Social Media Roundup: Tom Curren Skip Frye Fish and More

Greetings, Shredderz! If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, I humbly ask you to check out my IG page, where I post a vintage surfboard daily. More to the point, here are some of my favorite Instagram posts from recent history:

Here’s a great post that shows some detailed pics of the famous Skip Frye fish that was surfed by both Tom Curren and Derek Hynd. Curiously enough, I can’t find a ton of definitive info on the board, which you would think would be pretty easy, considering it had two well-known owners and was featured in Andrew Kidman’s “Litmus.” The Frye fish is also not to be confused with the Tommy Peterson “Fireball Fish” that Curren famously rode in maxing Indo in the mid-Nineties. (There’s a long thread on the Surfer Forum that contains some additional context.) Finally, Kidman’s site has a pic that indicates there were two Skip Frye fish shaped for Curren and/or Hynd. Long story short, I might not have the entire story straight yet, but you can’t go wrong with a pic of Tom Curren holding a Skip Frye fish! Photo at the top of the page by Ted Grambeau and originally featured in Surfer Magazine.

Sometimes I can’t shake the feeling that Tom Morey, despite his status as one of surfing’s all-time innovators, is still underrated. That board looks insane even from a cursory glance, and when you realize it was made in 1969 that’s when the alarm bells start going off. It’s a gorgeous photgraph, too.

And while we’re on the subject of fishes, here’s a stunning board posted by Orange County surfer, artist and shaper Tyler Warren. I love the Yater-style logo, and the red color is just too clean and classy. If you dig into the comments there’s a bit of lively debate about the board’s origins, and it seems like the board could have been shaped by Rich Pavel, not Steve Lis. Regardless of the back story, I’d love to have that sled in my quiver.

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And then there were two. Lucky enough to score another Rainbow Hynson this week. The one with the opaque deck shaped in 1970, spray by Ogden and pin line by @tapedoff . Board #100 The other is also a 1970 Rainbow Hynson airbrush John Bredin board #126. Reached out to John Bredin and this is what he said about the board: Ahh, thanks Luke, yes that’s definitely one that Hynson and (Steve Moray possibly) shaped, I sprayed and Peter Pinline did the ink work on for Rainbow. The 7 chakras leading to expanded consciousness. Looks like it had the nose weight slot? Take a shot of it straight on for me if you can. Looks pretty faded which is unusual, they seemed to hold up pretty well. Have you shown it to John Frazier? He’s got several of the old ones too. Currently owns Rainbow label. I love getting the credits from Sam Cody and Peter St. Pierre when people ask about the old days. It all started in the Surfboards Hawaii factory. Takayama is still using the logo I did for Donald back in that factory. There were some really nice Casters done after the Rainbow era. I did some for Chris O’Rourk. There were some private ones that Hynson shaped and I sprayed for locals we knew that we ran through the Bahne shop that had no logos on them. A couple for a guy named Hopper with the infamous “black dot” crew’s logo. One of those found its way through Steve Clark to the surfboard history museum in Oceanside. Steve had to explain to them that the black dot WAS the logo. I tried to get into selling my work to the photoprint process but didn’t have much luck at it. I’ll attach one I did for that. Also check my site for more recent commercial work and fine art painting. I collected a few images of Rainbows I did when I came out there for the California Gold Surf Auction and they auctioned off one of Johnny Gail’s personal boards that had that sort of pinlining on it. #vintagesurfboard

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Finally, we have a pair of Mike Hynson Rainbow Surfboards sticks with some truly next level airbrushes. As far as psychedelic artwork goes, I’d have to say that Rainbow Surfboards probably takes the cake. The caption contains some nice history on the Rainbow label, too.

Tom Curren and Brad Gerlach for Rip Curl: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening, and I come bearing gifts. For those of you who have never read the blog before, welcome to Sagas of Shred. It’s a weekly series, published Thursday evenings (California time), where I scan a different vintage surf ad for every entry. Tonight we have some pretty familiar territory: a Rip Curl wetsuits ad from the Eighties featuring Tom Curren and Brad Gerlach. (Here’s an earlier Sagas of Shred entry that has a Rip Curl ad with Tom as a goofy foot; and here’s a shot of Gerr modeling a very similar wetsuit to the one in this post.)

I love that the ad features two style masters doing similar turns, but enough variation to allow for some contrast of their respective styles. Gerr’s wetsuit, of course, is either an eyesore or the coolest thing you’ve seen, depending on your perspective. I think it goes without saying that I’m in the latter camp. This Rip Curl ad originally ran in the March 1987 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 28, No 3). The photo of Tom Curren was taken by Jeff Hornbaker, and the photo of Gerlach was taken by Sonny Miller (RIP).

