Harbour Surfboards Spherical Revolver

Greetings, Shredderz! I hope this post finds you all well. Today’s post features a surfboard I have long been fascinated with: the Harbour Spherical Revolver. The Spherical Revolver was invented in 1969, according to Harbour’s website. Harbour continues to produce the board today, at lengths ranging from 6’10” to 8″. While the Spherical Revolver has been updated since its genesis in the Transition Era, the board’s MO remains the same: it is intended as a shorter board for longboarders who still want paddling power, but are looking for something a little more maneuverable.

Rich Harbour is California surf royalty, and his vintage boards are very collectible. As is far too frequent when it comes to surfboards, though, it can be hard to find concrete information on prices and history. Even Harbour’s website doesn’t have any details on the history of the Spherical Revolver, other than its creation date. Stoked-n-Board, shockingly, doesn’t even mention the model by name.

Harbour Spherical Revolver Ad 1.jpg
Harbour Surfboards ad for the Spherical Revolver in Surfer Magazine (Vol. 10 Number 6, January 1969). Pic via Harbour Surfboards

As you can see in the advertisement above, the Spherical Revolver was based off an experimental design that was made in collaboration with Mark Martinson. (Side note: Harbour Surfboards has a webpage dedicated to their old ads and it is a must-visit.) Martinson was an early pro who won a bunch of surf contests in the 1960s, and was part of the Harbour Surfboards stable. Martinson continues to shape for Firewire Surfboards today, after stints working as both a commercial fisherman and then shaping for Robert August’s label.

Unfortunately, that is where the trail goes cold. I have no clear information on when the Spherical Revolver was produced, and what specific changes were made to the board between its introduction and its current iteration. It’s a shame, as while many Transition Era boards are derided as being impractical and tough to actually surf, the Spherical Revolver endures today. If you have more info, please drop me a line!

It’s not all bad news, though, as you can still find Spherical Revolvers that pop up for sale on Craigslist and eBay these days. There’s currently one up for grabs in San Diego, California on Cragislist. You can find a link to the board here. Pics below via the Craigslist posting.

The board is 8’1″ and the asking price is $650. I’m reluctant to weigh in on the price, as I have been unable to find any comparisons from boards sold at auction, etc. However, the board above was definitely produced in the late 1960s or so. The first thing you’ll recognize is the awesome, slightly psychedelic logo:

Harbour Spherical Revolver 8'1 7
Close up of the logo on the Craigslist board. Pic via the original listing.

Here’s a Hang Ten ad from Surfer Magazine in 1969 featuring Mark Martinson. You’ll notice he has a Spherical Revolver under his arm in the photo, and the logo is identical to the Craigslist board currently for sale.

Harbour Spherical Revolver Mark Martinson Hang Ten Ad
Mark Martinson for Hang Ten. Pic via Harbour Surfboards

One quick note about the board and its logo: in the close-up shot of the board’s logo, you’ll notice there is a small serial number written horizontally (#6670). Nowadays, Rich Harbour signs his hand-shaped boards very clearly. However, I believe this was not the case early on in Harbour’s history. There are other examples of Harbour hand-shaped boards with similar serial number formatting. Kagavi.com interviewed Harbour a few years ago and took a picture of a very collectible 1968 Trestle Special that was hanging from the rafters of the Harbour shop. The Trestle Special was shaped in 1968 and it has serial number #4032. In the case of the Spherical Revolver that is listed for sale, I do not know whether this board was shaped by Rich himself. The Trestle Special documented by Kagavi indicates that there are Harbour handshapes that do not have a signature, but have numbers written horizontally across the stringer.

Finally, the Spherical Revolver for sale on Craigslist comes with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin and the corresponding fin box. This is as clear a sign as any that the board was made in the 1960s, back when these Tom Morey-designed fin boxes were popular.

Harbour Spherical Revolver 8'1" 4.jpg
According to the seller, this is the original W.A.V.E. Set fin that came with the board. Pic via Craigslist

It’s too bad there isn’t a definitive history of the Spherical Revolver that is available to fans of Rich Harbour and his surfboards. In the meantime, check out the board that’s for sale listed here.

Con Surfboards CC Rider: A Shred Sledz Deep Dive

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s Deep Dive focuses on perhaps my favorite old-school surfboard brand ever: Con Surfboards. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the Con Surfboards logo is a gorgeous piece of graphic design. It’s classy and timeless, with just the right amount of color to make it pop. Today’s post examines a model that is near and dear to my own East Coast roots: the Con Surfboards CC Rider. The CC Rider is named after famed East Coast surfer Claude Codgen. Before one Robert Kelly Slater came along, Codgen was Cocoa Beach’s most famous surfing export who became a well-known pro in the 1960s. In 1966, Codgen had the honor of representing the East Coast at the World Surfing Championship held in San Diego. That same year, Codgen joined forces with Con Surfboards, which released his signature CC Rider model.

