T&C Surf, Dane Kealoha, Larry Bertlemann Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening here in California, and by now readers will hopefully know that means a heaping helping of vintage surf advertising goodness is about to be served up, courtesy of Sagas of Shred. If I do say so myself, the blog has been on a bit of a tear lately with regard to quality cuts of the Hawaiian variety. Here’s an absolutely killer Dane Kealoha T&C single fin shaped by Glenn Minami, and I also wrote up a tidy quiver of Hawaiian single fins, which included a different but no less bitchin’ T&C Minami stick.

For today’s Sagas of Shred entry we turn the clock back to 1982. Check out the classic T&C Surf ad you can see at the top of the page. The ad ran in the December 1982 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 23, No 12). It features some stalwarts of the storied Town & Country Surf Designs brand. In the larger picture, from left to right, are Larry Bertlemann, Dane Kealoha and Randall Kim. Inset is a picture of Craig Sugihara, T&C’s founder, and Kealoha again. The photos in the ad were taken by Warren Bolster. Bertlemann and Kealoha need no introduction as two of the most famous Hawaiian pros from the Seventies. Rounding out the roster is Randall Kim, a standout big wave surfer from Hawaii who was later killed in a tragic shooting.

Since this is a vintage surfboard blog, we’re going to have to take a second to geek out on the photo props. Dane is posing alongside an incredible stick in the main picture. I can’t tell what the fin setup is, but the airbrush on the deck is insane. You can detect some wings towards the tail, but that’s about it.

The smaller photo in the ad was part of a larger photoshoot for the T&C brand. Here’s another photo from the same shoot, which I featured in an earlier Sagas of Shred post.

I’m calling it: the polo shirt tucked into short boardshorts is overdue for a comeback. All royalties can be paid to Shred Sledz Inc, thanks in advance.

In both ads Dane Kealoha can be seen posing with an awesome T&C twin fin. I can’t say who shaped it, sadly. But I can say that the airbrush is just as an incredible as the other board. It’s also cool to see Sugihara front and center, as he isn’t present in the brand’s marketing during its Eighties heyday.

Finally, I think these ads depict the T&C brand during an interesting point in its history. I would say T&C hit its peak popularity later on during the Eighties, and in the ads here you can see early signs of the aesthetic that would become world famous in just a few years. And for anyone with a passing interest in surf history, you simply can’t go wrong with the combination of the Rubberman, Kealoha, and one of Hawaii’s iconic surf brands.

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back next Thursday with more Sagas of Shred!

Dane Kealoha Surfboard by Glenn Minami

Old surf ads are fun and all, but let’s face it: if you’re reading this blog, you came here for one thing, and that’s the straight dope on vintage surfboards with some heavy hitter pedigree. I think you’ll all agree that today’s stick fits that description. And, if for some reason, a Dane Kealoha personal rider shaped by Glenn Minami still doesn’t have you convinced, drop me a line and we’ll set you straight ASAP. Yes, pictured below is a Dane Kealoha surfboard shaped by Minami under the storied T&C Surf Designs label. The board comes courtesy of a private, anonymous collector. Thanks to the owner for sharing the photos you see in this post!

You can click the pictures above to enlarge. The Dane Kealoha surfboard you see was shaped in 1979 and it measures in at 6’3″ x 19 1/2″ x 2 3/4″. The owner contacted Glenn Minami to get more info on the board. Minami believes the board was shaped for Kealoha as a personal rider, based on the “D” in the signature, which you can see below.

Close up of the signature on the Dane Kealoha surfboard featured here. You can see Glenn’s “GM” on the far left. The first two digits of “791603” indicate it was shaped in 1979; and the “D” at the end means it was a board shaped for Dane.

The owner was unable to find any pics of Kealoha surfing this board, and I couldn’t either. That said, you’ll notice it has a similar color scheme to the red and yellow Dane Kealoha surfboard seen at the top of the page. (Not sure who took the photo of Dane riding the red and yellow board; let me know if you have more clues.) Moreover, according to Minami, the fact the board was 6’3″ indicates it was likely a step up. Apparently Dane liked to surf shorter boards in powerful surf.

