My first ever surfboard — which is still in my possession, thank you — is an oversized Channel Islands thruster from the late 1990s. It still bears many relics from the Momentum generation, including an outdated On A Mission traction pad, and even a small Volcom sticker I couldn’t resist applying to one of the rails. Since buying that board, I have long held a fascination with both Channel Islands Surfboards as well as Al Merrick, the board making maestro behind the marque. All of this makes today’s post particularly special, as it features a beautiful late 1970s vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull that is in pristine condition. The board featured here comes courtesy of Shred Sledz reader Kenny G. Many thanks to Kenny for sharing the pictures and the story behind the board!
Alright, enough of the appetizers and onto the entrees: as you can see, the vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull pictured above is clean and it is most certainly mean as well. Kenny bought the board in 1978 from the Channel Islands Surfboards store in Santa Barbara when he was a grom. Since then, the board has not undergone any significant repairs, and there are just some regular pressure dents on the deck from use. Kenny was also kind enough to provide dimensions: the board is 5’11-1/2″ x 19-3/4″ x 2-5/8″, and then 13-1/4″ in the nose, and 14-1/2″ in the tail.
Oh, and the hits just keep coming! There are a million details on this board, each more killer than the last. I love the super simple black pinline, and then the unusual Channel Islands laminates on the rails. The logo on the rails looks like the same Channel Islands logo on the “Tri Plane Hull” laminate on the bottom of the board, but with the words placed on a single line instead. It’s a logo placement you don’t see too often on vintage Al Merrick boards. The double wings in the tail are absolutely gorgeous, as well.
And in case you were starting to worry that this board didn’t have enough good things going for it already, why yes, it also has a pristine original Rainbow Fin. I’ll wait for you to pick your jaws up off the floor.
Kenny provided a close up photo of the board’s tail that demonstrates the namesake of the vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull. In the picture above you can clearly see the double concave in the tail, which is one of the critical elements of Merrick’s pioneering tri plane hull design.
Last, but certainly not least, the vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull has a clear pencil signature from the man himself. I wrote two earlier posts dissecting Merrick’s signatures on various Channel Islands creations, which you can find here and here. The number on the board, #6044, is also relatively low by CI standards. I featured #6106 in one of the earlier Al Merrick signature breakdowns, and the appearances of both boards suggest that they were shaped within short time periods of one another.
Once again, many thanks to Kenny for sharing his incredible vintage Al Merrick Tri Plane Hull and the story behind the board. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites here, but this is one of the coolest boards I have had the pleasure of writing up on this blog. As always, if you have a board you’d like to see featured here, please drop me a line or slide in those Instagram DMs.