Claude Codgen & Greg Noll.jpg
A young Claude Codgen on left, Greg “Da Bull” Noll on the right. Looks like Codgen is holding a Con Surfboards CC Rider model, but Da Bull’s hand is in the way! Pic taken by Roger Scruggs, via East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame

Despite Con Surfboards’ status as a cult classic brand, and Codgen’s legacy as one of the first true East Coast pros, there isn’t a whole lot of information online about the Con Surfboards CC Rider model. This post is an attempt to explore the history of the CC Rider, and present pictures of the various iterations of Claude Codgen’s signature model. This post is by no means definitive, as I have done my best to cobble together the various bits of information available online. As always, if anyone has any better info on the Con Surfboards CC Rider, do not hesitate to drop me a line.

 

Con Surfboards CC Rider

The CC Rider was produced starting in 1966. I believe it was only produced for a handful of years, as Stoked-n-Board indicates that Sunshine Surfboards, Codgen’s own brand, was founded in 1970. Sunshine continues to produce the CC Rider model, and Codgen is still shaping today.

Sunshine Surfboards CC Rider Claude Codgen Logo.jpg
This is an example of the later Sunshine Surfboards CC Rider (here referred to as the “Claude Codgen Model.”)

According to a thread on Swaylocks, Bill Shrosbree was one of the early shapers responsible for making many of the early Con Surfboards CC Rider boards. I’m not sure whether or not this is true. Even though Codgen now shapes boards under the Sunshine label, I am under the impression that he was not responsible for shaping the various CC Rider models.

See below for an example of what I believe to be the most basic version of the Con Surfboards CC Rider. These pictures are via a Craigslist listing for a board from a few months ago.

Note the telltale black label on the board’s deck. Here’s another picture of a similar board, via the Long Island Surfing Museum, featuring Charlie Bunger’s personal collection of 1960s Con Surfboards. The board on the far right looks almost identical to the one posted above: same black label on the deck, and then the tapered yellow high-density foam stringer.

Con Longboards at Long Island Surfing Museum.jpg
The CC Rider model can be seen at the far right. Note the “CC Rider” lam at the top right and the black laminate towards the tail. I believe the boards that are second from left and fourth from left are CC Rider pintail models. Pic via Long Island Surfing Museum.

 

At some point it appears Con Surfboards expanded its CC Rider portfolio, and released a bunch of variants. Here is an old Con Surfboards ad detailing the different CC Rider variants.

Con Surfboards CC Rider Ad.png
Old Con Surfboards ad showing variants on the CC Rider: CC Lightweight, V-Wedge Bottom, and CC Pintail

 

Con Surfboards CC Rider Lightweight

The main distinction between the standard CC Rider and the Lightweight variant is unclear, other than the different text that appears on the laminates. In other words, I believe the CC Rider Lightweight model has a “Lightweight Model” added to the logo, which you can see in the first picture. I imagine the construction of the board was likely changed as well, but I can’t say for sure. Otherwise, the high-density foam stringer looks the same as the standard CC Rider, and the board appears to have the same volan patch as seen in the example in the ad above. Pics via an old Craigslist posting.

 

Con Surfboards CC Rider V-Wedge Bottom

Vee bottom boards were very popular in the late 1960s, and to my surprise, I learned that Con Surfboards produced one as well. I love the branding of this board, including the hand flashing the peace sign in the ad above. The only example I have found of a CC Rider V-Wedge Bottom comes via ChubbySurf.com and their Pinterest account. This is a pretty rare variant, and I have yet to see one up for sale. Check out the neat rainbow CC Rider logo on the bottom. No dimensions were listed.

Con Surfboards CC Rider V-Wedge2
Con Surfboards CC Rider V-Wedge Bottom. You don’t see these too often! Pic via ChubbySurf

 

Con Surfboards CC Rider Pintail Lightweight

I have been able to find two versions of what I believe are CC Pintails, but there are a few details worth noting. First, neither of these boards bears a straight up “CC Pintail” laminate. The laminates on both boards read “CC Rider Lightweight.” I consider both of these boards CC Pintails, however, because their silhouettes are identical to the “CC Pintail” pictured in the ad above.

First is an CC Pintail Lightweight that was recently listed for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. This board is a trip, starting with the two-tone high-density tapered stringer. The board was listed at 9’10”, and according to the seller, it’s circa 1968.

