The Original Sting.

The mid 1970’s is one of the most fascinating periods of surfing and innovation period surfboard development. The shortboard revolution had been underway for only a few years and iconic brands such as Lightning Bolt were in their infancy. Kneeboarders, who in many respects had been at the forefront of the designs that initiated the demise of the traditional longboard, were themselves under pressure from the new “Boogie board”, Tom Morey’s rectangular polyethylene foam slab that heralded the 'beginning’ of the plague that became modern bodyboarding. It was in this period that the first leashes or leg ropes appeared, surf films came into their own and the first international professional surfing tour was won by Australia’s Peter Townend in 1976.

In the context of this came a Hawaiian shaper named Ben Aipa whose combination of design features with single fin shortboards resulted in the shape now known as the 'Stinger'. These included splitting the tail and moving the fin forward, introducing ‘wings’ or ‘flyers’ about one third from the tail and adding a ‘step’ across the bottom of the board at the same spot. According to Paul Holmes in “Surfboards” these elements

“had the effect of creating a break in the rail line that allowed a single-fin board to release quicker and to draw tighter turns…giving rise to a more vertical approach to the wave”

Ben Aipa is not only a great innovator and shaper but has also coached and mentored numerous surfers of note over the years including Mark Richards, Larry Bertlemann, Dane Kealoha, Michael Ho and more recently Sunny Garcia and Andy Irons.

I have surfed this board and although it paddles and catches waves easily I found it stiff and hard to turn. Which makes Buttons 360' turns on a stinger in Many Classic Moments even more outrageous than when he eats a mouthful of sand!

Showroom shot 1975

Frank is a photographer. He sent me this shot with no explanation. I'm guessing, Bennett Surfboards showroon, Pittwater rd Brookvale 1975 as Bennett made Lightning Bolts under licence.
I love the Klemm Bell diamond tail. It looks a lot like the board Dan is bringing to the surf swap on April 10th.

Oh my god! Part 2

More gems from Gavin.
These boards will be for sale on 10th of April on Stefan's 'WALL OF VINTAGE'.
Deus / Boardcollector Surf Swap 2.
104 Parramatta rd Camperdown.
10am till 5pm.

You will be fighting me for the Bolt twin fin!


Deus / Boardcollector Surf Market No'2- Attendees.

Deus / Boardcollector Surf Swap 2.
April 10th. 104 Parramatta rd Camperdown.

Alby Falzon- Legendary photographer and film maker and creator of Morning of the Earth will be having a stall featuring Morning of the Earth surfboards and associated paraphernalia and collectibles.
Dave Milness- Original vintage photos of Sydney and South Coast from the 60's and 70's.
Graham- Will be coming down from Newcastle with original Bing surfboards freshly shaped in the USA.
Paul- A cornucopia of surf related vintage furniture.
Wayne- A life times collection of vintage surfboards and surf culture from the cenny coast.
Josh- Byron Bay's king of alt surf culture with be doing a stall of new and vintage including a Marty Worthington sprayed Terry Fitz Hot Buttered.
Teal- Hand shaped Australian made Alia's
Paddy- Vintage surf rags / VMX jerseys / BMX tees.
Jeff- Surf and skate bric a brac. Boards, posters lamps a real gold mine of bargains.
Matt Johnson- The Sea Life. Comtemporay photographic prints of what's happening right now on and around our southern beaches. Hip log sliders to cutting edge arial trickery.
Shorty- AAA grade vintage surf collectables. Boards, skateboards, clothes, jerseys, art, accessories.
Seb- Soul Surf connections. Huge selection of vintage boards.
Pup- Low rider bikes and parts.
Benny- From Six Ounce Bondi fame.
Jim- Short Straw and Critical Slide Society creator will be doing a stall of art, product and boards.
Gavin- Pacific Palm legendary collector fresh back from Hawaii with a huge haul of goodies.
Grant- Gavin's mate, will be doing a stall of vintage skateboards and parts.
Tony- Vintage surf related fun!
Mitchell- Surf surf surf.
Dave- Coming up from the South coast where he has spent a life time working at G&S surf boards.

Kevin 11 will be manning a Deus Cafe booth giving away a free hand made Canolli to all who enter.
Gold coin entry donations will be going to support Surf Rider Foundation.

Plus Plus-
Stefan's 'WALL OF VINTAGE' stands to showcase the biggest and best collection of reasonably priced vintage fiberglass in the southern hemisphere.

The most sort after collectible surf board of the modern era.

Randy wrote to me from Hawaii with a pic of probably the most sort after collectible surf board of the modern era. The board Gerry Lopez shaped for himself to ride in the movie he stared in as 'himself'!
The good news is the board is in safe hands -

Hey Damion,
I love the "Board Collector" site! Really fun to see every one's input. I actually switched over from Surf Line Hawaii, late in the game to Bolt. That happened when Ben Aipa came on board at Surf Line, and a mass exodus of shapers left Surf Line to switch over to Bolt in 1978. Guys like myself, Dennis Pang, Rick Irons and a number of others, who had hung in at Surf Line, made the transition later on.
I'll gather up some more info and pass it along.

