Greetings, Shredderz! Craigslist has been a real treasure trove of interesting surfboards lately, meaning this pro bono blogger has had his hands full with things to write about. Today’s post concerns one of the cooler named boards to come out of surfing’s famous Transition Era: the Harbour Spherical Revolver.
The board pictured above recently popped up for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. Pics are via the listing, which you can find here.
The Spherical Revolver was invented in 1969 when Mark Martinson, then a Harbour team rider, caught a glimpse of Nat Young surfing a shortboard. Martinson dashed off a letter to Rich Harbour describing how he wanted his own version of Nat’s board, and this later became the Harbour Spherical Revolver we all know and love today.
There are two extremely interesting details about the example pictured above. First is the logo: note that the word “Spherical” does not appear anywhere on the board. Contrast this to the standard Spherical Revolver logo, which has the same “Revolver” text, but has a much more detailed graphic to go along with it.
The other interesting aspect about the board at the top of the page is the fact it doesn’t have a wooden stringer. Instead, it has a stringer made of high-density foam, which is much thicker. Compare the logo shot immediately above with the close-up of the deck at the top of the page.
I’m not quite sure what to make of the Spherical Revolver featured here, other than to say it’s unlike any other I have seen. It is the only example I know of that features either the high-density foam stringer or the variant logo, much less both at the same time. There are some other cool touches, too: the pics clearly show the displacement hull bottom, and what looks like the original W.A.V.E. Set fin is included, too. The seller is asking $400, which is a bit steep in my opinion, but it’s also a very unique example of a Harbour Spherical Revolver.
Here at Shred Sledz we are unabashed fans of the Transition Era and all of its crazy designs. The shortboard revolution of the late 1960s was a time of unprecedented experimentation. One of my all-time favorite Transition Era boards is the Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom.
According to Stoked-n-Board, the Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom was produced between 1968 and 1971. S-n-B has record of four different logos that were made during this run. One of these boards recently popped up on Craigslist in San Diego for a mere $250! The fin box was busted, but that still strikes me as an incredible price for one of the more interesting v bottom boards.
I believe the model is technically considered the “Hawaii V”, as indicated by both the close-up of the logo to the left, as well as the copy in the advertisement posted above. (All pics of the board first appeared in the original Craigslist posting, which has since been taken down.)
I love how the Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom boards often have elegant, minimalist pinlines. The one pictured above is no exception, with beautiful resin work around what looks like a volan patch in the middle of the board, as well as in the signature angular tail block. The Surfboards Hawaii V Bottom pictured above also came with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin, another indication of its age.
Even though the Hawaii V is a coveted Transition Era shape, I still can’t find any reliable information on who actually designed the board. As always, if you have any ideas, please drop me a line! I love hearing from fellow Shredderz.
Sadly, an eagle eyed reader snapped up the board above before I had a chance to act. Stay tuned for another special v bottom board coming up tomorrow!
Greetings Shredderz, and I’d like to wish you a warm welcome to 2018! We’ve got plenty of big things in store for you this year, but we’re starting things off nice and gentle with a certified classic: a late 1960s Harbour single fin, shaped during the Transition Era.
The board pictured above is currently being offered for sale on eBay. You can find a link to the listing here. Photos above are via the eBay listing.
The Harbour single fin has a bunch of cool details. There are a few giveaways that point to the fact it was likely shaped in the late 1960s or maybe early 1970s, all of which are pretty common during the Transition Era. First, you’ll notice the Vari-set fin box (complete with a regrettably bent fin still in there). Second, if you click through to the listing, there are some pictures that show off a pronounced S Deck shape to the board.
The logo on the board has some fascinating details. You’ll notice that a lot of the measurements are actually written on the deck of the board. Note the measurements off-set to the right, and then a number that is located right beneath the main Harbour Surfboards logo. On more recent Rich Harbour boards, you’ll often see a signature located near the fin and on the bottom of the board. However, I have seen many older Harbour boards that feature a serial number on the deck near the stringer. The Harbour single fin pictured above, however, is a bit of an outlier in the sense that it has the measurements on the deck. This is an unusual touch that I haven’t seen much, if at all. The board also doesn’t seem to have a Rich Harbour signature anywhere on it, either. From what I can tell, this is not unusual.
