As I wrote about extensively early last year, I have a certain affinity for late '60s vee bottom surfboards. This affinity grew to near obsession levels a couple years back after seeing two boards at Bird's Surf Shed that really blew my mind - if for no other reason than their remarkably distinctive shapes: an 8'6" Challenger Micro Vee and an 8'0" Surfboards Hawaii. I eventually acquired the latter board from Bird, and I had a blast riding it at Swami's, Cardiff, La Jolla Shores, and around Pacific Beach. Since I've owned it, the board has been a constant conversation starter; surfing Cardiff one day, Joel Tudor looks at me and says "What are you riding?!" Another day I'm at Java Hut in Encinitas and former Surfer Magazine editor Steve Hawk walks in with a couple buddies and asks "Is that your vee bottom?" and begins laying down stories of the late '60s transition era.
Along the way I also picked up a brand new pair of the classic "Gutterless Roof Racks" to replace the ones that had served me so well on my old black Mercedes Benz that now belongs to Pier Moore, and before that on my previous gold Benz. These racks come with a cheap paint job that quickly fades to a nice rusty patina that doesn't affect their structural integrity, giving your vehicle the aura of a "seasoned veteran", so to speak...
So I put these new racks on my BMW, and right away I noticed that the rubber straps were nowhere near the quality of the straps that were still going strong on my old racks after ten years of use. Within a few weeks they started to crack and split, so I replaced them with new ones that I braided some paracord around just for extra peace of mind. I've had a couple of instances of boards flying off the car in the past, but always due to my own negligence (like forgetting to strap the board down at all... whoops!) Once you've experienced that feeling, it's not something you ever want to go through again if you can help it.
Click any image to see full size gallery
So anyhow a couple weeks back I had just surfed in PB and loaded two boards in bags onto the roof: my longboard and the Surfboards Hawaii, and jumped on the 5 southbound. I had not been on the freeway for more than a mile when there was a big "WHOOSH!" overhead, and that sickening feeling hit me once again like a ton of bricks. I quick glance in the rear view mirror revealed both of my boards spinning through the air, still attached to one of the racks!
I whipped over to the shoulder, threw it in reverse, and arrived at the scene just as a guy was dragging both of my board bags to the side of the road. Cars were stopped everywhere, but luckily no accidents occurred. As soon as the boards were out of the road, everyone sped off like nothing had happened, leaving me sitting on the center divide to assess the terror of what had just happened.
The first thing I noticed was that one of the buckles that held the front rack to the car's roof was missing. Closer inspection revealed that the metal loop that held this strap to the rack had just snapped! My previous racks had a stamped steel loop like the ones in the second photo, while the newer racks had what looked like a cheap pot metal belt buckle, and it had snapped in two... Not cool!
When I grabbed the bag with the vee bottom in it, I almost threw up. It sounded like a sack of rocks, as if the board had been shattered into pieces. I couldn't bear to look at it for a whole day. Trying to get to sleep that night was torture - visions of the board flying through the air kept flashing through my mind every time I started to nod off.
The next day when I finally found the gumption to open the bag and assess the damage, I must say I was somewhat relieved. The fin had been snapped off, and the fin box was ripped loose, but stringer wasn't snapped and the rest of the board was going to be repairable. There were some stress cracks across the bottom, a little buckling up near the nose, and a few gouges here and there.
The board is now at Joe Roper's shop, but being perenially broke, I can't afford the repairs. The whole point of launching Qustom is to rectify the whole "perenially broke" issue, but for now I need to get the repairs done properly by a pro, and I don't want money to be any object. For that reason I am launching this GoFundMe campaign, and all monies raised from it will go directly to Joe, so that he has no budget constraints and can concentrate on doing whatever it takes to bring this classic beauty back to full health.
The late '60s were a time of such rapid change in the surfing world that there are very few of these classic designs left to cherish. So, if you can pitch in a little to this effort, both Joe and I will be eternally grateful, not to mention the gods of surfing's history!
Aloha and mahalo,