Attached is a shot of one of two boards Gerry built for the movie: "Big Wednesday"

Keep up the good work!


Randy Rarick

The Vintage Surfboard = The US Boardcollector

Chris from The Vintage Surfboard is a vintage Schroff fan like me.
I was lucky enough to get the oppotunity to meet him a few years ago at his place in Pasadena and drool over part of his collection.

He tortures me by sending me pics of boards for sale on Craig's list and the like such as this amazing Schroff Quad team board.

Check him out here.

Revealed: the long and short of surfing history.

A new documentary explores the feud over the shortboard's invention, writes Sacha Molitorisz of the Sydney Morning Herald

AT AGE 19, four years before he reshaped the sport of surfing with a handsaw, Bob McTavish had the darkest night of his life.

It was 1963. On his quest to find the perfect wave and shape the perfect board, McTavish surfed all day and slept in cars. The young drifter had no shoes and no wallet, just a board, a pair of shorts and a vague dream of surfing in Hawaii. Unfortunately, he had no cash for lunch, let alone international travel.

McTavish, however, was never bothered by obstacles or constraints. On a perfect early summer's afternoon, he was at Darling Harbour farewelling surfer mates bound for Oahu, when he seized the chance to stow away on the P&O liner Orsova.

The plan worked. After arriving in Honolulu 10 days later, McTavish surfed the monster swells of Sunset Beach for five blissful weeks until, two days before Christmas, he was arrested and thrown into jail.

"That was a real season of reckoning," McTavish recalls. "I'd made the choice to be a surfer, but there I was 6000 miles from home. It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I was thinking, 'Where are my mum and dad and my brothers and sisters? I've chosen this career to be a surfer, but have I done the right thing? Should I have stayed at school and knuckled down?"'

A few days later, McTavish was deported.

Luckily, his doubts washed away during his first session back in the Australian surf.

A new documentary Going Vertical: The Shortboard Revolution reveals that he went on to become perhaps the most important innovator in modern surfing.

In 1967 McTavish teamed up with George Greenough to develop the "Plastic Machine", an unusual beast with a V-shaped bottom that was short and fast. It proved to be the opening shot of the shortboard revolution, in which long, unresponsive planks gave way to modern surfing's abrupt turns and sharp cutbacks.

Well, so McTavish and his supporters contend. The Hawaiian Dick Brewer - a surfer and shaper with an equally formidable reputation - has other ideas. "The media made it perceived that the Aussies invented this whole thing," says Brewer in Going Vertical. "They didn't. It was basically a Brewer, Hawaii thing."

Since 1967 claims and counter-claims have swirled like white water. As well as interviewing McTavish and Brewer, who have been estranged rivals, Going Vertical quizzes their contemporaries in Hawaii and California and excavates archival material.

It features the testimony of revered Hawaiian Gerry Lopez, who watched McTavish riding a cut-down board during the 1967 Duke Kahanamoku invitational at Sunset Beach. "Everyone drew their breath at that moment. He drew a line on that board that no one still standing on a surfboard had ever drawn before ... That was the future of surfing," he says.

For McTavish, 65, still hooked on the buzz of a big swell, it's a vindication. "The shortboard was an Aussie invention," he says.

"I took the first shorter eight-foot boards to the Bells Beach Easter Classic in 1967. By the end of 1967 we Aussies en masse had fully ditched the longboard and all its trappings ... . That's at least six months before Brewer started cutting boards down.

"I saw Brewer cut his first one down in December '67. I urged him to cut it down. It was Gerry Lopez's own board, and he freaked. But it proved to be the board that kick-started the revolution in Hawaii."

These days, McTavish is a husband of 38 years and a father of five. At Byron Bay he runs McTavish Surfboards, where his son Ben is head shaper. He describes himself as a part-time surfer.

"I only surf when it's at least four out of 10 - that's about 300 days a year," he laughs. "This is a wonderful life we've got."

The film's producer, Robert Raymond, is also a keen surfer who lives in northern NSW. The director, David Bradbury, lives in the Byron Bay region and has a bodysurfer's respect for the swell. "It's [surfing] something that stretches them physically and, dare I say it, spiritually. It's about the way nature is much more powerful and can chew us up and spit us out."

Bob McTavish and Dick Brewer will attend the premiere of Going Vertical at George Street cinemas on Wednesday.

Can of worms.

Randy may have opened a can of worms by trying to clarify the details of the Lightning Bolts made with Gerry's signature.
Joe from New Jersey has sent me these pics of his Bolt.
It has serial number near the tail on the top of the deck: 215
So we need to work out if its an Hawaiian Unit 1, 2 or 3, US mainland, Australian, Brazilian or South African Bolt.

Nice board for New Jersey.
Speaking of New Jersey, which we were.......
My friend 'Financial Crisis Tim' has sent me some pics of his 'Snow Barrels' in New Jersey this week.

Where are they now?

I posted a photo from the OP Pro compeditors tent and wondered where those boards are now.