 

Island Trader Surf Shop is a rad Florida-based shop that features a great collection of vintage boards. They have an example of another Con Surfboards CC Rider Pintail Lightweight, and you can find it here. I have reproduced some of the pics below. It also has the same two-tone high-density stringer, black pinline design, and logo placement. In addition to boasting an elaborate fabric inlay, the Island Trader board is considerably shorter than the orange board, measuring in at only 8’6″.

 

Con Surfboards CC Rider Minipin Lightweight

Finally, Con Surfboards also produced as CC Rider Minipin. This variant does not appear in the ad above, alongside the Lightweight, the V-Wedge Bottom, and the Pintail. I am guessing it is a later board — late 1960s? –but I’m not certain. There are three examples I have seen, the first being a 7’6″ CC Minipin Lightweight with a blue (probably re-done) bottom. This board was posted for sale on eBay a little while ago. According to the original listing, the board was produced in 1969, supporting the theory that this is a later-era CC Rider model. It certainly has the funky outline of a Transition Era board from the late 1960s, with the wide point pushed pretty far back towards the tail.

 

There’s another CC Minipin Lightweight that is currently for sale on eBay. You can find a link to the board here. This one measures in at 8’6″, a full foot longer than the blue bottom example above. There’s also a small difference in laminates: this board has one logo reading “CC Minipin Lightweight”, whereas the blue bottom board has its CC Minipin and Lightweight laminates located on separate parts of the board. The example below also has a bitchin’ Con Surfboards logo on the bottom near the nose (see last photo). Pics below via the eBay listing.

 

Finally, there is another Swaylocks thread with an extremely clean example of a CC Minipin, complete with its original fin. I have reproduced the pictures below. In the thread, well-regarded shaper Bill Thrailkill weighs in on the board. He identifies the fin as being a rare first generation Fins Unlimited fin, and based on this, he estimates the CC Minipin below was likely shaped in late 1967 or 1968.

 

Those are all the examples of Con Surfboards CC Rider models that I have been able to find. Drop Claude Codgen a line at the Sunshine Surfboards Facebook Page; it seems like he is still stoked on surfing and shaping a good half century after his signature model was released!

Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus

The Transition Era of surfboard design was a time period marked by widespread experimentation. Oftentimes, these unorthodox approaches could extend beyond just the design of a surfboard. Pictured below is a Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus Model. The board is listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego, currently going for $600. Pics are via the Craigslist post, and you can find a link to the board here.

I can’t say the Micro Platypus has the elegance of, say, a Yater nose rider from the same era, but it has an irresistible, freewheeling charm to it. I love the name and the logo, for starters. The board also appears to be in great condition, especially when considering its age. According to Stoked-n-Board, the Micro Platypus was only produced in 1969.

However, the poster lists the Micro Platypus as measuring in at 7’6″, and Stoked-n-Board only has record of Micro Platypus models at either 7’2″ or sub 7′. This is the first and only Micro Platypus I have ever seen, so it’s difficult to say. As always, please drop me a line if you have more info about the board!

There are a bunch of neat design details here as well. Check out everything that’s going on in the nose:

Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus 1969 7'6 2
Look at those rails! Appears as if there is something of a hull-esque belly in the front, too. Pic via Craigslist

The board comes with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin, which is always a nice touch.

Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus 1969 7'6 6
W.A.V.E. Set fin, as designed by Tom Morey. Pic via Craigslist

Island Trader Surf Shop has an example of an original Challenger Platypus on their website. You can find a link to that board here. Based on both sets of pics, it’s difficult to compare the outlines of Island Trader’s Challenger Platypus with the Micro Platypus pictured above. However, here’s a shot of the original Platypus logo. Note that there’s no “Micro” above the Platypus logo, and the addition of the “by Challenger Surfboards” script below.

Challenger Surfboards Platypus
Original Challenger Surfboards Platypus logo. Pic via Island Trader Surf Shop

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say who may have shaped the Micro Platypus pictured at the top of the page. Island Trader’s original Platypus was shaped by Bobby Thomas, and there’s a Swaylocks thread that indicates Thomas shaped a bunch of these boards. Apparently, Billy Caster — who later founded Caster Surfboards — also churned out some boards for Challenger at this time as well.

The Challenger Surfboards Micro Platypus is going for $600, and you can find the Craigslist posting for the board here.

