A brief look into “vintage” surfboards.
What Were the First Surfboards Made Out of?
The first surfboards were made out of solid wood, from either trees sources locally or ones that had washed up on shore.
Wood was the primary surfboard construction method for quite a while. Even after surfing spread from Hawaii to California, design progressed from solid wood to hollow wood constructions and experimenting with lighter woods like Balsa.
Polyurethane foam boards were introduced in the ‘50s and set surfing on a progression course it hadn’t experienced before.
When you think of a vintage surfboard, I think the earliest iterations of foam and fiberglass boards probably come to mind with names like Bing, Hobie, Noll, and Velzy.
Vintage Surfboard Styles
Vintage surfboards would probably be classified as what most people would consider longboards. Boards were in the 9’ to 10’ length range with pretty similar outlines.
Many vintage boards had a mostly parallel outline shape with a square tail, round nose, single fin, fairly uniform width throughout, and little to no rocker.
Vintage Surfboard Fins
Vintage surfboards were pretty much exclusively single fins. Classic longboards had a single D fin fixed near the back of the tail. The D fin remained the standard up until the 60s.
Greg Noll’s classic chopstick single fins are a great example of a vintage-style D fin. They featured a chopstick glassed into the fin diagonally.
Retro Surfboard Art
Vintage surfboards have a very specific feel to them – bold colors, clean pinlines, simple shaper logos, customization of stringers.