Leave it to good ol’ Occ to not overthink things! This ad, which ran in the December 1986 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 27, No 12), absolutely kills me. I also happen to think it’s a good summary of Occy’s considerable, offbeat charm. (For more Occy and Sagas of Shred, see here and here). Last, but not least, it’s also a great reminder of why Surfer Magazine has earned its title as “the Bible of the sport.” It’s no secret that the media business has been hit hard as of late, and sadly, times are looking tough for Surfer. The iconic magazine saw a round of layoffs earlier this month, and there are rumors that Surfer’s parent company is set to be acquired by AMI, which might be in a bit of trouble itself.
But rather than dwell on Surfer Magazine’s uncertain future, I’d like to celebrate all the incredible content it has put out over the years, including the ads that get posted here every Thursday evening. (It’s not too late to subscribe, either.) Almost all of the content in Sagas of Shred comes about from scanning ads from back issues of Surfer Magazine. This, of course, doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the wonderful editorial output over the years, which has single handedly helped shape surf culture into what it is today. I don’t pretend to know the future of the media business, or how that relates to surfing, but it’s my sincere hope that Surfer Magazine continues to publish the same high quality content for many years to come.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post features Bird Huffman, owner of the legendary’s Bird’s Surf Shed down in San Diego. If you haven’t paid pilgrimage to the Shed yet, you should. The Shed is stocked full of an incredible array of vintage boards and staff members are personable and knowledgeable.
Bird has also been hosting a great series for Surfer Magazine titled “Shed Sessions.” Each Session takes a crew of surfers from a certain area and then hooks them up with some vintage boards, all of which have a historical connection to the featured location, and films the results. The most recent Shed Session features some Newport Beach rippers taking a couple of Orange County gems through their paces.
There’s a beautiful Dyno sting — shout out to Bird for the proper nomenclature — that looks really fun in the small but hollow beachbreak testing grounds. The next board is a Robert August swallowtail single fin, which looks very similar to a board I wrote about recently.
The star of the show, though, is a Shawn Stussy-shaped Russell Surfboards single fin. As longtime readers may know, I love Stussy’s boards in general. It’s hard to argue with a classic Eighties Stussy thruster, but I may love the Russell single fins from the Seventies just as much. For one, they aren’t as common.
I love this Russell Surfboards Stussy shape because you can see the beginnings of what would go on to become one of the most famous streetwear brands ever. In the photo above, which is a screengrab from the video, you can see an early version of the Stussy logo. As Bird mentions in the video, I have never seen another Russell board with a Stussy logo. I have seen other Russell boards that were signed by Stussy, and I have also seen Stussy boards with early versions of the logo that pre-date the famous script, but the combo above is unusual.
Surfer Magazine has produced a bunch of Shed Sessions episodes, and I urge you to check out the entire run. It’s a great series featuring some beautiful old boards paired with great surfing and even some history, too.
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.
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
John Severson, the founder of Surfer Magazine, passed away in his sleep on Friday night. This humble little blog wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for Severson and his contributions to surfing culture.
There are much better ways to measure Severson’s impact than by referencing the existence of websites that have a tongue-in-cheek ‘z’ in their names, however. Severson not only established the most influential publication in surfing history, he was a talented surfer, a writer, a filmmaker, and an artist, too. Surfer has a fitting eulogy to the man on their website, which honors his legacy far better than I ever could. Instead, here’s a collection of some of my favorite Severson images. RIP, Mr. Severson, and thank you for everything.
Picture at the top of the page by James Cook Loomis; originally posted on 032c.com