Surf Antiquarian- by Shelly Jones.



Surfboard collector Damion Fuller is enchanted by wave ridings rainbow - coloured past.


Australian surfer Simon Anderson revolutionised surfboard design in the mid-1980s when he introduced the three-fin thurster. The style was unbeatable in terms of performance and functionality and its popularity soared, with variations on the triptych popping up in surf shops, and competitions, across the world.
But like all things, what is seen as innovative one day can all too quickly become the norm. And as the surfing industry began to chum out boards for the mass market, appreciation for innovative boards, like those from surfing's past, started to dwindle. That is, until now A new breed of vintage surfboard aficionados are connecting through cyberspace and sharing their love for a lost art. And an Australian dude called Damion Fuller is at the helm of the resurgence.

 "I think after '85 you had the birth of professionalism in surfing," says Damion in drawn-out Aussie tones. And from that point on surfers were just given free surfboards by companies and this need to innovate - for the surfer to feed straight back into the surfboard design - kind of immediately ceased. A lot of professional surfers today don't even know how surfboards are built. So for me 1975 to 1985 is a really lovely period. It's almost like when Picasso was first experimenting with sculpture, paint or cubism, pushing the envelope of the technique. From a surfing point of view there was a break [after that period] of the craftsman-designer surfer, the waterman, the poet-warrior.” 

Damion indulges his love of vintage surfboard design through a rotating collection of about one hundred and eighty boards, all of which he rides at some point. But after his wife got sick of him surf-waxing lyrical about twin fins and swallowtails he decided to start a blog, called Board Collector, and find some likeminded souls. "I just started putting my boards [online] and the spiderweb of people that I've met is amazing," says the Bondi Beach-local affectionately. 

Inspired by the popularity of his blog, Damion decided to go one step further and set up a swap-meet where "music and art can mix with vintage and resin surfboards" in the car park of streetwear brand Deus Ex Machina, where he (used to) work as a fashion designer. He explains: "The swap-meets began as a way to pull together all the amazing people that I've met [through Board Collector]; from old hairy collectors with boards in their garages to designers who are interested in looming about the past. I wanted to pull all the people I've met in cyberspace into reality. And it's growing bigger and better every time." The events have been so successful, in fact, that Damion is transporting the idea to Perth and then Venice Beach, California. 

But is there something of the Luddite spirit in Damion and his band of antiquation brothers who romanticise a by-gone era? "Definitely not," says the forty-year-old. "I am one of those people who hates the 'good old days mentality. When I collect boards, I am looking for unexplored innovations that were overlooked. For example, the board that I ride now - a 1978 sky twin fin shaped by Bob McTavish [a pioneering Australian shortboard shaper] - is the best board I've ever surfed . So I contacted Bob and his son told me that Kelly Slater is tiding a similar shaped board at Pipeline today... Which is nice for me because it proves I'm not crazy or trapped in a time warp. It proves that these things are worth revisiting... So no, this is not looking back This is looking for breakthroughs that were overlooked when boards became very standardised.” 

And it's not just the shape and functionality of the boards that's got Damion hooked "That [innovative] period of design was really graphically interesting with a lot of use of colour and fluoro. To me, these surfboards are wonderful pieces of applied art. They're handmade and they beautifully painted and yet they still have a wonderful function too." So what happened to those rainbow-coloured boards of yesteryear - and why do boards today seem so bland in comparison? "Ah, the lost art of the airbrush," sighs Damion. "It's not common anymore because it's expensive and that's really sad. I guess its like Macrame; one of those skills that was really popular fora period and then quickly dies out But it makes those boards even more attractive, more collectible for me.” 

And with more projects in the pipeline, including a collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum, Damion is ensuring these beautiful design anomalies go down in surfboard history. 

Communing with Twin Fins - A surfboard exhibition celebrating the old & new , here & now! Bondi Pavilion. Oct 2nd 2016.


Hey fellow Vintage Surfboard Collectors! 


I'm working on a (not for profit) vintage surfboard event to be held on Sunday the 2nd of October at the Bondi Pavilion.
'Communing with Twin Fins' will be a celebration of the twin fin design.