Shred Sledz Presents: 5/16 Grab Bag

Greetings, Shredderz! I hope the stoke levels are high and climbing for each and every one of you. First and foremost, you may recognize a slight name change to our Peabody Award-winning series (Editor’s Note: definitely not), the Shred Sledz Weekend Grab Bag. We’re dropping the “Weekend” part of the moniker, given the fact our editorial staff moves with all the speed of a line at the DMV on a sunny Saturday. It shall henceforth be known as the Shred Sledz Grab Bag. New name, same collection of cool sticks. Anyway: onto the good stuff.

Sunset by Bill Shrosbree 1970s / 1980s 6’1″ Single Fin (Craigslist — Santa Cruz)

This thing was originally posted a few days ago, and then posted again without that lovely Rainbow Fin you can see in the third pic. Luckily, Shred Sledz goes to great lengths to preserve any evidence of rad surfboards online. Board is listed at $350 (without the fin, though!), which I think is quite fair given the board. Shrosbree is a favorite of surfboard aficionado Joel Tudor, which means he’s good enough for me! Check out the board at the link above.

 

Surfboards Hawaii Semi-Gun by Mike Slingerland (Facebook)

This surfboard is unlikely to win any awards for political correctness any time soon. (Check the cartoon in the third pic, alongside the “Charlie Don’t Surf” lam). Questionable laminates aside, though, it is a beautiful example of a later-era Surfboards Hawaii semi-gun that looks to be in awesome condition. Love the colors alongside the stringer and the beautiful, era-correct Rainbow Fin, too. Original post seems to have been taken down, but I linked to an earlier one in the title above.

 

Channin / Diffenderfer 1969 Transition Board (Craigslist — Raleigh, NC)

Can’t say this thing hasn’t seen better days. But shout out to the seller for being as up front as possible, going as far to recount a story about how the board flew off his roof rack while going 70 mph! There’s something sad about seeing someone sell a cherished board, but then again, it’s also an opportunity to score a funky little transitional shape for under $200 ($195, to be exact).

 

Gordon & Smith Magic Model (Craigslist — Orlando)

Cool little transitional shape for sale in Florida. G&S has a little info on this board on their own website. The Magic was invented towards the end of the summer in 1968. It was largely invented by Dennis Benadum, but apparently none other than Skip Frye also chipped in with the board’s design! See below for a picture of the original ad for the board, published sometime in the late 1960s, I believe. Seller is asking $500.

Gordon & Smith The Magic Ad

 

Acid Splash: Challenger Formula Micro Vee Redux

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope your weekend is upon you, or not too far off.

Today brings us another piece of transitional era surfboard design funkiness. It’s a board I have written about before: the Challenger Formula Micro Vee.

There are actually two versions of this board that are currently for sale online.

Acid Splash Board: 8′ x 23″ (Pics via Craigslist)

The first example is listed on Craigslist in Costa Mesa, in the heart of Orange County, California.  Asking price is $300. You can find a link to the board here. This thing sports a beautiful two-tone acid splash paint job, with red on the deck and a nice deep green on the bottom. However, there is one significant catch with the board: apparently it has a visible twist, which will take some work to undo (assuming surgery goes correctly). Luckily, the honest seller here called out this fact ahead of time, but now is as good a time as ever to remind everyone that you never know a board’s condition just by looking at pictures.

Continue reading “Acid Splash: Challenger Formula Micro Vee Redux”

Just A Country Kid: A History of Wayne Lynch Surfboards

Shred Sledz might have its roots firmly in the California tradition of surf history and culture, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have any love for our friends across the pond. After all, who doesn’t love Australia? The accents are charming, the waves are great, and most importantly, Australia boasts a former prime minister who has skulled a beer (chugged, for you seppos) to a standing ovation at a cricket match not once but twice. But I digress. This post is a deeper look at various Wayne Lynch surfboards, and an attempt to document the Australian legend’s shapes as they evolved over time. This is Part I in a series.

I. Transition Era, Shortboard Revolution, and the Involvement School

It is hard to overstate Lynch’s impact on the sport. Surfer Magazine lists Lynch as the #17 most influential surfer of all time. For more on Lynch, I recommend the excellent entries from the Encyclopedia of Surfing and SurfResearch.com.au. Lynch, like his contemporaries, started off with longboards that were typical of the early to mid 1960s:

October 6th 1966 Lorne Point #waynelynch pic by #barriesutherland

A post shared by Wayne Lynch (@waynelynchsurfboards) on

Shortly after, though, Lynch would play a critical role in bringing about the Transition Era and the shortboard revolution, thanks to his radical surfing and equally revolutionary equipment. Many regard Paul Witzig‘s seminal 1969 surf film “Evolution” as Lynch’s coming out party.

Continue reading “Just A Country Kid: A History of Wayne Lynch Surfboards”