Vintage Surf meet 2019 coming soon !

Vintage Surf meet 2019 coming soon !
Free to take part
We buy interesting old boards 60s/70s/early 80s in good condition. Email . Also wanted - Surfing UK , British Surfer and Surf Insight magazines .
Above photo - copyright Rennie Ellis photographer archive

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Occy and Aipa

Gavin came round last week with a couple of interesting 80s boards he picked up in Hawaii many years ago. A Town and Country stinger by Ben Aipa (1986) , and a Mick Zeh Crouteau channeled thruster from 1988 made for none other than Occy.The T&C has been awaiting restoration for years but is in good condition otherwise with the original gloss coat. A couple of classic boards; Gavin knows a bit more about their history -

With my good friend Rob i spent the winter/spring of 1988 living in Lanakai (Robs older brother Dave Cordell, at the time, was one of the UKs top windsurfers and had moved out to Hawaii) and surfing all over Oahu but mainly the North Shore (small days admittely).

The 6ft10 Ben Aipa was the board I bought when we first got there, from the T&C shop in the Ala Moana shopping mall. As you'll gather from the Surfer ad Aipa was revisiting the stinger concept. When i dug the board out of storage a month or so back I was struck by the huge V running pretty much full length, actually quite keen to get this one back in the water to see how it rides with 23 years more surfing perspective.

Anyway, I rode it for a few months before it became a victim of the shoredump at Ehukai (the break next to Pipeline) coming in from a session. Not a very glamorous ending! Its been in storage ever since waiting for the right guy to restore and repair it, and after a chat with renowned ding fixer-upper Coxie from it will be heading his way sometime soon.

The other T&C, also 6ft10 I bought for $50 to keep me going. The board now sits in Robs garage (i'd love to get it back, but can't yet persuade him to sell it to me).

The Great White I bought new from Staight Up Surfboards Hawaii, it was just sat in their showroom. The story the guys told me was that It had been made for Occy but he did'nt like the look of it. Certainly Occy did ride some Zeh Croteau boards in the 88/89 period as there was a picture of him, possibly in France, riding one in Surfer (can't find it) or Surfing around that time.

The winter of 88 was the period of Occy's melt down where he became, according to Derek Hynd in Surfer Vol 30 no 4 (April 89), 'another victim of surfing's neo-rock-n'-roll generation' as he 'burned his good credit on the North Shore' and 'reached the outer limits of his excesses.'

The scan (Divine photo) i've attached is from the Hawaiian Winter of '88 issue of Surfer, the caption reads... Marck Occhilupo's 87/88 North Shore prescence was spotty, indeed the state of Occy was a hot subject this winter. The theory has it that after five non-stop go-arounds on the World Tour the boy wonder's spirit has been anesthetized. When Occy did have the feeling, however, his surfing was as dazzling as ever and all theories were crushed.'

The connection with Zeh Croteau, which i only found out whilst digging through stuff for this email, is that Croteau was a mentor of Rusty so poss thats the connection that led him to this shaper as Hynds '89 article reports that in the 87/88 season Occy was not happy with his boards that winter.

Mick (Mike) Zeh Croteau himself was a local of the North Shore, Oahu, Santa Cruz and La Jolla. Known and celebrated worldwide for his shaping that spanned over 45 years, he was originally a protege of master shaper Dick brewer. Mick was known for consistently creating innovative and cutting edge progressive designs. One of his boards, with distinctive bulls eye logo, can be seen under the arm of Shaun Tomson in Five Summer stories.

Occy north shore 1988

hawaiian boards... when they were fresh in the garden at lanakai where me and my mate Rob lived in a tent. the other 'complete' T&C is 6ft10 and sits to this day gathering dust in Rob's garage. 'Rob, sell it back to me!!'

Ben Aipa ad from Surfer mag '88.
Thanks to Gavin


  1. Iv managed to get hold of one of Occys old boards,its one of his Straight Up boards shaped by Carl Schaper it looks exactly like the one on the cover of The Green Iguana and the same as him surfing Kirra on?

  2. Iv managed to get hold of one of Occys old boards,its one of his Straight Up boards shaped by Carl Schaper it looks exactly like the one on the cover of The Green Iguana and the same as him surfing Kirra on?