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