The seller is asking $500, which I do not find outrageous. The bent fin is a shame, but the fin box itself looks like it’s in sturdy condition. I happen to love the classic coke bottle color, and otherwise the board is pretty clean. Check out the link here.
Fresh off last week’s post about Mike Purpus, today we have another collaboration between the Hermosa Beach pro and a well-known shaper. The board pictured above and below is the Jacobs Mike Purpus V, a Transition Era vee bottom board that was created in the late 1960s. The board can currently be found for sale on Craigslist, and you can find a link to the listing here. Keep reading below for some more pictures of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V for sale, and some background on the collaboration between Jacobs Surfboards and Purpus.
Brief History of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V
Purpus became a Jacobs team rider when he was 14 years old. The first Jacobs Mike Purpus signature model was created under an unusual set of circumstances, befitting Purpus’ colorful personality. In 1967, Purpus had successfully made the finals of the AAA Oceanside Invitational (competing against a murderer’s row of Donald Takayama, David Nuuhiwa, Skip Frye, Corky Carroll and Mark Martinson!). When pressed by the announcer, Hap Jacobs declared that if Purpus were to win the contest, he could get his own signature model. A few waves later, Purpus sealed the victory, and the rest was history.
The initial Jacobs Mike Purpus model was a standard noserider that was similar to the Bing Noserider Model of the 1960s. Jacobs Surfboards continues to produce the original Mike Purpus model today, but I believe Matt Calvani is now the head shaper.
Just as we saw with Rick Surfboards and the Barry Kanaiaupuni model, which began as a noserider and then morphed into a mini-gun design in the blink of an eye, the Jacobs / Purpus collaboration underwent dramatic changes in a very short period of time.
By 1968, around a year after the Jacobs Mike Purpus model was introduced, the Transition Era was underway. Surfers now sought out turns and maneuvers in favor of extended rides on the nose, and as a result, shapers began to make smaller, more nimble boards. The Jacobs Mike Purpus V employs many of the design elements that emerged during the Transition Era. As the name suggests, the Jacobs Mike Purpus V has a pronounced vee bottom in the tail. The board also has a dramatic scoop deck, which you can see below.
The Jacobs Mike Purpus V is a fairly rare surfboard. To date I have only seen three others online. The Surfboard Project has a Jacobs Mike Purpus V, but I believe the board has been restored. The Museum of Surf has a bitchin’ Jacobs Mike Purpus V with a similarly colorful spray job. Finally, a plain white Jacobs Mike Purpus V was sold on eBay a little over a year ago. I have included pictures of the board below:
Even though Purpus’ career extended well into the 1970s, his vee bottom board was produced closer to the end of Hap Jacobs’ career as a surfboard builder. In 1971 Jacobs sold his business to focus on commercial fishing, and didn’t return to shaping for another twenty years. Even so, Jacobs remains a revered figure in surfing circles.
Australian Influences of the Jacobs Purpus V
The other interesting aspect about the Jacobs Mike Purpus V is that it is referred to as an Australian board in multiple places. Stoked-n-Board calls it “the first shortboard from Australia”, which is both a very strong statement as well as maddeningly vague. The Surfboard Project refers to its example as an Aussie vee bottom, but there’s no other context given.
Luckily, I found an amazing article that Purpus wrote for the Easy Reader News in which he tells some fantastic stories about the history of his collaborations with Hap Jacobs. In 1967, Purpus, alongside Skip Frye, Steve Bigler and Margo Godfrey, headed to Australia to film “The Fantastic Plastic Machine”. During this trip, Purpus encountered the vee bottom boards that had begun to usher in the shortboard revolution down under. (I’m still unclear as to whether or not Plastic Fantastic Surfboards got their name from the movie or vice versa).