As always, thanks for checking out the blog and visit again next Thursday for another peek into some surf ads from an earlier time.

Tom Curren Channel Islands Ad

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, it is late on Thursday evening, California time, which can only mean an incoming post about a vintage surf ad, courtesy of Sagas of Shred. This time around we have another tried and true classic: a Tom Curren Channel Islands Surfboards ad congratulating him on his third world title.

What’s interesting about this ad is the fact is the line about Tom Curren surfing his way to a title on “a laser generated Al Merrick shape.” I’m wondering if this isn’t a reference to an early version of a shaping machine. While Channel Islands employed a number of ghost shapers for years to meet demand, it would later become one of the largest surfboard manufacturers in the world, thanks to the use of shaping machines. I can’t say for sure whether this Tom Curren Channel Islands ad is specifically referencing that shift, but either way, it’s an interesting mention.

Tom Curren Pipeline Art Brewer 1990 via Surfline.png
Curren cranking off the bottom. I’m almost certain this is the same board as the one pictured in the ad at the top of the page, which I’m guessing was taken at the 1990 Pipe Masters. Photo by the peerless Art Brewer and via Surfline.com

A few years back Surfline published a post wishing Curren a happy fiftieth birthday, and it contained the Art Brewer photo you see above. I’m almost certain this is the same board from the Tom Curren Channel Islands ad featured at the top of the page. You’ll notice the same Marui singlet, and I can only guess this came from the Pipe Masters during 1990. I’m not sure what advantages one gets from riding a “laser generated” surfboard, but it seems to work good enough for one of the greatest surfers ever at the sport’s single most iconic spot.

As always, thanks for checking out Sagas of Shred, and stop on by next Thursday evening for yet another vintage surf ad.

Rip Curl Tom Curren: Sagas of Shred

First of all, Shredderz, I’d like to offer a sincere apology. I know that many of you — perhaps even more than ten! — come to this blog on Thursday nights for a lighthearted look at vintage surf advertisements as part of the Sagas of Shred series. And while we have a fresh ad to share, I’m afraid this is a very serious matter. Look closely at the Rip Curl Tom Curren ad above.

Sharp eyed readers might notice that Rip Curl have misspelled Tom Curren’s name. I can’t say I’m thrilled about that — I mean, it’s not like Curren is the greatest surfer in California history, the state that helped shape surf culture as we know it — but whatever, it’s just a single letter.

No, the line in the sand is the fact that the Rip Curl ad pictured above depicts Tom Curren as a goofy foot.

I’m sorry. But I find this extremely offensive.

Really, Rip Curl? Did Curren spend his formative years dissecting Rincon on his backhand, like an earlier version of Bobby Martinez? Had I misremembered Curren’s indelible cutback at perfect Backdoor on a logo-less board all this time?

I can’t even focus on the hilarious copy — the earnest, corny “Rip Curl Does it Vest!” tagline, or the fact the product was actually named Aggrolite — or even the presence of a young Danny Kwock, alongside East Coast legend Wes Laine. I was, however, able to put my indignation aside long enough to note that Laine is toting a sweet-looking Canyon thruster, which was likely shaped by Rusty Preisendorfer.

Surfer Magazine Cover August 1983 Vol 24 No 8.jpg
Cover for the magazine in which the Rip Curl Tom Curren ad originally ran. Photo via Surfer Magazine

The ironic thing is the cover of the magazine in which the ad originally rad — August 1983, Vol 24 No 8 — features Curren, too!

The only acceptable explanation here is that Curren simply surfed this wave switch and Rip Curl neglected to mention it. Otherwise, I’m afraid that running a wetsuit ad with Curren as a goofy foot is like marketing “Terminator 2” as a romantic comedy. I like to think of myself as a pretty laid-back guy, but a good thirty five years after this ad originally ran in Surfer Magazine, I’m now considering a full-blown boycott to express my outrage over this Rip Curl Tom Curren ad.

As always, please visit us again next Thursday night, where we will have another vintage surf advertisement. Hopefully next week’s entry in Sagas of Shred manages to do justice to one of the greatest surfers of all time.

 

Tom Curren, Ocean Pacific, and Channel Islands Surfboards: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s vintage surf ad — part of the Sagas of Shred series — features the Eighties surf scene’s version of peanut butter and jelly: Tom Curren and Channel Islands Surfboards. Never mind that the ad is technically an OP ad. I still look back fondly on Ocean Pacific’s run as one of the surfwear heavyweights, but I think we can all agree that the real magic is the union between Tom Curren and CI mastermind Al Merrick.

