‘’In 1964 Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith began using a combination of maple wood and fibreglass reinforced epoxy to create what is generally considered to be the first laminated skateboard deck. As the 1960s came to a close skate decks featured multiple colour designs and more closely resembled surfboards in both look and material than they did at the start of the decade.’’
I’ve been collecting and restoring vintage 1970s FibreFlexes for a couple of years. I have fond memories of these decks, having owned one back in 1977 when I was a kid. I remember skating it so hard that it eventually broke in half! Skateboards, like surfboards, by their very nature are meant to be used until they are eventually broken or destroyed, but today any surviving vintage skateboard in good condition will fetch big money on Ebay.
The rarest one I own is a FibreFlex Hotdog model. Dennis Allgeier, a fellow collector in the States, who incidentally has the only other Hotdog model known to have survived helped me identify it. He also kindly sent me some of his reproduction decals to finish of the restoration. This deck dates from around 1975 and it originally had the 3-hole truck drill pattern, but it was badly re-drilled at some point to fit 4-hole trucks. These were filled and the nose and tail were rebuilt with fibreglass. The deck was then sanded, lacquered, polished and replacement rubber grip tape applied.
The Hotdog deck is pretty small by todays standards. It’s 23-3/4” long and 5-3/4” at its widest point. The deck is maple/epoxy sandwidged between 2 layers of bow tuff fibreglass (which is the same material used in crossbow construction) and is completely flat with a dove tail. I’ve set it up with NOS (New Old Stock) Precision trucks, homemade cork risers and Power Paw wheels.
G&S advert from the
summer of 75 (vol 2, issue 1) Skateboarder magazine. In the vol 2 issue 3 Skateboarder it’s referred to as the 24” Hotdog model.
This is the only other known surviving FibreFlex Hotdog model owned by fellow collector Dennis Allgeier in the States.
My second completed restoration is a FibreFlex Freestyle model from around 1978. This board was lightly used, then stored in a barn for 30 odd years. As a result, the inner ply was almost completely destroyed by woodworm, but both layers of Bow tuff were left intact. The only remedy was to split the deck in half and remove all the dead wood. The next stage was to replace with new wood and fibreglass it back together while carefully re-creating the slight kicktail.
The deck was trimmed to its original shape, then lightly sanded, lacquered and polished. The decal on the deck is original, as is the glitter grip tape. The dimensions are 28-3/4’’ x 6-1/2’’ and it’s set up with the old 4-hole pattern Tracker Midtrack reissues, NOS gel risers and Road Rider 4 reissues.
I have 2 other FibreFlexes I’m currently restoring/finding parts for: a 28’’ Pro Slalom model and a 25’’ FibreFlex Kicktail model. To see these and more of my completed restorations, go to: http://pinterest.com/markmayers/vintage-skateboards/
G&S rider Huck Andress circa '78.
Thanks very much to Mark for sharing his Fibreflex passion with us, and showing the amazing results he is getting in his restorations of beat up old boards. Mark has contributed to the blog in the past, mainly with photos of him growing up surfing in west Cornwall in the late 70s and early 80s. Cheers Mark !