I’m usually not one to tell people how to live their lives, but in this case I’m willing to make an exception. The title says it all. If you’d rather not read the unhinged fan boy ramblings of a part-time blogger, then by all means, skip directly ahead to the beautiful pictures below. While I love the neon look of 80s surfboards in all its forms, there’s no denying that Shawn Stussy is on a different level. His boards still look futuristic a good thirty-plus years after they were shaped. Fluoro sprays might have been the dominant trend of the Echo Beach era, but it’s clear that Stussy was one of the people who defined the aesthetic, as opposed to hopping on the bandwagon. I’m simply in awe of these boards, whether it’s the bold strokes of the now-classic Stussy script logo, the double winged swallow tails, or, of course, the arresting graphics. There’s a reason why Stussy shortboards from the 80s command such high prices on the open market, and it’s not just nostalgia.
As a bonus, here’s a picture of Stussy alongside one of his creations for the Russell Surfboards label. I’ve featured a few sweet Stussy / Russell Surfboardsshapesin the past. The one below has them all beat. I’ve also never personally seen the orange box logo on a Russell shape. I’m wondering if it might have been restored, but either way, it is an absolutely stunning board.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ll be looking at a selection of some of the most prized sticks in any would-be collector’s sights: Eighties Stussy boards. Shawn Stussy is best known for his clothing label, but before he became one of the godfathers of streetwear, he made a name for himself as one of the better shapers in Southern California. Stussy continues to shape today under his S/Double label. But given this is a vintage surfboard blog, it is Stussy’s earlier designs — both at Russell Surfboards and under his own name — that really get pulses going over at Shred Sledz HQ. Recently, a trio of Eighties Stussy boards went for sale on eBay, and here’s a rundown of the pricing and the condition of the various boards.
Eighties Stussy Boards Example #1: QZ/3 Thruster #1056 (eBay)
The Stussy QZ/3 pictured above has all the bells and whistles you might want from an 80s Stussy board. Stussy’s shapes often feel like treasure hunts — there are always cool little graphics and details to be discovered if you look closely enough. I personally love the laminate on the glass-on fins, and what I like to think of as a laser show airbrush on the deck of the board. However, I am wondering if the board pictured above wasn’t re-finished, at least on the bottom. I don’t know why there’s a cutout around the signature, but it sure looks as if the yellow paint on the bottom was an after market addition. That would also explain the relatively low price — the board sold for $280, which is practically unheard of for Eighties Stussy boards.
Eighties Stussy Boards Example #2: QZ/3 Thruster #2748 with The Brotherhood Logo (eBay)
Please forgive the lighting on the pics, which are all via the eBay listing linked above. This board isn’t in phenomenal condition. It has a bit of a tan and there are some huge old traction pads on both the tail and the middle of the board. Nonetheless, I am drawn to a unique detail on this board, which is the neon Brotherhood logo located directly beneath the Stussy laminate. It’s far more common to see references to The Brotherhood on old Russell boards.
The board has a lot of the thoughtful touches you’ll find on Eighties Stussy boards. I love the little “SS” laminate right above the fins, and Stussy even finds ways to make his signatures look cool. The Brotherhood logo board is being offered at $400, and a few days into the auction, there are no bites.
Eighties Stussy Boards Example #3: QZ/3 Thruster #2373 (eBay)
Here we have another example of a Stussy QZ / 3 thruster. The QZ / 3 was a model name that Stussy used for a thruster-based design. You can find a tiny bit more context on Board Collector, along with some cool pics of some other Stussy shapes. Sadly, #2373 has seen better days. The board is being offered at $350.
Greetings, Shredderz! Welcome to another installment of the Shred Sledz Grab Bag, where we’ll be taking a look at some boards that have recently been listed or sold around in the internet. And if you’re catching up, I’d like to recommend checking out the earlier post on Rick Surfboards. Without any further ado, here are some selections:
There are two Stussy surfboards for sale on Craigslist, both of which are located in New Jersey. It looks like they are being offered by separate sellers. Both of these boards are cheaper than what you might expect for Stussy boards. In the case of the board pictured above, this probably has a lot to do with the condition of the board. The board is signed by Stussy (click through to the listing for more pics), but there are numerous visible repairs and pressure dings. Check out the funny Waterman’s Guild dolphin logo! As for the second board, which also boasts a Rasta logo, it’s hard to draw any conclusions on the condition from the pictures. I emailed the seller, who claims there are no dents and dings. The board above is listed at $525, and the second board (not pictured) is offered at $500. Neither board has the over the top 80s spray jobs, but the second one seems like a pretty good deal at $500.
