Town & Country Dane Kealoha Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Pictured above is an absolutely classic advertisement from perhaps the greatest Hawaiian surf brand ever: Town & Country Surf Designs. I ran an old T&C Surf Designs ad from 1979 in an earlier installment of Sagas of Shred, which you can see here.  I can say, however, that the T&C ad above, which appeared in Surfer Magazine in 1982, is way better. The gentleman on the far right holding the board is none other than Hawaiian powerhouse Dane Kealoha, who is still one of the most memorable brand ambassadors in Town & Country’s long and storied history.

While much is made of Kealoha’s powerful style, his boards were just as eye-catching. Dane Kealoha rode for Town & Country for many years. Kealoha’s career started in the late 1970s, when he was still a teenager, and his stint on tour ended in 1983 at the early age of 25 due to some unfortunate behind the scenes political maneuvering. (Check out the EoS entry for Dane Kealoha for more info, and please subscribe if you don’t already!)

The timing of Kealoha’s career means that he can be seen riding a wide variety of boards, matching the changes in surfboard design that happened between the 1970s and the dawn of the thruster age. While everyone loves the outrageous spray jobs on 80s thrusters (more on that below), I love seeing shots of Dane surfing beefy-looking 70s single fins.

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Pretty sure this is a single fin, but Kealoha’s insistence on burying the rail makes it a little difficult to tell. Photo via Surf Europe Mag; photo is by Dan Merkel / A Frame

And as you can see in the advertisement featured at the top of the page, Kealoha also surfed twin fins during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Buggs of Surfboardline.com has an amazing example of a T&C Surf Designs twin fin Dane Kealoha model, which you can check out here.

Of course, no post on Town & Country and Dane Kealoha would be complete without a mention of the thrusters he surfed during the 1980s. Below is a pretty classic example of a T&C Surf Designs board with an outrageous color scheme and spray job.

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Dane Kealoha, putting it on a rail at Sunset Beach in 1985. Photo is by Aaron Lloyd and I found the picture via the Encyclopedia of Surfing. The board is almost certainly a thruster.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at some of the highlights from the Town & Country / Dane Kealoha years. As always, check in next week for more Sagas of Shred, and thanks for reading.

T&C Surf Designs Ad from 1979

Greetings, Shredderz! Yes, it is Thursday. Yes, I have another excellent vintage surf ad to share with you all! This humble little T&C Surf Designs promo comes from an issue of Surfer Magazine originally published in 1979. As you can see from the presence of numerous other brands — Rip Curl, Body Glove, Clark Foam, Quiksilver and O’Neill, among others — the ad seems to come from a time when T&C was most widely known as a surf shop, rather than one of the brands that came to define the aesthetic of the 1980s. And while Craig Sugihara founded T&C Surf Designs in 1971 as a retail operation, for most T&C fans, the brand’s roots lie in its impressive stable of shapers and surfers. The names that appear on the ad are represent some of the biggest names in modern Hawaiian surfing history.

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T&C Surf Designs founder Craig Sugihara in front of his first shop. Pic comes from the excellent history of T&C that can be found on its website. I’m not sure when T&C dropped the ‘e’ in Towne, but this is an incredible old picture.

Note that Larry Bertlemann‘s name is actually misspelled on the advertisement. Glenn Minami and Dennis Pang are two extremely well-regarded Hawaiian shapers who are still mowing foam today.

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A T&C Surf Designs 1970s or early 1980s twin fin that was sold on eBay a few months back. Pic via the eBay listing.

The two names that stand out on the ad are the mention of “Dane Kealoha Designs.” As far as I know, Kealoha did not actually shape boards, unlike the other names on the list. I’m assuming that the mention of “Dane Kealoha Designs” in the advertisement was meant to capitalize on Kealoha’s status as one of the top Hawaiian pros of the time.

The other mention that took me by surprise was that of Barry Kanaiaupuni. Kanaiaupuni, of course, is one of the most famous surfer / shapers ever to grace the shores of Hawaii. BK is probably best known for his stint at Lightning Bolt, but he had a signature model for Rick Surfboards, and also shaped for Surf Line Hawaii.

I have written before about Seventies boards made by California shapers who are best known for their work in the Eighties — think of people like Lance Collins at Wave Tools, Shawn Stussy’s days at Russell Surfboards, and Peter Schroff. In those cases I have found that boards shaped before the Echo Beach craze could often be found at much cheaper prices than their Eighties counterparts. I don’t know if that theory necessarily applies to Hawaiian boards made in the 1970s. There aren’t very many T&C Surf Designs single fins that pop up for sale, and when they do, my sense is that they tend to get snapped up pretty quickly. If I get some better data on the subject, I’ll be sure to write a more in-depth post. (And if you have any sweet Seventies T&C Surf Designs boards, hit me up!).

I hope you enjoyed this look at some T&C Surf Designs goodness from the late 1970s. Make sure you tune in next week for more Sagas of Shred!