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!

A palm reflection off two Skip Frye's

A post shared by taylor_knox (@taylor_knox) on

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…

Holy Grail. Art and shape by Skip Frye.

A post shared by Val Dusty 69mm (@beyond_litmus) on

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 post shared by James Llewelyn (@lyttlestreet) on

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…

Continue reading “Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 30)”

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.

#toughchoice

A post shared by Island Trader (@islandtradersurfshop) on

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…

Continue reading “Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (April 23)”

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (3/30)

Greetings, Shredderz! As always, see below for my hand picked selections of some high quality social media.

I’ve been writing about Morey Pope a bit lately, and here’s an incredible find from Buggs, who has one of the dopest surfboard collections known to mankind, and runs SurfboardLine in his free time. This is a balsa Morey Pope board from what looks to be 1966 — see the comments for some more knowledgeable people chiming in with info on this beaut.

My hero renny

A post shared by Joel_tudor (@joeljitsu) on

Joel Tudor has been posting a lot of quality vintage content on his Instagram lately. This is a picture of Renny Yater. I’d guess late 1950s or early 1960s, but don’t quote me on that. Either way, it is one classic picture of one classic dude (and posted by another!)

Continue reading “Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (3/30)”

Classic Combo: Tom Curren & Channel Islands

Is there a more perfect pairing than Tom Curren and Al Merrick? (And while I am flattered by all the suggestions from faithful readers that yours truly and Gisele Bundchen would also make a fantastic combo, I’d like to reiterate that Mrs. Shred Sledz vehemently disagrees.)

Curren and Merrick both hail from the Santa Barbara area. Curren, of course, is one of the most celebrated surfers ever. While he has a tidy three world titles to his name, Curren’s popularity has more to do with his unhurried, smooth style, which is still mentioned as the gold standard for regularfoots. His mystique doesn’t hurt, either, as Curren has been content to disappear from pro surfing’s SoCal / Hawaii bubble and chase down mysto waves on obscure equipment.

Likewise, Merrick is one of the most distinguished shapers in surf history. He has made boards for just about every big name California pro you could think of, and during Kelly Slater’s run in the 90s and the 2000s, Merrick was responsible for putting boards under his feet. Unsurprisingly, Merrick’s Channel Islands brand became a behemoth (it’s now owned by Burton Snowboards), and it continues to boast a roster of top pros, although it seems like the shaping torch has been passed to his son, Britt Merrick.

What we have here, via Craigslist in the SF Bay Area, is a Tom Curren signature board. It doesn’t look like an Al Merrick handshape – boards that Al personally shaped have his signature on the stringer, along with the fish logo, like this one – but based on the “Max” signature on the stringer, and this Swaylocks thread, I’d wager this board is shaped by Max McDonald. (Max doesn’t show up as a shaper on Stoked-n-Board’s page for Channel Islands, but the explanation in the Swaylocks thread makes a lot of sense to me.)

I’d guess this board is from sometime in the mid- to late-80s, maybe even the 90s. There are a few dings here and there, but overall it looks like it’s entirely original and in pretty good shape. There might be some damage on one of the glass-on fins, which is worth checking out in further detail. I gotta say I absolutely love the logos, even though it’s a bit overboard and excessive. The first board Shred Sledz’s Editor-in-Chief ever bought was a Channel Islands step-up, as a wide-eyed 16 year old grommet, and the brand has remained near and dear to my heart ever since.

Best of all this board is only going for $250. I remain stunned at how cheap you can get vintage Channel Islands boards – even Merrick handshapes – nowadays. I can’t imagine these boards will remain affordable for long, especially since Al doesn’t seem to shape anymore, even for his team riders. I think this is such a rad board at a phenomenal price.

Check out the board here.