This board has come and gone, so if you have an itchy trigger finger and an affinity for neon, I’m sorry to disappoint you! I thought this board was an interesting litmus test for prices around pre-Echo Beach boards. The Schroff twin fin above ended up selling for $388, which was a bit below what I had expected. This board looks like it’s barely a pre-Echo Beach shape. On one hand, with the bright colors and the multiple logos, you can see the beginnings of what would become Schroff’s signature style. On the other, the board is missing the signature Schroff black and white checkered logo, and between the beaked nose and the old-school lams, it has more of a late 70s / early 80s vibe. Personally, I love this twin fin, and I thought $388 was a steal, even considering the board had a bunch of dings. Then again, it’s clear that the market favors a certain era of Schroff boards, and this one does not fit into that description. The seller just posted another Schroff board, this time with all the 80s bells and whistles, and it’ll be interesting to note where the price ends up. For another example of a pre-Echo Beach shape, check out the earlier post on a Wave Tools single fin, which is still available for $250! Check out Board Collector for some more great shots of Schroff boards if you’re interested.
Let’s switch gears to a classic 1960s noserider as a little palate cleanser to the go go Day Glo 80s boards featured above. This here is a Hansen “The Hustler” model noserider, clocking in at a serious 9’10”. The poster claims the board was shaped in 1967. This is somewhat supported by the old Newport Beach surfboard permit sticker that dates to 1969. You can also see the board has the old Hansen bolt through fin, which you’ll find on many Hansen boards from this era. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but info about Hansen Hustler models is scarce online. There’s another Hansen “The Hustler” noserider on sale on eBay, which is partially restored and is listed for $3,500. The board above looks all original and it is being offered at $1700. I don’t know enough about these boards to weigh in on the price, sadly. If you have more context, please drop me a line — I would love to hear from anyone with some info on this board!
Donald Takayama Hawaiian Pro Designs “In the Pink” Model
Pictured above is a Donald Takayama “In the Pink” 9’0″ noserider that was sold on Craigslist in San Diego a few weeks ago. The listing has since been removed. It’s an interesting board for a few reasons. First, look at the clear DT hand signature in the second to last pic, and compare the serial number with the one on the order form in the last photo. It’s a very cool look at a Takayama order form. I’m not sure when the board was made, but judging from the side bite fin boxes, it’s modern, likely made a few years before Takayama’s untimely passing in 2012.
Let’s face it: no one would ever confuse Shred Sledz with real journalism. The upside is that we don’t have to pretend to be objective. Case in point: Shawn Stussy is a blog favorite, and until he says something nasty about us, that’s not likely to change. Stussy got his start shaping surfboards in Southern California. He printed up t-shirts for his fledgling brand, and soon his namesake company ended up becoming a streetwear juggernaut. And while Stussy’s best-known and most coveted surfboards are from the eighties, Stussy began his shaping career at a different Southern California brand: Russell Surfboards. For all you fellow Stussy-philes, there’s currently a Russell Surfboards Shawn Stussy board for sale on Craigslist. You can find a link to the board here. I have reproduced some of the pictures below.
The poster claims the board was shaped in 1973. It’s not surprising to hear that date given the outline and the dimensions of the board: 7’5″ x 19″. The coolest part of the board is the hand drawn Stussy logo, which you can see at the top of the page. Stussy’s boards are difficult to find as is, much less a clearly marked example of a Russell board. Rarer still is the logo: this is the only example I have seen of a hand-drawn Stussy logo on a Russell board.
According to Russell Surfboards’ website, Stussy, along with Jeff Timpone, handled the bulk of shaping duties for the brand from the mid- to late-1970s. Stussy’s run ostensibly ended in 1980, when he struck out on his own. I was able to find a picture from his Russell days. If you look closely, you can see the Russell Surfboards logo on his t-shirt.
Russell Surfboards has its roots in Newport Beach, where it was founded in 1967. During the seventies the brand was also referred to as “The Brotherhood” in reference to a tight-knit group of locals that surfed Newport’s best breaks. The Brotherhood included surfers like Junior Beck, Lenny Foster, Billy Pells, Paul Heussenstamm, and Jack Briggs. You’ll see The Brotherhood branding on a number of Russell boards from this era:
There’s an excellent blog post from a site called The Central Shaft that details one of The Brotherhood’s early trips down to Puerto Escondido during the mid-seventies. There are some incredible pictures of some Newport locals surfing Stussy’s boards in the pounding beachbreak for which Puerto Escondido has become infamous.
