Balsa and Fiberglass Surfboards

Newly applied sciences developed during the Second World War had been all but unimaginable in times prior. Brilliant surfers Bob Simmons and his then unrealized protégé’s Joe Quigg and Matt Kivlin, among others, led the charge towards experimenting with new materials.

During the latter part of the 1940’S came the ingenious mating of glass fibers wetted out with either epoxy or polyester resins over balsa that forever changed surfboard building. Among the earliest departures from the heavy surfboards was a wood and foam sandwich board built by Simmons during the mid 40s. By decades end, Simmons’ ‘Spoons’ had become a popular choice on California beaches. Circa 1950, Joe Quigg further developed the lightweight fiberglass board with the help of his close friend Matt Kivlin. The boards were referred to as ‘Malibu Chips’.

In late 1949 or 50, Dale Velzy opened what many regard as the first contemporary fashioned surf shop in Manhattan Beach.  Shortly thereafter, he opened shops in Hawaii and Malibu. In 1954 Velzy teamed up with fellow board-builder Hap Jacobs to create the Velzy-Jacobs label. Within 5 years they had shops in Venice Beach, San Clemente, San Diego, Newport Beach, Hermosa and Honolulu.

Hobie Alter began making surfboards in 1950, out of his father’s garage in Laguna Beach. He soon recognized an opportunity and opened a surf shop in Dana Point. Perhaps best known for his wave riding skills in huge surf, Greg Noll was also one of the earliest surfboard manufacturers, having commercially offered balsa in the mid 50s.

Others opened their own shops, including Gordon Duane’s Gordie Surfboards in 1956. Worth noting is Bob Shepherd, who learned the craft from Joe Quigg, and started making boards in Hawaii in 1959. Bob’s first boards had an ink stamp ‘Robert Shepherd – Sunset Beach (Hawaii)’. Soon after, he created the short lived label ‘Swimm Boats’.

Foam and Fiberglass Surfboards

It was Dave Sweet who first perfected the manufacturing process and introduced the urethane foam core surfboard in 1956- 1957 as a viable commercial offering.  Hobie Alter (of Hobie Surfboards) and Gordon Clark (of Clark Foam) were not far behind Sweet and brought their version to market several of months later.

With the advent of polyurethane foam, surfboard building moved into a new epoch. Surfboard blanks could now be molded then sold to surfboard builders, and in volume! The growth in the popularity of surfing, especially so in the early 1960s, was staggering, and foam core surfboards were able to meet that demand.

Popout Surfboards

During this growth period of the sport, several brands of low cost surfboards entered the marketplace and were referred to in derogatory slang  as “popouts”.  Often capitalizing on well known or famous surfers, shapers and even a catchy place or name, some of the more well known popouts include Velzy, Keoki, Duke Kahanamoku, Malibu and Royal Hawaiian. These boards were most often purchased by beginner or less informed surfers.  The boards were typically brightly colored and ornate to cover up the lower grade foams and fiberglass materials. The fins were often made of laminated mixed woods. Popouts accounted for only a very small market share and were typically sold through department and sporting goods stores outside of the mainstream circle of dedicated surf shops.

Popout boards were invented in 1959 by Robertson – Sweet Surfboards. A partnership between Hollywood actor, Cliff Robertson and Roger Sweet, the brother of foam surfboard manufacturing pioneer Dave Sweet.

A List of Popout Labels Include:

Acme, Bohemiam, Surfboards by Dale, Dextra, Diwain, Hawaiian Pipeline, Hawk, Healthways, Islander, Duke Kahanamoku, Keoki, Keyo, Lari Kai, Mako, Malibu, Newporter, Pacific Beach, Pacific Plastics, Phil, Plastic Mart, Robertson-Sweet, Royal Hawaiian, Sea-Jay Surfer, Seaking, Sealand, Seven Seas, Sportflight, Sportsways, Sting Ray, Surf City, Surf King, Surf Queen, Ten Toes, Tiki, Titan, Tyro, Vagabond, Velzy,  and Ventura