Purpus’ article in the Easy Reader News sheds light on the Aussie influences on what would later become the Jacobs Mike Purpus V. The outline for Purpus’ 1968 signature model came from Aussie surf pioneers Midget Farrelly and Bob McTavish. Farrelly and McTavish disagree on who invented the vee bottom. Purpus sidestepped the controversy by modeling his new board after both Australian shapers. He says the nose of the Jacobs Mike Purpus V was taken from Farrelly’s design, and the tail from McTavish. When Purpus returned stateside, he worked with Hap Jacobs shapers Ricky James and Robert August to tweak the design.
The way Purpus tells it, Jacobs was initially resistant, and was convinced Purpus’ new board would be a dud. As a result, Jacobs promised Purpus that any vee bottom produced under the Jacobs label would bear Purpus’ personal decal. There was another boldfaced name working with Jacobs who was openly skeptical about the Purpus V: none other than Donald Takayama! Takayama apparently favored the mini-gun, which was popular in Hawaii, and saw it as a superior option to the vee bottom.
When the Jacobs Mike Purpus V began selling out, the Jacobs team riders that were surfing Takayama’s boards began to ask Donald for their own vee bottom shapes. Donald acquiesced, but as soon as Purpus caught wind of this, he reminded Jacobs of their initial agreement:
Donald could see the David Nuuiwhia Noserider ordeal starting all over when his top riders Bobby Warchola, Jim Lester, Tommy Padaca and Pee Wee Crawford, wanted V-bottoms. Donald made them V-bottoms with his decal on them. I went crying straight to Hap, who told Donald that a deal was a deal. If he wanted to make a V-bottom he would have to use my decal. Donald was furious at me and left Jacobs to open his own shop down the road by the Baskin Robins 31 Flavors in Redondo Beach. Hap remained best friends with Donald, but as far as I was concerned the divorce was final. As I look back, I should’ve asked Donald to work together on shortboard designs, using both our names but I was way too immature and wouldn’t reach puberty for several more years.
Again, the entire article is well worth a read. Purpus’ account also makes me wonder if any of Donald’s short run of Jacobs vee-bottoms have survived! I have personally never seen or even heard of one existing, but needless to say, a Jacobs Takayama vee bottom would make an incredibly rare and special board.
Here is a link to the Jacobs Mike Purpus V that is currently being offered for sale on Craigslist. The seller is asking $1700. One other little tidbit that I was unable to confirm: apparently, at some point the board belonged to Gene Cooper! Whoever previously owned the board, the Jacobs Mike Purpus V is a very cool piece of California and Australian surf history.
According to the Craigslist posting, this board was made in 1972. It’s a beautiful example of a 70s David Nuuhiwa (pictured above on the left) surfboard, and it even comes complete with an original W.A.V.E. Set fin. The seller claims the board is all original, with the exception of a few small repairs. The asking price is $800.
The board above is a trip. It looks to me like a late 1960s Transition Era board, but there is very little information provided with the listing. I haven’t seen many The Greek boards that have sold, but the price (starting bid of $2,700) strikes me as extremely ambitious. There are some very cool details, though: check out the huge logo on the deck, and click through the link for shots of a very trippy fin. I hesitate to call this authentic or make any definitive statements about the board, but I recommend taking a peek at the listing.
Personally, I prefer boards that are as original as possible, even if that means putting up with some discoloration or spots. The board above is a Mike Diffenderfer thruster likely shaped sometime in the 1980s, and restored since then. It measures 6’8″ and the seller is asking $800 for the board. I would say Diff’s most collectible boards were made during the 1970s, but overall his shapes are difficult to find.
For more background on the Con Surfboards CC Rider, please check out the earlier Shred Sledz Deep Dive on the subject. There’s another vintage CC Rider for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles. What’s interesting about the board above is that it looks like the dual high-density stringers are not tapered, unlike the other examples I have seen. It’s worth noting the board was also re-glassed at some point, so it is not all-original. The CC Rider above measures in at 9’4″ and the seller is asking $1175.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Classic black laminate with Codgen’s signature
CC Rider is located on the far left
Look closely at the fin box, with the screw that is parallel to the board, located towards the back. Not sure what design this is. Drop me a line if you have more info!
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.
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 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 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.
According to Bill Thrailkill, this is a rare example of a first generation Fins Unlimited fin box and fin.
Classic transition era outline. Love the volan patch and the subtle Con Surfboards logo
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!