Not all Stringers are created equally?


Before we start today. Today is a very special day in my life, a milestone.  I turn 65 today!  You know old guys really do RULE!!!!

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So about three months ago  I  was going through some old  surfboard price lists.  I saw something that I was not completely aware of?   The two terms, a solid wood center string and a inlay center shown as stock  options for new surfboards.  I knew that 99% of the popouts had inlayed stringers.  What I didn’t know that inlay stringers were surf technology of the sixties.  You might say a short cut in manufacturing the surfboard.  Coaching point:  we are talking about center stringers not curved outer stringers and or figure eight designs they were all inlayed!


The foam companies sold the foam blank.  No stringers were in the blanks as in today’s blanks.  The surfboard manufacturers had to cut and glue stringers into the blanks.  This required the manufacturer select kiln dried wood (for no moisture and natural oil in wood), cutting the strips of wood, possibly laminating as in T bands (T Band=Redwood-Balsa-Redwood or reverse T Band= Balsa-Redwood-balsa), Cutting the blanks and re-laminating blank and or stringer or stringers (side stringers).  This took additional time in the manufacturing cycles.  Now the companies that in layed the stringer simply routed out a 1/4 depth grove and glued the 1/4 strip of wood into the deck of the board and the bottom of the board.  Lots of pop outs simply colored the bottom and didn’t waste the time to inlay the botton to trick you!  The purpose of the stringer was for strength.  To take the flex out of the board to keep it from snapping in half.   Big waves were still no match for this technology.  Big Gun surfboards snapped a lot!  Obviously the inlayed stringers boards were not as strong.  Pop out manufacturers didn’t care, they saw themselves as a entry level product.  Besides if the board snapped in half you would have to buy another one! While the major surfboard manufacturers were more concerned about quality control. I also believe that they thought their, the major manfacturers, products were going to be challenged on bigger and better waves.   Money was the main thought for the Pop Out manufacturers rather than quality control or durability.


If you do not have a pop out, how are your going to know if the stringer is solid.  First, you could find an old price list and see what it says, solid or inlayed.  Or you could cut the board in half?  Not so fast,  my friend Tom Craig used to cut beater boards up for labels and make a display in his backyard.  He would seal ends and just show deck with logo.  Oh yes,  he found many manufacturers who said the stringer was solid wood and instead inlay.  as you can see, inlays cut some production time out of the price of the surfboard!  Probably not such a good idea if you only have one of that board to cut it in half.


No right or wrong answer here.  I was supprized to find a lot of companies inlayed center stringers just to increase production volume.  Remember demand was high.  Most custom boards were what they said they were.  But I am sure you have a comment and or story?  Always remember a picture with your reply is worth a 1000 words.


Keep Surfing   daCoach

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Vintage Surf T Shirts


Over the years a family joke and favorite teasing  by my surf buddies and coaching colleagues is “People Like the Noble Brothers, they give them things”.  I would like to think that Tommy and I are super friendly, generous and loyal people.  It is nice to be nice, and do we need more of that in  today’s world.  Things that are given to me or from a team  deal,  I believe it is important to pass the stuff on after I have enjoyed it.  You will find 100′s of items I have given away to big guys while traveling.  It is the right thing to  do!  Several of my buddies have taken old surf event t shirts and have them made into quilts.  A lot of people do that.  However, there are a lot of people who sell their old stuff.  There are people who love to wear old T Shirts.  There are just as many who collect Vintage Surf T shirts.  The are hundreds of dealers for Vintage Clothing,  especially T Shirts.


Let’s first review Vintage Surf Clothing.   Insects, moisture and washing are not friends of any vintage clothing.  A smart person has these items dry clean.   Yep, expensive to maintain your vintage clothing.  Museum have examples of vintage clothing in sealed cases,  a hint to how delicate they are.  While coaching football at Monterey Hight School we had to hang the football jerseys so they wouldn’t mildew off season! moisture evil.  So this stuff is worn and delicate.  You have issues to deal with if you choose to collect and or wear this stuff.



Some important T Shirt Collecting keys:  Give Away Shirts at the ball park/store/events are the most valuable,  shirts with date more valuable than without, and events that have stopped and or business no longer in business valuable.   Watch out for knock offs!  Know your T Shirt labels an Manufacturers.  Research old surf ads for prints on shirts.

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Dealers buy old clothes for as little as a dime.  Not many of the dealers I contacted paid more than $10 a shirt.  For a dealer to pay you $10 it would have to be never worn and in perfect condition or very special.  That is where and how you stored it comes into play.  Vintage clothing sales are sporadic.  So dealers have to sit  on this stuff.  Like you they have challenges storing items.   But, Yes,  they know and have customers/collectors that are constantly looking for these T Shirts.  These T Shirt that I researched vintages ranged from the 70′s to the 8o’s.  On Ebay all were dealers and had other Vintage Clothing items.  Starting bids ranged  from $20 to $120.  Older T Shirts listed most had no bids!  Condition ranged from New to Nice.  I couldn’t determine what nice met nor could I get a reasonable answer from dealers.


I have sold a Con Surf Team Penny’s Towncraft to a collector.   Sat on that shirt for 10 years.  I stored it in a vacuum sac bag!  Do you have any stories about Vintage Surf T Shirts?  Remember with your reply a photo says a 1000 words.


Keep Surfing, daCoach



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