Model Surfboards of the Mid to Late 1960s

Bing Surfboards

  • Donald Takayama Model
  • David Nuuhiwa Noserider
  • David Nuuhiwa Lightweight
  • Pipeliner
  • Pipeliner – Island Semi
  • Pipeliner – Gun

Challenger Surfboards

  • Semi Aggressor
  • Bump
  • Aggressor
  • Affectianado LTD
  • Santa Cruz
  • Caster

Con Surfboards

  • Wingnose
  • Multi Board
  • Baja
  • Competition
  • Ugly
  • Steve Biggler Classic
  • Claude Codgen – C.C. Rider
  • Claude Codgen – C.C. Leightweight

Dave Sweet Surfboards

  • Noserider
  • East Coast Agressor
  • Step Model
  • Hustler
  • Flexer
  • Speedster

Del Cannon Surfboards

  • Total Involvement
  • Versatile
  • Swift
  • Ego Builder

Dewey Weber Surfboards

  • Herold Iggy Model
  • Concave
  • Gun
  • Pre Performer
  • Performer
  • Herold Iggy 67 Model
  • Feather
  • Stylist
  • Professional

Gordie Surfboards

  • Mark V
  • Noserider
  • Lizard
  • Middleweight

Gordon & Smith Surfboards

  • Mike Hynson Redfin
  • Mike Hynson Redfin Gun
  • Nose Riding Model
  • Stretch
  • Midget Farrelly Stringerless
  • Skip Frye Model
  • HY I
  • HY II
  • Hot Curl

Greek Surfboards

  • Eliminator
  • Liquidator
  • East Coast Special
  • Maui Model
  • Maui Pintail
  • Outlaw
  • Newport Special
  • The Association
  • East Coast Eliminator

Hansen Surfboards

  • Mike Doyle
  • 50/50
  • Powerflex
  • Master
  • Competitor
  • Superlite

Harbour Surfboards

  • Banana Model
  • Trestle Special
  • Cheater – Step Deck
  • Banana 67 Model

Hobie Surfboards

  • Phil Edwards
  • Nose Rider
  • Dick Brewer – Gun
  • Corky Carroll
  • Gary Propper
  • Multi Board
  • Joyce Hoffman Model

Holmsey Surfboards

  • Sidewinder
  • Kim Nielson Model

Jacobs Surfboards

  • Donald Takayama
  • Donald Takayama – Step Deck
  • 422
  • Lance Carson
  • New Shape
  • Mike Purpus Model

Morey – Pope Surfboards

  • Snub
  • Peck Penetrator
  • Blue Machine
  • AAA Eliminator

Greg Noll Surfboards

  • Slot Bottom
  • Miki Dora – Da Cat
  • Duke Kahanamoku Nollrider
  • Duke Kahanamoku Hawaiian Nollrider
  • Duke Kahanamoku East Coast Nollrider
  • George Downing
  • George Downing Gun
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Miki Dora – Da Cat – Fin Box
  • Stemwinder

O’Neill Surfboards

  • Danny Anderson Model
  • Intruder
  • Intruder II

Rick Surfboards

  • Noserider
  • Barry Kanaiaupuni
  • Dru Harrison Improvisor
  • UFO
  • D.B. Pintail

Surfboards Hawaii

  • Buzzy Trent Gun
  • Bonzai Board
  • Model A
  • Stylist I
  • Stylist II

Surfboards La Jolla

  • Superboard
  • Twin Pin
  • Vibration Model

Tanaka Surfboards

  • Ernie Tanaka Model
  • Featherweight

Velzy Surfboards

  • The Wedge
  • The Bump
  • Pig


  • Cheroot
  • Panatella
  • Invincible
  • El Producto
  • Sandpiper
  • Tiparillo
  • Equalizer
  • VIP Model

Yater Surfboards

  • Pat Curren Gun
  • Full Gun Model
  • Spoon
  • Nose Specializer
  • North Shoreline

Major Manufacturers During the Longboard Era of the 1950s and 1960s Include:

ACME, A.J. Surfboards, Allen, Steve Angus, Aqua Jet, Atlantic, Atlas, Aussie, Austin – Baird, Australian Surf Shop, Awareness, Barland, Bahne, Baja, Banzai, Dick Barrymore, Bay Surfboards, Beachcomber, Bellaire, Bendiksen, Bennett, Bing, BJ Surfboards, Blaker, Blue Cheer, Bohemian, Brad, Bragg, Brandon, Brown, Buck, Bunger, Boards by Bunn, Joey Cabell, Campbell, Del Cannon, Carbonell, Caster, Catri Surfboards, Central, Challenger, Challenger Eastern, Channin, Channin – Diffenderfer, Chapman Surfboards, Collier, Con, Copeland Surfboards, Corbin, Country, Creative Design, Creative Surfboards, Crestwood, Crown, Cunningham, Pat Curren, Surfboards by Dale, Dana, Duke Dana, Dale, Daytona Beach Surf Shop, DeGroot & Mason, Deese, Chuck Dent, Design I, Dextra, Mike Diffenderfer, Diwain, George Doolittle,East Coast Surfboards, Carl Ekstrom, Larry Felker, Flaherty, Fred Surfboards, Fry, Fuhrmann, Bill Fury Surfboards, Galt, Gordie, Gordon & Smith, Greek, Tom Hale, Jack Haley, Hang 5, Hannon, Hansen, Harbour, Haut, Hawaiian Pipeline, Hawk, Hawley, Hayden, Healthways, Hickey, Hobie, Holden, Hollinger, Holmsey, Paul Hunt, Hydroplane, Ike, Inter-Island, Islander, Jacks, Jacobs, Jeffrey – Dale, Jensen, Duke Kahanamoku, Kelp, Keoki, Keyo, King, Laguna Beach, Lari Kai, Joe Larkin, Leedy, Liddle, Lightning, Lindsey, Lisardi, Lyman, Makaha, Mako, Malibu, Manatee, Marlin, Maryland, Matador, Maui Surfboards, Micris, Miller, Mitchell Brothers, Mobley, Monarch, Morey, Morey – Pope, Moselle, Moyer, Mickey Munoz, Native, Nelson – Ekstrom, Newporter, Norsk, Greg Noll, David Nuuhiwa, Oahu, Oceanside, Ole, Olson, Olympic, O’Neill, OP, Owl, Pacific Beach, Pacific Coast, Pacific Beach, Petrillo, Phil, Pismo Beach, Plastic Fantastic, Joe Quigg, Ramsey Jay, Redondo Surf Shop, Reef Surfboards, Dusty Rhodes, Rible, Johnny Rice, Rick, Roberts, Robertson – Sweet, Rogers, Ron Surfboards, Ron John Surf Shop, Royal Hawaiian, Russell, Safari, San Diego Surf Shop, San Juan, Schuck, Scofield, Sea Cross, Seaking, Shaw, Shool, Skag, Ski & Dive, Small & Neves, Soul, Southbay, Southcoast, South Shore, Sportflight, Sportsways, Stewart, Sting Ray, Surf Africa, Surfboard House, Surfboards Australia, Surfboards California, Surfboards East, Surfboards Hawaii, Surfboards La Jolla, Surfboards Miami, Surfboards San Clemente, Surfboards Seaside, Surfco – Swarts, Surf Jet, Swarts, Sweeney, Dave Sweet, Donald Takayama, Tamarack, Ernie Tanaka, Ten Toes, Thrailkill, Tiki, Tilton, Titan, Travis, Vagabond, Sonny Vardeman, Velzy, Ventura Surf Shop, Voo Doo, Wallace, Wardy, Wave Riding Vehicles, Dewey Weber, Wetzel, Bob White, White Owl, Wilderness, Wilken, Windansea, Winterburn, Gordon Woods, Yater, Yount

For loads more information on vintage longboard era surfboards from the 1940s through 1967 and beyond, including hundreds of photos, each with detailed descriptions and values, see the chapter Longboard Era: Wood and Fiberglass and Foam and Fiberglass in The Ultimate Guide To Vintage Surfboards & Collectibles.

Buy- The Ultimate Guide To Vintage Surfboards & Collectibles.