early longboard by John Hughes
Not surprisingly, I found simpatico with the deans of the old school of skate and surf at the ASR. Carson and Dale Smith of Skate Designs Skateboards staged an exhibition of classic racing boards as a backdrop to their line of contemporary cruisers. I was especially drawn to a vintage board built and raced by John Hughes in the mid-1970’s (above), and was reminded that the origin of the longboard is in achieving feats of pure speed. The desire to conquer the steepest hills inspired a generation of ‘shapers’ who designed and built their own boards, not unlike their big-wave counterparts in the surf world. Coincidentally, I had the good fortune of meeting the legendary surfer/shaper Greg Noll, who had several of his hand-shaped surfboards on display, some of which he now makes collaboratively with his son Jed. Seeing Greg’s beautiful work and lifelong dedication to the art of shaping confirmed that the best ‘brand’ is always authenticity.
Greg Noll surfboard in the traditional Koa