It looks like this board is unusual in the sense it was shaped for Dane as a personal rider. From what I can tell, T&C produced a Dane Kealoha Model for everyday consumers. There appears to be an example of a Kealoha model available on eBay right now. The eBay board doesn’t have a shaper signature anywhere on the board, and according to the listing, it was shaped somewhere in Australia, likely under license. I think Dane Kealoha Model boards are likely to command high prices on the open market, but as cool as those boards are, I love the fact the single fin featured on this post was made for Dane to ride himself. It’s also worth noting that the eBay board is a twin fin.

There are some interesting subtleties found on the laminates on this Dane Kealoha board.

Click the photos above to enlarge. The logo found on the deck of the board is on the left; the pic on the right is the logo found on the bottom. You’ll notice the Dane Kealoha surfboard has two slightly different laminates. The deck laminate reads “Dane Kealoha Hawiian Designs” and the bottom says “Dane Kealoha Designs Hawaii.”

Close up of the fin. The fin alone is gorgeous and the fact the sticker matches the rest of the board is such a rad little touch.

 Last but not least, the Dane Kealoha surfboard comes with an absolutely bitchin’ fin, which I believe is original. And yes, I really dig the fact the T&C Surf sticker on the fin matches the color scheme of the board.

Thanks again to the individual who shared pics of this incredible surfboard, and I hope you enjoyed learning more about this awesome stick!

Hawaiian Single Fins: Quivers of Distinction

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we have something short but very, very sweet. We have a new series here on the blog titled Quivers of Distinction. As the title suggests, this series will highlight notable quivers. (Friendly reminder to get in touch if you’ve got some boards you’d like to share!)

This lineup of Hawaiian single fins belongs to an anonymous collector in Southern California. As you can see in the photo above, he’s got impeccable taste in boards. From left to right (based on the top picture; order is reversed in the shot showing the bottom of boards)

  • 4’10” Hawaiian Island Creations channel bottom single fin, shaped by Cino Magallanes;
  • 5’9″ Lightning Bolt single fin shaped by Tom Eberly;
  • 6’4″ Local Motion swallow tail, Kailua laminate, shaper unknown (unclear if the Buttons logo sticker was added afterwards)
  • 5’9″ Local Motion (yellow board), Kaiula laminate, Dane Kealoha-inspired airbrush, shaper also unknown
  • 5’8″ T&C Surf single fin shaped by Glenn Minami

Needless to say, this is a really killer lineup of boards, brought to you by some of the finest Hawaiian craftsmen in recent history. I’m a little blown away by the 4’10” HIC / Cino single fin. Part of me wonders if this wasn’t originally created as a kneeboard. Either way I have never seen anything like it. The two Local Motion boards and the T&C / Minami single fin are incredible, too. I can’t decide between those three as my favorite. And of course, it goes without saying that any Tom Eberly Lightning Bolt board is worth any surfboard enthusiast’s time, too! Overall, this is an insanely deep lineup of vintage sticks. I love that the owner has taken the time to see that all of these single fins have been outfitted with era appropriate fins, too.

Mahalo to the owner for the rad pics! Hopefully we’ll have some more killer quiver shots in the near future as well.

Social Media Roundup: Ben Aipa for Greg Noll Surfcenter & More…

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here’s a selection of social media posts from the last month or so.

I’ve long held a fascination with the crossover of Australian and Hawaiian surfers and shapers, and this is one of the best I have seen yet. I love the contrast of styles here: Wayne Lynch‘s cool reserve and Larry Bertlemann’s brash style. Also, Larry’s wetsuit vest is absolutely killer.

