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Big wave bidding
Modern popularity has not dimmed
Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf AuctionEvents: Display opens 11 a.m. Saturday; silent auction and book signing 2 to 4:30 p.m.; main auction 5 to 9 p.m.
Place: Blaisdell Center Pikake Room
Featuring: Surfers such as Nat Young, Fred Hemmings, Ricky Grigg and Mike Doyle; surf writers Stuart Coleman, Sandy Hall, Dale Hope, Tim De LaVega and others
Web site: www.hawaiiansurfauction.com
And surfers are no different from other sports enthusiasts when it comes to collecting artifacts. So it's no surprise that Randy Rarick is marking his fourth year hosting the annual "Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction" Saturday. He expects the event will attract hundreds of potential buyers, most from the mainland, who want to take home "a little bit of Hawaii in every item." Last year's event raised more than $500,000. This year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association's Junior Guard Program.
The auction will offer surf memorabilia, Hawaiiana and surf collectibles, and will feature a variety of classic pieces such as vintage wood boards from the 1930s, surf art from the '40s, balsa boards from the '50s, "Golden Age" collectibles of the '60s, a Gerry Lopez board from the mid-'70s and one of the first Simon Anderson "Thrusters" of the early '80s.
Rarick has classified 100 items, most from Hawaii, into "sets." Surfboards are categorized by eras representative of design changes, primarily from the longboard to shortboard eras. This includes some late-'60s shapes that are so bizarre and mostly un-surfable that they beg to be appreciated. (Another 100 items will be up for bid in a silent auction preceding the main event.)
Other items are pegged to events, people or places, with themes such as Outrigger Canoe Club trophies and photos, posters, Makaha International Surf Contest banners, magazines, John Severson paintings, "The Endless Summer" film, Duke Kahanamoku, 1940s and 1960s classics, Eddie Aikau and "Old Art and Literature."
Attendees would probably pay just to have their photos taken with several heart-stopping auction items.
"A board is valuable when it has really good (history)," Rarick said. "And in this year's auction, it's probably Gerry Lopez's 'Big Wednesday' Lightning Bolt board."
Some surfboards have been extensively restored, most by Rarick, while some remain in original condition.
That would include Lightning Bolt boards, which in the '70s were described as "the most tubed boards in the world."
A 1975 Pat Rawson-shaped 7-foot Lightning Bolt Stinger design might sell for as little as $500 at auction, but the star of the Bolt auction quiver, Rarick said, is the red, 8-foot-1 board that Gerry Lopez shaped and rode in the film "Big Wednesday." Its pre-auction estimate price is $10,000 to $15,000.
Lopez dedicated the board to actor Jan Michael Vincent, signing it with the words "Lopez for J.M. Vincent."
Perhaps the most collectible boards in the world are Malibu master Mickey Dora "Da Cat" models shaped by Greg Noll. The 10-foot-5, black-topped board in this auction was shaped in 1965, making it one of the first "Cat" models. Rarick restored this board, which has an estimated price of $3,500 to $5,000.
A big-wave 9-foot-5 "gun" shaped by Bing Copeland, circa 1969, "is an incredible find," says Rarick, who guesses it will fetch $2,000 to $4,000. "It was ordered by Duke Boyd, who created the Bing ads and is the founder of Hang Ten surf wear. The board was ridden in the giant 1969 swell at Makaha and Waimea Bay by Rolf Aurness, and in the 1969 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational."
The board belonged to Jack Shipley, manager of the Hobie shop in Honolulu. When the shortboard revolution hit, Shipley took his Phil Edwards longboard balsa, tore the fiberglass off and took the blank to Edwards to reshape. It might be the only such transition balsa in existence. Pre-auction estimate: $5,000 to $7,500.
Dick Brewer-designed boards carry the highest overall prices, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
But surfboards are just part of the auction. Posters are prominently featured, including a complete 22-year set of Triple Crown of Surfing posters, expected to sell for as much as $2,000 each.
Other items up for grabs:
» A 1960s United Airlines Surf Hawaii travel poster; $800 to $1,250, with the names of popular Oahu surf spots. The poster never went into wide circulation because the spelling of Laniakea was incorrect.
» A complete set of the Surfers Journal, about 50 magazines; $1,500 to $2,000.
» A curious "Evolution of Board Sports" museum-quality miniature by master modeler Malcolm Wilson showcases the evolution of the surfboard and its 20th-century relatives: skateboards, skim boards, snowboards and hybrids. It's handcrafted and handpainted in exact detail, using the same materials -- redwood, balsa, koa, foam -- as the real things. Estimate: $7,000 to $10,000.
» Framed set of "Eddie Would Go" bumper stickers, 20, from the introductory black version thorough the "Eddie Went" series; $1,500 to $2,000.
» Three Makaha International Surfing Championships street banners. The banners had been stashed away for 35 years; $3,000 to $4,000.
» An original "The Endless Summer" movie poster for the 1966 Honolulu showing; $750 to $1,500.
The show, which is on a seven-city world tour, celebrates the surf/music symbiosis of the late '70s and '80s. It opened Friday in Tokyo.
The exhibition is free. A 21-and-older party will take place poolside from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., with $10 cover.
The exhibit includes two custom-shaped twin-fin boards from each of the era's most influential shapers, including Mark Richards, Ben Aipa, Bob Hurley, Al Merrick, Lance Collins, Shawn Stussy, Peter Schroff and Spider Murphy.
Each board's deck was given to an artist of the punk scene to apply artwork.
Artists include the Dead Kennedys' album artist, Winston Smith; Los Angeles punk-scene photographer Edward Colver; Circle Jerks' Keith Morris; Hysteric Glamour's Stephen Jay-Rayon; Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Clark; TSOL's Jack Grisham; the Ramones' "fifth" band member, Arturo Vega; Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh; the Surf Punks' record album artist, Tommy Steele; and some of Hurley's most respected artists and friends, including skater Kris Markovich, Joe McElroy, Bradie Shemke, Jo Jo Whitmarsh, Thad Matson, Dean Bradley and Buffmonster.
With the birth of a new sound -- crass, hard and rebellious -- in the late 1970s, the music favored by surfers triggered the development of a new way of surfing.
Drawing from the raw, nihilistic tunes of such bands as the Sex Pistols, Circle Jerks and the Clash, surfers needed a louder, more radical instrument, a board that slashed and thrashed a wave, went against the grain and the lines of the water, and found it in the twin-fin.
From Honolulu the show moves on to New York (July 29 and 30), San Francisco (Aug. 5 and 6), Los Angeles (Aug. 12 and 13), Costa Mesa, Calif. (Aug. 18 and 20, at Hurley headquarters) and San Diego (Sept. 9 to 11).