To keep it interesting I’ve invited a few contemporary surfers and shapers to come and give their take on the 'old and the new', as modern twin fin models seem to be all the rage right now!



- Craig Anderson is confirmed to be coming with Hayden shapes to talk about their new twin fin model.
- Darren Handley (DHD) is coming with Asher Pacey and Kyuss King.
- Ozzie Wright has cut a twin fin only clip and is coming with Mark Gnech from Vampirate. 'The Goons of Doom' may even be playing a set!
- Jesse Adam is coming with Lee Stacey from Tweed heads.
- Torren Martyn is coming with Simon Jones from Morning of the Earth surfboards.
- Andrew Kidman is coming with the Dream board from lost in the Ether.
- Gary McNeil is coming with Rasta.
- Teal Vanner is coming with Nick Miles of Sculpt surfboards.
- Otis Carey is coming with Chongy & Dave from Misfits.
- There is rumours of a newcastle based surfer / shaper coming along for some Q and A.
- all the surfers and shapers will be talking about surfboard history and design and showing some video clips.

I need you to bring along a few of your vintage twin fins to display as part of the 'show 'n' shine' and be critiqued by the contemporary shapers. I'll be bringing a dozen of my own.
Space will be limited so drop me an email to let me know how many boards you want to bring to display and we will save the space for you.
There will be an area to buy and sell boards, so bring along a few pre-1990 boards to sell. As usual there will be 'expert appraisers' on hand to give valuations and shed a little light on the history of your mystery board. 
thanks, I look forward to seeing you there!


Sky, rounded pin tail twin fin by Greg Melhuish.


I'm pleased to share with you today my late 70's Sky rounded pin tail twin fin shaped my Greg Melhuish in Byron Bay. I didn't find the board, the board found me. I was contacted by a lady from Angourie in northern new south wales who had a son who was tragically killed in a motor cycle accident in 1982 when he was in his early twenties. She had kept all his stuff in the garage until now and was looking for someone who would properly appreciate his board.
Naturally I promised that I would.


I took it for a run at Broken Head near Byron Bay. I felt privileged to take the board for its first surf in 34 + years.
I have ridden lots of twin fins, but nearly all of them have been single fly swallow tails.
This was the first rounded pin tail and I could really feel the difference! 
There was a smoothness in the turns that was really noticable. I think I might be a convert to this elegant and simple tail shape.


photo: cronulla surf museum
Greg is an accomplished surf from Cronulla who made a name for himself on the points and reefs of the Shire before relocating to Byron Bay in the late 70's. He made many boards under his own label before moving north and shaping for Sky.








One of the highlights of this board for me is the multi coloured rainbow laminate fins.


Outerknown / Surf Shacks.


Kelly Slater was in town recently for the launch of his new label 'Outerknown' in OZ.
I was chatting with him and his partner, my good freind, John Moore and Outerknown Content Editor Zak Bush. It was suggested that it might be a nice idea to have Zak come over and have a look at my board collection and our little surf shack on the weekend. 
I was stoked to be able to show Zak some of the Coal Coast and because it gave me a chance to pull out some of the boards from the collection from where they are stashed around the place.




DAMION and FERN / by ZAK 05.24.2016

Moving outside of an urban environment can be tough when you’re constrained by the day to day routine of a 9-to-5. It’s families like Damion and Fern’s who appreciate having access to nature that make it happen. I trekked down from Sydney the other week to check out their pad, an A-framed tree house that’s practically bursting with creativity. Nestled in a grove of trees and backing onto an enormous national forest, these two and their son, Jake, seemingly have it made with a perfect blend of urban bustle and rural seclusion.




How did you guys end up living an hour outside of Sydney, next to Royal National Park?
Damion: We are very lucky to have had the opportunity to live in both Australia and the USA. Before we moved I used to complain about a lot of things in OZ, it took moving to California to open my eyes to the great things about Australia: the space, the light, the air, the clean water, empty beaches and an abundance of waves. As soon as we returned to Sydney I knew I didn’t want to be in Bondi anymore and we started looking around my favourite reef and point breaks on the south coast. We found ourselves a cedar A-frame cabin that was built as a writers retreat in what was once a coal miner village in the Royal National Park.