Rangi wrote-
I actually owned one of Occy's board from that period. I only have the top 12 inches now sitting in the shed.
My old man threw the bottom 3/4 out to the dump after it sat in the garage for so long.

i went to school with some kid who owned it and he knew i liked occy so he gave it to me. Liked was probably an understatement, i had two walls covered in surf mag cutouts of him surfing.
The board was beaten up and yellow. I spent months fixing it up and replacing a fin. In the end it even had car bog and car filler in the dings.

The problem was the glass was rather thin from all the sanding and i snapped it one day out at avoca beach while pig dogging in a small tube.
It sat in the corner of the garage in two bits until mum wanted the garage cleaned out.. so off went the board and all my tracks collection. I cried at the loss and even considered going to the local dump looking for it but dad said it would be buried by then. I imagine it would be a collectors item if i still had it.

It was shaped by Rusty Presiendorfer ( im sure it had his last name on the board, written for occy and was labelled as number 4. I take it that meant occys fourth model Rusty.
It had red fins. i think it had two and i had to replace one of the side ones. I am not exactly sure which period or contests he used this board but i do recall seeing some footage of occy out at some remote left hand Hawaiian reef break riding something that may have been it. The board had a red rusty logo and no other stickers when i got it.

I took an outline of the tail once and tried to copy the shape but it wasnt the same and never rode as good. Funny now, i see they do a reissue.
This thing was thick and wide.
i think well over 19 inches.
Square rails. super square edges at the bottom tail which sent off a nice spray on turns. It would pop out of he wave if you put a very hard turn in.
i think i saw that happen to occy too on the video. i think it actually had some vee running out from the back fin but was probably flat in front of the fins.

I recall in a magazine back from the day that the boards where "flat fat and forgiving".
I still have the nose and i will take a pic and send it to you if you like.
obviously its not for sale or anything but id like you to know about it, seeing as you asked what happened to these boards!



One thing though. i think it said not "for occy" but mark occhilupo.
the preseindorfer name is on the rice paper logo so maybe was not on the stringer/fin area.
i looked at some of the pictures on the net for the 84 copies and they dont have the same blockyness in the rails.
i guess he pulled them down a bit.

I worked out that i got this board in 1991. i dont know how long the guy that gave it to me had it or how he got it but he was from umina beach. he was from a broken home and i let him stay at my place, he saw my occy wall photo collage and said he had one of his boards..its beaten up, you can have it.
I couldnt believe he was telling the truth till i read the pencil.
You can see the red resin chop strand you buy for repairing car panels and the white paint that i ended up painting it all over.
more mojo than a beat up guitar.

On another note there was an Al Merrick Curren epoxy model that came out a few years after i got this board.
my mate got one that was gold spray like a gibson gold top.
i think by the shape of it that it was not moulded off one of the mid 80s boards though but probably a current 90s board.
i think they had a few pro model boards running at the time with the idea being that you could try one out at the surfshop before you buy.
The problem with those boards though was that they had wooden laminate that once it began splitting it would keep running up the rail.

Thanks for doing the website. I enjoy reading a bit of australian surfing/board history.


Lightning Bolt- The true story.

Just a heads up on the Lightning Bolts. They were licensed out to a variety of individuals, with "Pure Source Certified" licensees making them in California, South Africa, Australia and Brazil.
This is one of the California made ones, as it has the signature by Danny Brawner, who worked for Hobie, who had the license for the USA mainland and was most likely shaped by Mickey Munoz or Terry Martin. It is very rare to find an actual Gerry Lopez shaped one, and even in Hawaii, there were others shaping them under the authorization of Gerry and Jack Shipley who owned the Bolt label in the early formative days. During it's hey day of the mid to later 70's, over 30 different shapers pumped out Bolts: "The Most Frequently Tubed Surfboards in the World". They had three distinct categories at one stage, known as "Units", with the "name" surfer/shapers at the top category, the reliable shapers in the next category and the up-and-coming or journeymen shapers in the third category.

Unit 1: Gerry Lopez, Reno Abellira, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Tom Parrish, Jeff Hakman, Owl Chapman, Don Koplein Price: $190.

Unit 2: Rory Russel, Brian Hamilton, Tom Eberly, Peter Trombly, Wayne Santos, Robbie Burns, Cowan Chang, Bill Barnfield, Mark Angel Price: $175

Unit 3: Steve Walden, Russel Kim, Tom Nellis, Brian Hinde, Joe Blair, Bill Stonebraker, Tony Anjo, John Carper, Price $160

So, there are a lot of Bolts floating around out there and while everyone claims it is a "real" Gerry Lopez, only those in the know, really know!

Randy Rarick
Hawaii Surfing Promotions

Randy Rarick with a pile of vintage surfboards to be
auctioned at the International Hawaii Surf Auction- photo by FL Morris.

Oh my god! Part 1

Gavin is bringing the mother load of classics to the Deus / Boardcollector Surf Swap on the 10th of April.
This is an original 70's Lightning Bolt. It is a sweet white pigment 6'3" single in 8/10 condition; signed and "trademarked" as a Lightning Bolt - presumably from when the logo was being stolen and duplicated by so many, due to Lightning Bolts popularity and dominance at the time.