And if you’re into quiver porn, the article features a shot of a quiver Stussy shaped during his Russell days. The Central Shaft suggests this quiver was shaped for the Puerto Escondido trips, but a recent article in The Surfer’s Journal indicates that this is actually Stussy’s quiver for the 1974 winter, which he spent in Kauai.
In The Central Shaft blog post, Stussy goes on to describe the boards he shaped for the Puerto Escondido trip.
These boards were usually between seven six and eight six, nose and tail blocks from scraps of fin panel that the glass on fin was made from, also the leash mound when that started to happen, yellow tint with full gloss and polish, double and triple touching resin pinlines Russell would lay down, shit was awesome… we were so committed to making what we called “Cadillacs” at the time… a full sixties vibe was alive and well at the brotherhood in that period… love these pictures and this part of my shaping life…
I was also able to find an example of another Russell Surfboards Shawn Stussy creation. This one comes courtesy of Board Collector / Damion Fuller. I have added two of the pictures below. It’s a classic twin fin shape, and according to Damion, the board was shaped in the late 1970s. You can see a Stussy signature on the stringer in the second picture; it’s also signed Greg, and I’m not sure who this is. If you have tips, let me know! The Russell Surfboards Shawn Stussy twin fin also has a Larry Bertlemann-inspired spray job, which is a beautiful touch. See the original post here. Stussy crafted some pretty fantastic twin fins in the eighties under his own brand, and Damion’s site has some great pictures as well.
Russell Surfboards Shawn Stussy twin fin, shaped in the late seventies. Pic via Board Collector.
Sadly, Robert Russell Brown, who founded Russell Surfboard, passed away in 2011. Stussy wrote a tribute to the man on his personal blog. It’s clear that Stussy remains very much influenced by his time at Russell Surfboards.
You can find the Craigslist link to the Russell Surfboards Shawn Stussy shape at the top of the page here. The seller is asking $750. The board needs some repairs, particularly on the bottom, but I don’t think this is an outrageous price. Stussy maybe known for his eighties design, with their bright colors and intricate logos, but the Russell single fin is a rare artifact from his earlier shaping days.
Corrections / Updates July 9 2017
Updated the photo credit for the featured photo, which was taken by Craig Fineman. In addition, the quiver shot was originally credited as having been created for a Brotherhood trip to Puerto Escondido; an article in The Surfer’s Journal claims the quiver was made for a Kauai winter in 1974.
Surfboards and Coffee had their second event this past weekend, and it looks like it was a doozy. Expression Session #2 was a celebration of all things Echo Beach, and as you might expect, there was enough neon to hurt your eyes (this is a good thing!). Peter Schroff and Lance Collins (Wave Tools) both made cameos, alongside a serious collection of classic 80s boards. I would have liked to drop by, but luckily, there are some great recaps to be found on Instagram. And this is a strictly a matter of personal preference, but the event resulted in some cool insider info on Shawn Stussy surfboards.
One-time Stussy team rider John Gothard showed up to the event and provided some awesome context on decoding some of Stussy’s mysterious stringer markings. To summarize the video below, at some point during the 80s Stussy was obsessed with James Bond. As a result, Stussy signed his personal boards “007” on the stringer. Gothard’s boards were marked “008” in a reference to Bond’s friend and Secret Service colleague.
See below for a nice contrast between the different Stussy logos. The boards on either side have the what I’m guessing is an older logo, and the board in the middle sports the classic version.
I was able to find another Stussy board on Instagram, which I believe pre-dates the script logo entirely. I believe the board below is from the late 1970s or early 1980s. (Note that Stoked-n-Board says Stussy didn’t start shaping until 1980).
Finally, another one of Stussy’s personal riders was up for sale earlier this year at the California Gold Surf Auction. See below for a picture, which was originally posted on the auction listing. There’s no “007” anywhere on this board, which dates to 1991. I’m guessing the “007” signature was relatively short-lived, but it’s just a guess.
I’m bummed to have missed the event, but hopefully Surfboards and Coffee will continue to do God’s work in bringing together some killer boards and old school shapers! If you haven’t already, give them a follow on Instagram here.
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…