Vintage Yater Longboard

Greetings, Shredderz! This late night special is brought to you by some insomnia-fueled Craigslist trawling. The focus of today’s post is a vintage Yater longboard that is currently for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find a link to the board here. I have included pictures of the board below:

This vintage Yater is interesting for a few reasons. In the first picture you can see the logo says “Reynolds Yater Signature Surfboards.” According to Stoked-n-Board, this logo was produced starting in 1989. However, I believe that is incorrect, due to the fin box. I believe the fin box is an example of a W.A.V.E. Set fin box, which would mean the board was produced in either the late 1960s or early 1970s. The board also comes with what looks like its original fin, which is a nice touch. Stoked-n-Board claims that Yater produced boards with W.A.V.E. Set fin boxes in the early 1970s. As you can see in the last picture, it appears some additional work was done on the fin box. I’m wondering if it wasn’t replaced altogether (see this thread for an excellent step-by-step overview of replacing a leaky W.A.V.E. Set box). Finally, the triple stringer on the Yater board above is an unusual touch. The stringer of choice for a vintage Yater longboard is a wedge stringer.

Finally, I was able to find pictures of another vintage Yater longboard with the same Signature logo. I believe this is another piece of data that indicates the Signature logo was produced sometime during the late 1960s or early 1970s, versus S-n-B’s date of 1989. (Let me be clear: S-n-B is one of the best online resources for info on vintage surfboards, but like anything else, it’s not perfect.)

I was also able to pick up on one small detail regarding the Yater Signature surfboard logo. More recent boards bearing this variant of the logo have a tilde following the Signature. See below for an example from a more recent board. I’m not exactly sure on the date, but it’s a thruster, meaning that it must be post 1981 at a minimum:

Recent Yater Signature Surfboard Logo.png
Example of a modern version of the Yater Signature surfboard logo. Note the tilde that appears after the signature, which does not appear on either of the other two boards in this post. This board was produced sometime after 1981.

You can check out the triple stringer longboard on Craigslist here.

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.

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.