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 above 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: Wayne Lynch, Aussie Soul Surfer (Part I)

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 the various surfboard shapes of Australian legend Wayne Lynch, one of the most influential surfers to have ever lived. 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: Wayne Lynch, Aussie Soul Surfer (Part I)”

Morey-Pope: A Study in Contrasts

Morey-Pope is a brand I have written about a few times before, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. Morey Pope occupies a funky little corner of surf history. Co-founder Tom Morey, who apparently now goes by the Prince-esque name “Y”, might be one of the most innovative and interesting people in the history of surfing, having invented the bodyboard and Slipcheck traction, among others.

Anyway, right now there are two neat Morey-Pope boards for sale, neither of which is priced in the stratosphere. Both boards aren’t perfect by any means, but the Shred Sledz motto might as well be “it never hurts to look.”

The first board can be found on the excellent Instagram account Red Dot Goods. They are first rate purveyors of various pieces of surf nostalgia, including some rad boards. They have a Morey-Pope Sopwith Camel model up for sale, which you can see in the pic below. $750 doesn’t sound insane, but as always the usual caveats apply — check to see if there are any soft spots / delams, any dings, etc.

I’m unclear on whether or not the Sopwith Camel model is one and the same as the regular Camel. For example, see below for a picture of an old Morey-Pope ad that clearly refers to a Camel model, with no mention of Sopwith. You’ll also see that the Camel logo is nowhere to be found on the board in the pic below. I’ll save you the Googling, if you’re curious — apparently the Sopwith Camel was a British biplane in World War I.

Here’s another example of an excellent Sopwith Camel, from surfboard collector galore Buggs, who runs Surfboardline.com (currently down, please tell me this is just a temporary hiccup!)

And here’s another example of a Sopwith Camel that I was able to find on Photobucket.

 

The second board that is for sale is a Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker, which can be found on Craigslist in the Monterey Bay area. The board looks like it has been well used and frequently repaired over the years. It’s being offered at $500, which I think is reflective of its condition (and apparently there are more repairs that still need to be made).

These are two cool Transition Era designs from a couple of legendary surfboard builders — including, of course, Australian shaper Bob McTavish’s influence on the Tracker! Hope you enjoyed this comparison of two cool boards from a storied surfboard brand of yesteryear.

Shred Sledz Presents: Monday Grab Bag

Happy Monday, Shredderz! Here are a few boards that have caught my eye over the past few days.

Simon Anderson / Nectar Thruster on Craigslist (Los Angeles)

I’d love to do a more in-depth post on Simon Anderson. I’m just waiting to find one of his early thrusters go on sale so I can do the board justice with an accompanying post. (I featured one of his early single fin boards in this post.)

In the early days of Anderson’s pioneering thruster design, he licensed it out to Nectar so he could sell the board in America. The board linked above is a fantastic early example, apparently from 1981, and it looks to be in pretty impeccable condition. It’s not cheap at $569 but it’s not easy to find 35 year old boards in such great condition. If you’d like to read more about the Anderson / Nectar collaboration, I recommend this article at Boardcollector.com.

1960s Chuck Dent Transitional Board on Craigslist (Santa Cruz)

This Chuck Dent board is sporting some artwork that can only be described as groovy, and it looks like it is in pristine condition. Bonus: the board is seen pictured with an ultra-rare Gordon & Smith / Skip Frye vee bottom, with another logo I haven’t seen before. Not sure if the Frye is for sale (likely not), but it’s worth the click through, trust me. This bad boy is listed at $600. I’m not sure how collectible Dent’s boards are, but if the condition is every bit as ideal as the post suggests, then this could be a fair price.

1960s Rick Surfboards Lightweight on Craigslist (Los Angeles)

Neither of these boards are in particularly great condition, but if there’s one thing I love, it’s finding rare logos from old boards. It’s always a good sign when you can’t find the logo on Stoked-n-Board or Stanley’s Surfboard Logos, and I can’t find mention of a Rick Surfboards Lightweight model anywhere. Maybe this is a nod to Bing’s famous Lightweight model, given that Rick Stoner and Bing Copeland were once business partners? I can’t say for sure. At $700 I can’t really justify this cost, but oh well.

Harbour Banana

There are days when the search for rad surfboards can seem like an endless slog. There are others, though, when gems seem to fall out of the sky right into my lap.

Consider this board the latter. Up for sale on Craigslist in Honolulu is a Harbour Banana model that looks like it was likely shaped sometime in the 1970s.

What’s immediately interesting to me is the alternate Banana Model logo, which I have never seen before. Stoked-n-Board’s entry for Harbour lists no such logo, and it’s always exciting to find something that the eagle eyed editors at S-n-B haven’t encountered. I found a similar one on Stanley’s Surf Logos, which I have reproduced below. Unfortunately, there are no shots of the corresponding board, but you can see this is an excellent example of the alternate Banana Model logo.

image

Photo courtesy Stanley’s Surf Logos

Contrast this to the “classic” Harbour Banana Model logo, taken from a pic on Harbour’s website:

image

Photo Courtesy Harbour Surfboards

The second interesting thing about the board pictured at the top of this post is the fact it is more of a transitional shape, whereas the Banana Model is a traditional noserider. Currently, you can only order the Banana Model from Harbour as a longboard, and the only vintage examples I have seen are all 9′ plus. The Craigslist board at the top of this post, by contrast, is 7′10″. It looks to have way more in common with the Harbour Spherical Revolver, which was a transitional board offered up by the brand starting in 1969. The picture below was taken from DIS•PLACE•MEN•TIA, an excellent displacement hull-centric surfboard blog.

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Photo courtesy DIS•PLACE•MEN•TIA

Finally, there’s a clear serial number of #64 beneath the alternative Banana logo, which you can see in the fourth pic at the top of the post. It’s unclear if this is meaningful, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

I’ve reached out to the fine folks at Harbour Surfboards to try and get some more information. If I find out more I will update the post.

In the meantime, check out the board for sale here. It’s $400, and given the condition and the relative rarity of the board, I would be VERY tempted if I were in the Honolulu area.