Now, the real question is this: is the board Curren is holding none other than the legendary Red Beauty? Red Beauty was the name of the Al Merrick-shaped thruster Curren surfed to victory in the 1984 OP Pro. The Red Beauty model is still available via Channel Islands’ website today.

To be honest, I’m not sure. I doubt the board in the ad is the Red Beauty. First of all, the ran ad in the February 1986 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol. 27, No. 2), which means the photo was likely taken sometime in late 1985. This would date the ad to a good year plus after the 1984 OP Pro.

I also found the below picture online. You can clearly see the board Curren surfing below is very different from the one he was in the ad (the below picture doesn’t have the Tom Curren logo, for example), yet it has the same red rails. Either way, I think the red rails were a very common design for many of Curren’s boards over the years.

Tom Curren Channel Islands.jpg
Curren about to launch into another beautiful bottom turn.

The other thing I love about the ad is the fact Curren is referred to as Tommy Curren. It seems like the Tommy name was favored by a number of Santa Barbara locals who grew up with Curren, and you’ll still see it pop up from time to time.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post, and we’ll have another vintage surf ad for you next Thursday night as the Sagas of Shred train continues to chug along!

 

Social Media Roundup: RIP Charlie Bunger

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, here are some of my favorite social media posts I have seen over the past month. Keep scrolling for more.

I hate to start off with one of my own posts, but this time it’s important. Sadly, Charlie Bunger, one of the true OGs of the New York surf scene, passed away earlier this month. The only reason I included my own post is, well, it’s my favorite photo of a Bunger surfboard. RIP to Mr Bunger and thoughts and prayers to all his family and friends.

If, like me, you have an obsession with both Skip Frye boards and their opaque pricing, you’ll also enjoy the post above from Bird’s Surf Shed. (Roperized, for those who are unfamiliar, means the board was fixed up by San Diego local Joe Roper, who runs one of the better-known repair shops in town.) The Modern Machine is a G&S model, not a Skip outline, which Joel Tudor referenced in another recent Instagram post. Anyway, the G&S / Skip Frye board was listed for $1,200, which seems extremely fair to me.

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First gun I ever shaped, in Sumer of 1988. …30 years ago. @renoabellira was in San Clemente, building some boards @herbiefletcher SurfShop ( now @catalyst_sc ) that summer, where I worked. He gave me a little help with the outline and rocker. I took it to Hawaii (on my first trip ever) and surfed fun sized #SunsetBeach…as well as the best #Laniakea I’ve still ever seen to this day. I ran out of money and sold it to a used board surf shop in Honolulu. In 2005, on Hawaiian holiday with my family, I found it sitting in the used racks @ #SurfandSea SurfShop, Haleiwa ( remember that @crawford.eddie ! ). Ofcourse I bought it, and brought it back. Here it is now, sitting in the lam room, @catalyst_sc , exactly where is was first built. Home 🏠. #PacificCoastFiberglass #Suds #MickyT @astrodeck

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Is this pushing the limits of vintage? Maybe. Do I care? Not one bit. I hardly ever write about high performance thrusters — mostly because I can’t surf them! — but I am an unabashed fan of Matt Biolos and his Lost Surfboards label. I’ve never met the dude but he seems knowledgeable without being the least bit pretentious. Anyway, this board has some nice history, as it not only involves Mayhem, but also Reno Abellira and Herbie Fletcher.

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Surfed out Al looking at his watch, futility trying to convince Shaun that he needs to get back to the shaping room. Shaun almost smirking, “as if.” Low tide and firing. 5 minutes later Shaun and the professor are walking back up the point for another go. • These early 80’s session, “Shaun at the Con” with Al are legendary. Al has often cited these surfs as some of his most cherished surfing memories. The presence of Shaun, his board, his surfing were all out of place, not Rincon's status quo. This one seemingly basic image of two guys talking, of cobblestones and sticks, red single fins, of black wetsuits and mustaches at the foot of the cove where the trail empties out, this one simple image represents a relationship and the flash point of all that was to come. • #almerrick #shauntomson #rincon #twinfin #santabarbara #surfinglife #surfphotography #cisurfboards @cisurfboards @cisurfboards_sbstore @oneill #adayatthebeach #cobblestone #mustache #allday @cisurfboardssantamonica @cisurfboards_europe @cisurfboards_japan @cisurfboards_africa @cisurfboards_oz

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Jimmy Metyko is a photographer who has been sharing some real gems on Instagram lately. I urge you to give him a follow. He has chronicled some of the great moments in California surf history, with a particular focus on Santa Barbara and legends like Tom Curren and Al Merrick.