Do you feel like where you live is remote?

DF: It certainly feels remote, which is really wonderful, especially on the weekends. In reality you can get a train from the station at the end of our street and be in the centre of Sydney in 50 minutes. The closest wave to our house is a reef break that’s a 15 minute hike down a cliff to the beach. When you’re out there in the ocean staring back at the rain forest you can be mistaken for thinking your many miles from civilization.


When did you start collecting surfboards?

DF: I didn’t decide to start collecting, but old surfboards started finding their way to my place about 20 years ago. The first ‘old’ board I bought was an old twin fin that was identical to the first board I had when I was 11 years old. When I saw it for sale in a junk shop I had such a rush of profound memories of the first waves I had on that board that I wondered if the board would ride as well as I remembered. From there I started wondering about the viability of the designs of other boards in the thrift stores that had drifted out of fashion and I started buying those too.




Why do you collect so many old boards?

DF: I like to think that my collection is actually pretty focused. I’m interested in a very particular period of surfboard design, from 1978 to 1983. Some people call this period the innovation period of surfboard design because before ‘78 surfers were mainly riding single fins and after ’83 most surfers were on thrusters. But there was this explosive period of design experimentation for a few years where many of the pro-surfers were also shapers. A good snapshot is the 1982 Stubbies contest at Burleigh Heads. The heats included Mark Richards on his own hand shaped twin fin design, Cheyne Horan (winning) on a Geoff McCoy Laser Zap design with Ben Lexan designed winged star fin, Rabbit Bartholomew on a channel bottom rounded pin tail Hot Stuff, Dane Kealoa on a no rocker T&C twin fin, Glen Winton sitting on the rocks with a piece of sandpaper adjusting the foil on his quad fin and Simon Anderson on his new 3 fin thruster design that would go on to dominate the sport. Never before or since has there been such a variety of cutting edge surfboard designs in one place. There are so many examples of design innovations from that period that I want to try I’ll probably end up with 500 boards!




What is Aloha to Zen and what inspired Fern to write it?

DF: ‘Aloha to Zen – The art of Surfing and Living on Earth’ is a book that Fern wrote and illustrated as a love letter to me that documents and celebrates all the idiosyncrasies of surfing and surf culture. It may have been her way to purge all the information that I had been filling her up with over the years! It was a great project for her to get into while we were in Encinitas and exposed to the deep and rich surf culture that exists in parts of Southern California. It also explores some themes of permaculture and looking after our oceans and environment, powerful themes that are important to her that come from her youth spent on the north coast of New South Wales.




Any more upcoming projects for you guys?

DF: I’m keen on making surfboards in my shaping studio that draw from the best design elements from my collection of vintage boards, that I combine with some modern plan shapes and bottom contours. Fern continues to paint and draw, so we are hoping we can pull it all together into an exhibition with some friends of ours in California later in the year.






All photo by Zak Bush.  Interview originally published on Outerknown.

Shawn Stussy - 80's semi gun


Kevin in Hawaii has shared some pics of his very nice recent find.
A late 80's 6'8" semi gun hand shaped by the man himself.
In great condition, and pencil signed top and bottom.
Doug tells me that Shawn called this trip fin design the QZ/3.

Either Shawn made a lot of 6'8" or they somehow last the test of time cause I have 2 beautifully foiled Stussy 6'8" of my own.








Shaun Tomson - 80's gun / Hobie - 80's gun


Shaun Tomson recently got together with Bill Barnsfeild to re-create his iconic 80's pipeline gun for a 'Back to the 80's' charity auction.


Seeing those flouro clouds it prompted me to pull out my US made 80's gun to share.

When I first saw this in the corner of Surfy Surfy in Lucadia CA I just stood there and laughed.
Ridiculous length, the crazy colours the giant logos.

I picked it up and I realised I just had to have it. 
Holding a big wave board under your arm can give you chills as you picture what it made for.
The Hobie / Terry Martin craftsmanship is exquisite with lovely details like the adjustable rear fin.

What I didn't think about at the time was getting on an aeroplane, buts thats a different story.......