I love Aipa and his signature sting, but one of his less-heralded models is the Transition Era single fin he made for Greg Noll’s Surfcenter shop in Hawaii. You don’t see these every day, and I love the sideways logo as well as the subtle blue resin pin lines on the deck. The photo at the top of the page was taken from a recent USVSA auction for a similar board, which you can see here.

Dick Brewer needs no introduction. I really dig this super rare board, one of the few surviving samples of his early Lahaina Surf Designs label (yes, the acronym is intentional). Make sure you scroll through the pics for a close up of the trippy logo.

Nothing too crazy here: just a super clean and lovely example of a classic Sixties longboard, the Rick Surfboards Dru Harrison Improvisor Model. I love the bright blue high density foam stringer and the matching glass on fin. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

Last but not least, here’s a gorgeous T&C Surf Designs sting from the Seventies. Not sure who shaped this bad boy, but it’s stunning. I think there’s a chance it may have been restored, judging from the impeccable condition, but either way you can’t go wrong with this one. I’ve said it before, but even though the Eighties T&C thrusters with the neon sprays are the most collectible vintage boards from the label, I just might like the Seventies single fins even more. In particular, I’m a sucker for that huge, clean old school yin yang logo.

As always, thanks for checking out the blog, and stay tuned for even more vintage surfboard goodness!

T&C Surf Glenn Minami Twin Fin: Price Checks

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got a quick check in on a very cool board: a T&C Surf Glenn Minami twin fin from 1978. Put your wallets away, though, because the eBay auction is already done and dusted. All photos in the site are via eBay; you can find the original listing here.

T&C Surf Glenn Minami Twin Fin 1.jpg

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: as much as everyone loves the 80s T&C Surf boards, I think the earlier single fins and twin fins are a bit underrated. As is always the case with noteworthy surfboard labels, T&C Surf Designs has its foundation in the combo of talented craftsmen and gifted surfers. According to T&C’s website, T&C Surf founder Craig Sugihara was inspired after riding a Mark Richards twin fin during the early 70s. Sugihara then enlisted Glenn Minami to continue to iterate on the design. Shortly thereafter, Dane Kealoha joined the roster and the rest is history.

T&C Surf Glenn Minami Twin Fin 2.jpg

As for the T&C Surf Glenn Minami board you see here, it measures in at 5’8″ x 20″ x 2 3/4″. According to the seller it was shaped in 1978, during the relatively early days of the Town & Country label. Overall the board looks to be in pretty good condition, although it looks like the swallowtail underwent some surgery. The board is super colorful and eye-catching, and while it’s not quite as crazy as the neon airbrushes that would define T&C’s look in the 80s, I really dig it. In particular, the fins are a super cool touch, especially with T&C’s classic yin yang logo on them.

And yes, this is a Price Checks entry, so you know we’re going to discuss the price tag on this bad boy. The final price was $860. This is a shade lower than what I would have guessed, but even so, it’s a healthy price for a forty year old board. The board looks to be in good condition aside from the aforementioned work on the tail. The T&C Surf Glenn Minami twin fin is no longer for sale but you can check out the eBay listing here.

Finally, Glenn Minami continues to shape surfboards today. He shapes under his own name, rather than the T&C Surf label, and you can find more about Glenn’s boards on his website or follow him on Instagram.

Price Checks: T&C Surf / Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ll be examining one of the most coveted signature sticks out there: a T&C Surf / Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard. As I have written about before, getting concrete information on surfboard prices can often be tricky, but eBay makes things slightly easier, thanks to the fact it keeps up posts on completed listings even after the sale has closed. The Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard featured here just closed earlier today on eBay, and thankfully, the listing still has pics and prices. You can find the listing here; all photo in this post are via eBay.

This Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard closed at a cool $1,085, with an option to ship the board within the US for an additional $100. The board is a swallow tail twin fin and it measures 5’10” x 20″ x 3″. On one hand, I can’t say I’m that surprised, as these Larry Bertlemann boards are super popular among collectors. On the other, this board has discoloration throughout, and some additional restoration work has been done, too. The board is in decent condition, all things considered, but it’s also clearly not a perfect example. I see the price as an indication of how collectible Bertlemann surfboards are, given that it still went over $1K, even with its various imperfections. I’m curious to see what a similar Larry Bertlemann surfboard in excellent condition might fetch — I can’t see one going for anything less than $2,000, but that’s only a guess.

Larry Bertlemann Surfboard via Juice Magazine.jpg
Larry Bertlemann, AKA The Rubberman, going vertical. Photo by Jeff Divine and via a Juice Magazine interview between LB and Zephyr’s Jeff Ho

I still can’t quite figure out whether the Larry Bertlemann surfboard you see here is considered a Hawaiian Pro Designs board, or a T&C Surf Designs board. As you can see it has laminates from both brands. The T&C Surf Designs yin yang features prominently throughout the board, but all of the Pepsi Larry Bertlemann logos have Hawaiian Pro Designs on them, too. Hawaiian Pro Designs is best known for being Donald Takayama’s label during the later part of Takayama’s career. However, I simply don’t know about the earlier history of the Hawaiian Pro Designs brand. See here for a Hawaiian Pro Designs Larry Bertlemann surfboard that has a rare Olympic rings logo, but no mention of T&C. And here is another Larry Bertlemann surfboard, which has the T&C Surf Designs yin yang logos, but otherwise no T&C branding (looks like the sticker on the fins was added after the fact). Long story short, I don’t know how to classify the brands and/or labels for Larry Bertlemann’s various signature surfboard models.

I also don’t know who shaped the board. Bertlemann shaped some of his own surfboards. According to SurfboardLine.com, Takayama also shaped some twin fins for Bertlemann during the Seventies, but I’m not sure when. These Larry Bertlemann surfboards were produced under license in Australia for a while, too, but again, I’m not clear on who the production shapers were.

Finally, see below for a little video produced by Buggs Arico, the collector behind the aforementioned SurfboardLine.com. Buggs’ site has a great entry on Bertlemann, including a killer Larry Bertlemann surfboard producer under the killer Hot Lips Designs label, so check that out if you get the chance.

T&C Surf Designs Dane Kealoha Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening in California, which can only mean one thing: more vintage surf ads coming your way, via Sagas of Shred. Today’s entry is another classic from the Eighties, AKA the decade that popularized neon, mullets, stonewashed jeans and countless other instances of poor taste. You know what has aged well, though? Dane Kealoha’s inimitable brand of Hawaiian power surfing. Here’s a T&C Surf Designs Dane Kealoha ad from an issue of Surfing Magazine published sometime during the Eighties. I am not going to make any comments about the outfits Dane can be seen rocking on the right side of the ad. No, not even those oversized baby blue shorts, because Dane is a better surfer than I could ever dream of being, and he’s definitely tougher than me, too. So I’ll keep the fashion commentary to a minimum and focus instead on the fact T&C Surf Designs and Dane Kealoha is an absolutely perfect pairing.

Thanks for reading and tune in next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred!

Christian Fletcher Goin’ Off: Sagas of Shred

Shredderz, it’s late, and I’ve got stuff to do. But nothing — nothing — stops the Sagas of Shred train from leaving the station every Thursday night, delivering more vintage surf ads to all you internet surfers. The topic’s of today’s entry is none other than esteemed aerialist and counter culture icon Christian Fletcher. Here’s a pic of one of Fletcher’s famous frontside boosts, powered by a T&C Surf Designs stick bearing his awesome skull logo. I still don’t quite understand the relationship between Christian Fletcher Surfboards and T&C. As you can see in the ad, Christian Fletcher definitely rode for Town & Country Surfboards, and for at least part of that time, his boards had both the T&C yin yang laminates as well as the Christian Fletcher logo. I’m guessing he later split off to found his own Christian Fletcher Surfboards label — here’s a Steve Boysen-shaped Christian Fletcher Surfboards stick that isn’t from T&C — but I haven’t read any definitive accounts of what happened. Either way, Fletcher blazed a trail through surfing in the late Eighties and early Nineties with his radical moves and contempt for the pro contest scene.

