Jeff Ho for Blue Cheer Surfboards

Greetings, Shredderz! One of the things I enjoy most about writing this blog is unearthing lesser-known bits of surf history. In particular, I love geeking out on shapers’ more obscure boards: Dick Brewer shaping under the Lahaina Surf Designs label during the Sixties (yes, the acronym is intentional); Shawn Stussy’s stint at Russell Surfboards; and a Donald Takayama sting created under the Aipa / Surfing’s New Image label, just to name a few.

I know I say this about just about every shaper, but to me, Jeff Ho is one of the more fascinating figures in the rich history of California surf culture. Jeff Ho is the mastermind behind legendary Zephyr Surfboards, which played an instrumental role in defining surf and skate culture during the Seventies and beyond.

Jeff Ho and Zephyr are so intertwined, it never occurred to me that he might have shaped boards for another label. Thus my mind was absolutely blown when I saw an early Jeff Ho shape for Blue Cheer Surfboards pop up on my Instagram feed. Blue Cheer Surfboards was a Los Angeles label that mostly operated during the Seventies, and was home to people like Tim Phares, Clyde Beatty Jr, Mike Perry, and Wayne Miyata. The post came courtesy of Sean Tully, an LA-based artist and surfer, who shared the entire backstory of the board on his Instagram account. I highly recommend checking out the entire thing below:

Been waiting years to get my hands on a @therealjeffho surfboard. They’re not easy or cheap to come by and rightfully so. The universe shined on me last week finally. . A couple days back I was casually giving craigslist a look over for surfboards as I occasionally do. I’m not nearly as engaged in the hunt on CList like some of my comrades. However occasionally I look and last week I glanced at a yellow single fin unnamed and priced at $250 obo. Template looked amazing from the post and I’m a sucker for diamond tails so I messaged the guy and offered what I could afford ($170). He was game! Went and picked up the board the following day and sure enough it was a beauty! Guy didn’t know how good he had it. But he was stoked on the payment and I was psyched on the board so it really was a great deal for us both. . Upon receiving the board I took notice to the “Blue Cheer” logo and knew slightly about its Los Angeles origins. I needed to know more and rang up Uncle Jeff Ho for some schooling. – Me, “What’s the story with Blue Cheer?” – Jeff, “What about them?” – Me, “What’s the story?” – Jeff, “Why you ask?” – Me, “Well I got a board.” – Jeff, “Ohhh reallly?!!” . So Uncle Jeff starts asking specific questions about the board; it’s pin lines, it’s bottom contours, the nose, etc. By the end of our conversation I got the informative behind the scenes history of Santa Monica’s Blue Cheer Surfboards and Jeff’s brief legacy with them prior to going off on his own with Zephyr Surfboards. Turns out this board was shaped by Jeff in 1970. It was glassed by his mate Orlando with gloss/pinlines by the legendary Wayne Miyata. The board is a full on time period piece specific to an era of Jeff’s life that was pretty pure at the time. We were both blown away that the board made its way back to home and in the hands of someone who cared for the right reasons. . Promised Uncle Jeff I’d take care of her and ride it often when the waves permit. Just after leaving I took the board to Malibu and had a blast! Definitely a gem and definitely not going back on craigslist. . And so the legend continues… .

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As it turns out, I had saved some pictures of the Jeff Ho Blue Cheer Surfboards shape a while back, when it was still kicking around on Craigslist. As far as I can see, there are no signatures or markings anywhere that indicate it’s a Jeff Ho shape. Click on the photos below to enlarge:

The Jeff Ho Blue Cheer Surfboards shape is a 6’6″ single fin that was shaped in 1970, per the caption on the Instagram post above. As you can see from the pics, it’s still in remarkable condition, especially considering that it’s almost fifty years old. It’s rad to know the board has found its way back home, and I’m just as excited by the new information on the pre-Zephyr days of Jeff Ho’s legendary career. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and I hope you enjoyed this mini-discovery as much as I did!

Jeff Ho for Vissla

I can’t say I’m too interested in what the surfwear industry has been up to lately. This is a far cry from my grommethood, when I once made my dad drive forty five minutes so I could get a specific Hurley backpack I had spotted in Surfer Magazine (thanks Pops!). There is perhaps no surer sign of the surf industry’s decline than Billabong and Quiksilver’s muted merger into a single entity owned by a private equity fund. I can’t be sure, but something tells me that Oaktree Capital Management isn’t jumping into the surf business to make sure the rest of us stay stoked.

One recent project did catch my eye, though, and that was Jeff Ho’s recently announced capsule collection for Vissla. Jeff Ho is the legendary shaper behind cult Los Angeles surf and skate label Zephyr. Born in Santa Monica and Venice Beach, Zephyr helped usher in the sport of skateboarding and it also introduced the world to figures like CR Stecyk III.

Jeff Ho Zephyr Graffiti.jpg
A classic Jeff Ho graffiti piece. POP stands for Pacific Ocean Park. Photo via Cave Gallery

To commemorate the launch of Vissla’s Jeff Ho collection, Surfline launched a feature on the Pacific Ocean Park Pier. POP Pier was a wave that broke in the shadows of an abandoned amusement park located directly on the beach in Santa Monica. I highly recommend checking out Surfline’s post, which features some amazing photos of POP Pier in all its dystopian glory. The shots of POP Pier make me think of the movie “Escape From LA” should have been.

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None other than Miki Dora surfing the POP Pier. Dora was apparently one of the few non-Dogtown locals who managed to surf POP without getting run out of town. Photo by Brent Lieberman, and originally posted on Surfline’s site.