Finally, Pat Rawson is well worth the follow. Despite having a resume that any shaper would envy, Rawson is still going strong. He shares a lot of posts on his modern shapes and the details behind the boards, rooted in his deep knowledge of the craft.

Eighties Ocean Pacific Ad featuring Tom Curren: Sagas of Shred

Before we start, I’d like to make one thing clear: this might be a free country, but Shred Sledz is a blog that will not tolerate any slander of Tom Curren whatsoever. This is non-negotiable.

That said…I’d like to know who at OP in the Eighties thought it would be a good idea to cast Curren as a would-be heartthrob for these advertisements. Again, in case the previous paragraph wasn’t clear, the blame is being laid squarely at the feet of the once-ubiquitous surf brand, and not with the most stylish regular foot of all time.

But this is marketing malpractice! Why is the picture of Curren gazing off into the distance approximately eight times the size of him ripping on a signature Channel Islands Al Merrick stick?

And while I’d like to be outraged by the Ocean Pacific ad featured above…at the end of the day, I can’t bring myself to truly dislike it, no matter how ridiculous the photoshoot might be. In fact, if anyone knows where I could find a version of the shirt Curren is rocking in the ad, I’d definitely be interested (though I don’t think I’m capable of actually pulling it off).

As a palate cleanser, please enjoy Tom Curren’s first-ever wave he rode at Jeffreys Bay. Curren famously refused to visit South Africa for years, due to his objections to Apartheid. This footage was shot by the legendary Sonny Miller. Fast forward to the 1:43 mark to see some truly virtuoso level surfing:

As always, thank you for reading, and check back next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup: #Fryeday Edition (September 1)

Greetings, Shredderz! Here to take you into the weekend is a celebration of one of California’s finest board builders, one Harry “Skip” Frye. Don’t forget to check out the latest issue of The Surfer’s Journal for a comprehensive look at Skip’s personal quiver. In the meantime, here are some social media selections showing off Skip’s shapes…

I wrote about this Skip Frye single fin when it was posted on Craigslist…and I’m still kicking myself for not buying it! This is the only Frye I have seen with a Select Surf Shop laminate, and it’s got a sick little wing pin outline to boot. I’m glad that it found a good home with Buggs, who runs Surfboard Line. The board has been fixed up and looks better than ever. Make sure you scroll through all the pictures!

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A palm reflection off two Skip Frye's

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Taylor Knox owes his long career to his powerful rail surfing. It’s difficult to imagine him laying these gliders into his patented spray-chucking carves, but if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Taylor Knox! I’m just stoked to see this unexpected but rad union between two opposite ends of the famously varied spectrum that is San Diego surfing. Don’t hold your breath for Joel Tudor to bust out a high performance thruster, though…

I don’t know a word of Japanese, but I do know how to recognize an incredible quiver when I see one…

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Holy Grail. Art and shape by Skip Frye.

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This board is a bit of a mystery, but don’t skip over it because of the abstract picture! Skip Frye shaped this board for use at Jeffrey’s Bay, and it ended up being ridden by Derek Hynd (and I believe Tom Curren, too). You can read more about the board and the session in Andrew Kidman’s forthcoming Beyond Litmus book.

A young Skip Frye holding an early Gordon & Smith board. Interesting to note Skip’s board doesn’t have any Frye logos on it — it must pre-date his signature models for the brand.

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 30)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you are all having fantastic weekends. Without any further ado, here’s a selection of social media posts that have recently caught my eye.

Christian Fletcher’s signature model is the coolest. Raddest. Most-shredding-est. Choose whatever superlative you prefer; I just can’t get enough of these things.

Hit the “Continue Reading” link below for some more vintage surfboard goodness…

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Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 23)

Greetings, Shredderz! Here are some interesting vintage surf posts I’ve stumbled across in my recent internet travels.

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#toughchoice

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Island Trader Surf Shop is a great shop in Stuart, Florida that happens to sell some pretty rad vintage boards. They don’t update their blog frequently, but when they do, there are some great gems. (I’m partial to this Harbour Rapier and this transitional Hobie board with a tiger stripe spray.) Back to the shot above: this looks like an old Weber Surfboads ad. I love the floral print inlays on the decks, and the “WEBER TEAM 67 PERFORMER” is a sweet looking board that must have been made for team riders back in the day.

Hit the link below for some more selections…

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