to have been added after the fact).

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 30)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you are all having fantastic weekends. Without any further ado, here’s a selection of social media posts that have recently caught my eye.

Christian Fletcher’s signature model is the coolest. Raddest. Most-shredding-est. Choose whatever superlative you prefer; I just can’t get enough of these things.

Hit the “Continue Reading” link below for some more vintage surfboard goodness…

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Sting by Way of Santa Barbara: Vintage Channel Islands Surfboard

If you’re sick of reading about Al Merrick and Channel Islands surfboards on Shred Sledz, I’ve got terrible news: it’s not about to stop any time soon. Without any further ado, here is an interesting vintage Channel Islands surfboard I have come across recently.

The board pictured above was originally posted to Craigslist in San Diego (link here). The asking price is $500, and even then you can see that considerable repairs have been made. The seller had the deck to the board completely refinished, as you can see in the pictures.

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but the board looks to be a Channel Islands interpretation of a classic sting design. It must be from the early days of the storied CI brand, given that the sting was invented in the 1970s. In the last picture you can also see the super old school Bob Haakenson logo. Haakenson is a long-time Santa Barbara based glasser who did a ton of work for Channel Islands. See below for an example of a classic Haakenson logo.

bob haakenson
Classic Bob Haakenson logo; pic via sufermind.net

I found an excellent entry from Fiberglass Hawaii’s blog that features an in-depth interview with Haakenson and some cool trivia (did you know Haakenson came up with Surfboards Hawaii’s storied “Model A” while he was one of their team riders?) Link to the blog post can be found here. In the blog post, Haakenson claims that he started glassing for Al Merrick and Channel Islands in 1973, after returning from a stint in Hawaii. Therefore I’d guess the funky CI sting at the top of the post has to be sometime from the mid-70s or later.

The Fiberglass Hawaii post also includes an incredible picture from Channel Islands Surfboards’ early days. I am fully comfortable with saying that I would do some truly reprehensible things to get my hands on the boards in the photo, which can be seen below. Note the red board in the front row, which looks to be a similar riff on a sting outline, albeit with an extra set of wings before the tail.

bob-haakenson-for-ci
The Channel Islands family with some incredible looking boards

The board pictured at the top of the page has a pretty rare logo, as well. Here’s another pic of the same logo, but from a different board, that shows the design a little more clearly. Note that this logo does not appear on Stoked-n-Board’s entry for Channel Islands.

Channel Islands Logo

There’s a more common variant of this pill-shaped logo, which includes a landscape and some sailboats. See below for the version taken from Stanley’s Surf Logos. Note that in the pill logo above, it reads “Santa Barbara – Ventura”, whereas in the sailboat logo below, the order is reversed (“Ventura – Santa Barbara”).

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Pic via Stanley’s Surf Logos

Anyway, I think my Channel Islands obsession is starting to veer into uncomfortable territory, even when considering that I maintain a vintage surfboard blog in my free time.

If you’re interested in checking out the Channel Island sting, the Craigslist listing is found here.

Shred Sledz Presents: 4/17 Weekend Grab Bag (Aipa, Hansen, Morey Pope, Hansen)

Back to our regularly scheduled weekend grab bags. Here’s a selection of some cool boards that have caught my eye recently.

Aipa / Surfing’s New Image Sting (Craigslist – Santa Barbara)

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Sadly, there are no bargains to be had here. Seller is asking $2250 out the gate for this Aipa / Surfing’s New Image sting. Shout out to the seller for being clear about the fact this board was shaped by Rick Hamon, and not Ben Aipa himself (see here for an earlier Shred Sledz screed on the topic.) I have never seen that stringer setup before, and the airbrush on the bottom speaks for itself! Deck isn’t perfect but that’s like pointing out a small dent on a gullwing Mercedes. Check out the board here.

Hit the jump below for some more boards, including another Aipa, and some transitional goodness..

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Con Surfboards Sting: Mint Con-dition 1970s Single Fin

I’ve written before about my love for Con Surfboards. I’ve had some time to think about it…and I stand by everything I’ve said. I don’t know what it is but I just can’t get enough of vintage Con boards. That logo is just so killer! There’s something about the simplicity of the design that encapsulates everything I associate with the early days of California surf culture.

Photo via Ron Regalado

Enough with the pretentious prose, though: let’s get to the good stuff! In the pictures above you can see a groovy Con Surfboards sting single fin that’s currently listed for sale on eBay. The board appears to be a variant on a traditional sting design.

There are a lot of interesting things about this board, but man, check out that insane arc tail! (Honestly, I didn’t even know what to call it, until I found this helpful breakdown of different surfboard tail designs by Rusty Preisendorfer.)

The wings on the Con board are not very pronounced, and they look to be pushed quite far back compared to other sting silhouettes. For example, take a look at this Aipa sting (Aipa, of course, invented the sting). The wings on the Aipa below are wider and located further up, closer to the wide point of the board:

Photo via Surfboardline.com

The Con board also sports a step bottom, which you can find on a decent number of stings. Here’s an example of a G&S sting (although I believe this is a board made in Australia, and not G&S’ native California), via the Cronulla Surf Museum, that features a clearly visible step bottom:

Picture via Cronulla Surf Museum

With that said, I can’t find any evidence of Con ever having made a sting. I’m not sure whether this was a specific model of board, or, more likely, a one-off. As for the date, Stoked-n-Board has a great entry on Con Surfboards, which has some good clues for when the board might have been made.

First, the board featured in the post has a clearly identifiable logo. It is the combination of Con’s script logo from the 70s, along with its classic red circle design. According to Stoked-n-Board, this logo was only produced between 1969 and 1974.

Those dates line up well with the other details for the board. First, you have a gorgeous rainbow fin in a fin box (not sure what kind of fin system), which points towards very late 60s and the 70s. Second, the sting was a design that came to prominence in the 70s, mostly thanks to Ben Aipa and the top Hawaiian pros of the time. According to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, the sting was invented in 1974. (See here for an earlier post on Aipa stings).

More than anything, I’m stunned that the board appears to be in such great condition. It’s almost to the point where I began to wonder if it was a retro board shaped more recently. However, I have my doubts that a retro board would have a rainbow fin, not to mention the funky details (the step bottom and the wings). My guess? The board at the top of the page is just in fantastic condition.

The board is going for $750. As far as I know, there’s no special historical significance to this thing. $750 is never cheap, but if I’m correct in saying the board is all original and in such fantastic condition, I’d argue that’s actually a reasonable price.

You can check out the board here.