Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton Board by Tom Eberly

Greetings, Shredderz! Are you ready for a heaping helping of Eighties neon, brought to you by Hot Stuff, one of the finest Aussie surfboard labels of yesteryear. First and foremost, shout out to Steve, who is by far this humble blog’s most prolific source in terms of reader submissions. Steve picked up this incredible stick along his board collecting journey and was generous enough to share these pics. Anyway, pictured below is a Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton model, shaped by Tom Eberly. Shockingly, Eberly doesn’t have his own Encyclopedia of Surfing entry, but he was part of the second wave of Lightning Bolt shapers, behind names like Lopez et al.

First of all, how gorgeous is this board?! The rainbow gradient airbrushes on the deck and the bottom are absolutely ridiculous. I’m stunned the board has remained in such great condition. Even the glass-on fins look like they’re still solidly fixed on.

Hot Stuff is an Aussie brand founded by Paul Hallas and originally based out of Currumbin on the Gold Coast. The brand might be best remembered for its association with Rabbit Bartholomew, who won a world title surfing  Many talented shapers have passed through Hot Stuff’s halls, such as channel bottom maestro Al Byrne (RIP), Neal Purchase Senior, Eberly and even a young Bob Hurley. The board featured here was almost certainly shaped in the US, given Eberly’s involvement. Another giveaway is the pair of laminates on the tail — the Clark Foam logo on the left and the West Coast Glassing logo on the right. Curiously, there’s a Quality Glassing devil logo, which I believe is an Australian glass shop. See here for an absolute cracker of an Al Byrne-shaped Hot Stuff stick with a Quality Glassing logo.

Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton 1.jpg

Kong, of course, refers to power surfer Gary Elkerton, and it’s gotta be one of the greatest nicknames in surfing history. Kong helped bring Al Byrne’s famous six channel boards to life in pumping surf on his way to three runner up finishes on the world tour, and some virtuoso performances at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. Byrne shaped for Hot Stuff before founding Byrning Spears, until his untimely passing a few years ago. The Hot Stuff Kong model, however, appears to have been made by other shapers for wider release. I can’t say who shaped the Australian Hot Stuff Kong boards, but Eberly and Bob Hurley helped shape the ones that appeared Stateside.

Unsurprisingly, Board Collector has posted some great examples of Hot Stuff Kong models. Here’s one with Byrne’s signature channel bottom design, although it’s unclear if Al shaped it himself. Board Collector has another example of an Eberly shaped Hot Stuff Kong board, which must have been shaped around the same time. Finally, There’s another post with an interesting selection of Hot Stuff sticks, including some Rabbit / Al Byrne collaborations.

Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton Vintage Surf France 3.JPG

I was able to find another bitchin’ example of an Eighties Hot Stuff Kong board, this time on a website called Vintage Surf France. The French board also sports an amazing looking channel bottom, but again, I’m not sure whether it was shaped by Al, or if it was done by someone else. It’s in such great condition I’m wondering if it might be a newer reissue, although the traction pad looks like an older one.

Finally, it’s worth following Elkerton on his Facebook page. He doesn’t post all the time but there are some gems there, including an AB-shaped channel bottom that Kong credits for his contest wins at Sunset. It’s actually a Byrning Spears board, not a Hot Stuff, but still has the Kong logo. I’m guessing it was shaped shortly after Byrne left Hot Stuff to strike out on his own. At the bottom you can see an amazing shot of Rabbit and Kong both toting some awesome-looking Hot Stuff shapes (if you look closely you’ll see the AB logo peeking out on Kong’s board).

Once again I’d like to thank Steve for reaching out with pics of this killer board. If you have something similar and you’d like to see it featured here, please do let me know.

Lightning Bolt and Tom Eberly

You can’t have a vintage surfboard blog without talking about the ne plus ultra of old school surfboard labels. Yup, you guessed it – Lightning Bolt, baby! What is there to say about the marque that hasn’t already been said? I know I’ve used the word “iconic” in previous posts, but now that I’m writing about the Bolt, I kind of wish I could have that back. Lightning Bolt is what many of us associate with old school surfing, consciously or not. Gerry Lopez surfing at Pipeline on big fast single-fins, doing his thing…

To any surfboard collector, Lightning Bolt is also about a brand that has almost buckled under the weight of its significance. There are many more imitators than there are the real deal, which is a shame. Is it the Shelby Cobra of surfboards – an instantly recognizable silhouette whose insides likely do not live up to the infamy of the design?

Anyway, enough with the philosophizing. What we have here is a Bolt, alright, although it isn’t the Gerry Lopez hand shape that most of us dream of finding at a random garage sale for $50 and smile. It’s shaped by Tom Eberly, one of the many shapers to have passed through the halls of Lightning Bolt. Eberly is certainly a well-regarded shaper in his own right, and one of the few to have shaped the boards in Hawaii, where the brand was born. Stoked N Board – I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, this is a must-read resource if you’re at all interested in surfboards – lists Eberly as having shaped for the label between 1970 and 1986, so the board is likely somewhere in that range. The Clark Foam logo at the tail is a nice little touch, given that the legendary blank supplier went from near-monopoly to total disappearance faster than any other company in the history of the surf industry.

It’s available on Craigslist in Orange County, and the price is a predictably whopping $1200. Sadly, I’m better at waxing nostalgic about surfboards shaped before I was born than assessing fair prices, but my first stab is to say this isn’t completely insane for a good condition board from one of the better known Bolt shapers. It also comes with a nice-looking rainbow fin, as you can see in the last post.