It feels a little strange to write an ode to a spot that I, as an outsider with very limited surfing ability, would never have been allowed to surf in a million years. But what can I say? Zephyr, like its hometown of Los Angeles, combines grittiness and beauty into something undeniably compelling.

You can check out the Surfline feature on POP Pier here, and you can check out Jeff Ho’s Vissla collection here.

Vintage Zephyr Jeff Ho Surfboard

Greetings, Shredderz! As some of you may know by now, there are few things I appreciate more than 70s single fins with some real history to them. Seventies surfboard labels don’t get any more storied than legendary Zephyr Surfboards. Despite playing a critical role in the development of Southern California surf and skate culture, there isn’t a whole lot of information you can find online about Zephyr. It’s even more unusual to find Zephyr boards for sale online. However, you’re in luck, as there’s currently a vintage Zephyr Jeff Ho surfboard for sale on Craigslist in the Inland Empire. The only catch is you’ll need around $4K handy to complete the purchase.

Zephyr Jeff Ho Single Fin 3

I wish the pics were a little better, and frankly, the fact that someone decided to put stickers on the bottom of this board, getting in the way of the beautiful paint job, is as infuriating as it is puzzling. Then again, I can’t not run these pictures, because it’s not every day you  see a vintage Zephyr Jeff Ho surfboard, and this one is pretty stunning. Zephyr boards sport some pretty outrageous paint jobs, and the one pictured above is restrained in comparison, but still very colorful.

I’m wondering if the board pictured above has a CR Stecyk III airbrush, which would make the price tag a bit more digestible. Stecyk was involved in the infamous Dogtown scene’s earliest days, and nowadays he is probably better known as an artist and photographer. I have no way of knowing whether or not Stecyk might have been involved with the board above. If you have any info, hit me up!

And as for the price…well, it’s a lot of money. On the other hand, a Nathan Pratt Zephyr board was recently estimated to sell between $6K and $12K at a California Gold Surf Auction. This is a bit of a cop out, but pricing surfboards is hard. I can’t quite believe I’m typing this, but if the airbrush really is a Stecyk and there isn’t a hint of fading underneath those stickers on the bottom, then $3,800 might be in the ballpark. (I also reserve the right to change my mind, because dang, that’s a lot for a board!)

Zephyr Jeff Ho Single Fin 1

The Zephyr Jeff Ho single fin has a nice 70s Rainbow Fin, but sadly, I don’t think it’s original. Jeff Ho made some distinctive fins to go along with his Zephyr shapes. Check out some examples below, which come courtesy of Instagram user @jjrober22, who I believe also heads up the Longboard Collector’s Club.

HoHoHo;);)

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Zephyr Fins

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Finally, just as a little bonus, here’s another Zephyr Jeff Ho surfboard that I purchased a few months back. I’m mostly posting this because I’m still offended this thing only got 44 likes on Instagram!

Anyway, you can check out the listing for the vintage Zephyr Jeff Ho surfboard here.

 

Z-Boy Original: Zephyr Surfboards

I’ve been meaning to do a longer feature on Zephyr Surfboards, the famed Los Angeles surf shop that later became ground zero for Venice Beach’s surf and skate scene, as immortalized in the Stacey Peralta documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” In the meantime, though, a pretty fantastic example of a genuine Jeff Ho board has come up for sale on Craigslist, and I’m afraid that kind of heat can’t afford to wait for anyone, much less the overworked and underpaid Shred Sledz editorial team!

Zephyr Surfboards by Jeff HoZephyr Surfboards by Jeff HoZephyr Surfboards by Jeff HoZephyr Surfboards by Jeff Ho

The board pictured above is a 1973 Zephyr Surfboards / Jeff Ho single fin that can currently be found for sale on Craigslist in San Francisco (link here). I want to say the board is all original, but as always, buyer beware, and there’s no way of knowing the full extent of its condition unless you see it in person. With that said, check out that crazy fin! Sadly, such quality comes at a pretty steep price: the poster is asking $3,500 for the board. Original Zephyr boards are insanely collectible and difficult to come by.

As nuts as it sounds, I don’t think this is an outrageous price for the board. For example, here is another Jeff Ho Zephyr surfboard that sold for $4,100 at auction recently. However, there are a few points that make the auction board more collectible and expensive. First, the auction board pictured below boasts a C.R. Stecyk spray job. Stecyk was a Z Boy who later became a renowned artist. Boards bearing Stecyk’s touch are the rare pieces of surf memorabilia that have some significance in the world of fine art, too.

Zephyr Surfboards by Jeff Ho
Jeff Ho Zephyr Single Fin with C.R. Stecyk airbrush. Pic via Vintage Surf Auction

If you’re interested in the Zephyr board that’s currently for sale, you can find it here. Finally, you can see some more Zephyr / Jeff Ho posts on Shred Sledz at this link.

Dogtown Legend Jeff Ho

I do not know who Jeff from Palms, West LA is. What I do know, however, is that he is a man of impeccable taste who casually takes some sick old boards and just throws them on Craigslist for everyday cro-magnons like you and I to peruse. What we have here (via Craigslist) is a wonderful piece of California surf history…a vintage Jeff Ho surfboard. Jeff claims it’s from the pre-Zephyr days, and the Zephyr sticker he ended up putting on the board was originally intended for a skateboard restoration. This makes sense, as it’s a far cry from the iconic Zephyr logo that has come to signify Dogtown and Venice Beach, and perhaps one of the most seminal crews and eras of Southern California surf culture. The board isn’t in great condition, and it’s pretty expensive, but I tend to think Jeff knows exactly what he’s doing. Either way, it’s worth looking at the pictures.