Thanks for reading and check in next Thursday night for more Sagas of Shred!

Social Media Roundup: Autumnal Awesomeness

Greetings, Shredderz! By now you may know the drill: here’s a collection of some of my favorite vintage surfboard related social media posts from the past month or so. Keep scrolling for more.

I believe this photo was actually taken and published by Jeff Booth’s dad. True story: as a seventeen year old “grom” one my first surf experience was attending a Quiksilver surf camp in Montauk. Jeff Booth was the resident pro that day, and not only was he nice enough to push me into a wave, he politely declined to point out the fact that I was five to ten years older than all the other campers. Thanks Jeff — I owe you for that one! Anyway, peep that killer Eighties Stussy stick, complete with the NSSA lams. (The photo at the top of the page features Booth in a later ad for Stussy Surfboards.) I’m also trying to zoom in on the Stussy logo beneath the NSSA sticker, but can’t quite make out what it might be.

I love vintage Yater single fins. This one is classic: all clean lines and understated cool. This is a grown ass man’s surfboard.

Here’s a killer Town and Country twin fin. Make sure you scroll through all of the pics, including the beautiful glassed on fins with the T&C yin yang logo. Lots of people go nuts over the Eighties T&C boards with the crazy airbrushes — and I love them, too — but I think the slightly earlier T&C vintage boards are every bit as cool.

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Presents Expression Session 5: California Dreamin’

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Surfboards and Coffee held their latest event this month, and by all accounts, it was a doozy! They collected a bunch of boards with some amazing airbrushes. Shout out to all my Airbrush Aficionados out there!

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Flashing on empty secos with a stringerless….. early 1980s… i usually keep my trap shut but….I always hear guys talking about hulls these days talking about how they enjoyed them back in the day … when I’m thinking to myself wait a minute wernt you the kid on that stupid pointy down railed rocketship that just didn’t work in most surf or that ampy echo beach thingy… or whatever.. fact is for now at least my memory is pin perf…. I can spin about 20 names off like Greg, steve, mardy,Andy,bozo, wocheck,Tim kabota,ed Phillips, kp, McKnight , buck,wemple…dadams to name a few…. (sorry if I left u out, it’s early) i mean show me a shot of you riding one better yet how bout a shot of you just holding one?…. in the 70s…. naw… 80s nope…, 90s, maybe…. 2000s yeh probally… better late than never…. this post isn’t ment for you younger guys….. #hulls #liddlesurfboards #surfboards #glomontoanything 👣bongo archives photo: Kirk Putnam

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Now this is a vintage Liddle flex! Happy that Mr. Casagrande spares “younger guys” like me — I’m in my mid thirties, do I still count? — but regardless, respect to the hull trailblazers. And how dope is that board?

Last but not least we have a rare and beautiful Surfboards Haleiwa single fin shaped by none other than Mike Diffenderfer. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Diff board under the Surfboards Haleiwa label before, but this one is so cool. Love the resin pin lines, the bold red bird logo on the bottom, and the unmistakable outlines of a classic Seventies single fin.

T&C Surf Designs with Dane Kealoha: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s late on Thursday night, which can only mean one thing: that’s right, it’s time for Sagas of Shred, where we feature a different vintage surf ad every week. Honestly, this ad speaks for itself, so I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum. It originally ran in the January 1986 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol. 27, No. 1). I love how this T&C Surf Designs ad combines the cheerful neon aesthetic that dominated the Eighties, along with Kealoha’s brand of aggressive, powerful surfing. Kealoha’s boards look so sweet in this ad, too — I would love to see better pictures of both of them, along with some info around who shaped these sticks.

Thanks for reading and come back next week for another heaping helping of Sagas of Shred!