The fourth biennial Quiksilveredition Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auction reached record heights this past Saturday, July 21st, with over $650,000 in sales and a 94 per cent sell through rate. By comparison, the previous Vintage Surf Auction, held in 2005, turned over $300,000 – a record at the time. A portion of sales from this year’s auction will be donated to the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation Scholarship Fund.
Surfboards – both foam and wooden – were the top performers, shattering records and far exceeding all pre-auction estimates. The 11-foot Buzzy Trent Model “Surfboards Hawaii” elephant gun from the 1960s, shaped by Dick Brewer, was the star of the show, closing at $33,000 – more than double its pre-auction estimate of $15,000 (pictured left).
“With only three of these boards known to be in existence, this was the equivalent of a car collector coming across a special edition handmade Ferrari,” explained auction producer Randy Rarick. Hot on the heels of the Buzzy Trent model was the highly prized, original, 5-foot, redwood “Alaia” board from 1895, that sold for $27,000. In all, the six wooden boards in the auction fetched in excess of $100,000.
“While many of the foam boards were collectible because of their notable shapers and riders, the wooden boards are highly desirable purely because of their historic significance,” explained Rarick. “They are true artifacts.”
Record-breaking prices were fueled by a stellar turnout of surf stars from the 1960s and ’70s, who were in attendance to auction off their own personal equipment. Among them were four-time world surfing champion Mark Richards, Pipeline Masters champions Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell (Hawaii), and ‘Sultan of Speed’ Terry Fitzgerald (Australia). All were very gracious in signing autographs and personally presenting their items.
Friday’s “Antique Roadshow”-style pre-appraisal was a harbinger of what was to come with hundreds turning out, waiting in line for up to four hours to have their gems and junk appraised by a panel of experts. The diamond discovery was a Pat Curren balsa surfboard from the late 1950s, brought in by retired Hawaiian Airlines pilot Mel Souza, who flew the airlines’ last DC3. The surfboard earned pride of place among Saturday’s main lots and sold for $7,500.
“The board was still in great condition and had a very cool story to it,” said Rarick. “Pat Curren was commissioned to make the board for a rental concession at the Outrigger Canoe Club, but being a shaper of high-performance boards, it was too narrow and thin to do well for a novice renter. That’s how this gentleman came upon it and bought it back in the ’60s.”
Rarick says it’s too early to know if he’ll be prepared to host another auction in two year’s time, but promised he will never say “never”. “Honestly, I’m overwhelmed,” Rarick said. “This auction was so incredible. It was a shock to me how it turned out. It was a huge job but the amount of satisfaction to be gained from an event like this is unbelievable. It was an experience for all – bidders, sellers, as well as myself.”
To view all final results from the auction, please visit hawaiiansurfauction.com