pods for primates : a catalogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
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Return to Design
                        and decor
appendix : decor 
 decals : lam-art
standard decor designs
Clear, or
Natural, in the case of timber boards

Solid Colour
or Colour
See # 99
Script or Text 
Early use,usually to identify rider. 
See # 204
Logo or Image or Graphic
See # 80
Early use of Surf Life Saving Club logo in Australia.
Note branded Outrigger Canoe Club logo, See # 105
Pin Lines (indented)
Early use for decor, with advent of fibreglassing used to cover rail lap cut.
See # 26
Rail Overlap
Usually in conjunction with solid colour on opposite side.
See # 144
Note sprayed false rail overlap in late 1980s. 
Full Deck or Bottom Panel
Deck Patch
Often reinforced (Volan) fibreglass patch for knee paddling
See # 26
Nose Patch
Became prominant with nose riding contests in the 1960's, often applied with Slipcheck.
See # 74
Tail Patch
Often reinforced (Volan) fibreglass patch.
1980s saw introduction of adhesive rubber grip patch .See # 133
GT Stripe
(Multi stripe)
Racing Stripe, left
(Multi stripe)
See # 34
See 37 and # 33
See # 109
Cigar Band
Offset Band
See #  73
Offset Cigar Band
Rail Panels
Indented Rail Panels
See #  23
Two Tone
Offset Two Tone
See # 206
Nose Oval
Nose Circle
Usually used on bottom to highlight concave nose
See # 80
Larry Bertleman, 1978
See #  58
Lightning Bolt
Gerry Lopez, 1972
See # 90
See # 40
Wide Rail Foil
Originally on 1969 Mini guns, reprised 1978 by Simon Anderson for his Energy label.
See # 95
Offset Foil
See # 106
Split Wing
See # 84
Half Wing, Left.
Offset Wing, Right
Tom Carroll 1976.
First notable use by Herbie Fletcher circa 1976. Also Bob McTavish' Bluebird Surfboards, 1976
Animal Hide -Tiger/Zebra
Jerry Lopez, circa 1980.
Notes on Decor Features

In the period before European occupation of Hawai'i, given that board design was not standard and the individual grain and colour (sorry, color) of timber boards, it is likely that any group would be clearly aware of the identity of the “owner” (note that pre-occupation many items were held in common), and posibly the shaper, of all the boards that comprised the local quiver.
Across Polynesia, the canoes of the Hawaiian Islands were noted as being the most utilitarian with a minimal use of decoration and this was likely to be similar in surfboard construction.}

From evidence of the earliest photographs of the resurgence of Hawaiian surfing in the 1900's, riders have added decoration to their boards. This initially was as simple as the use of painted text  to identify the owner, as many photographs of the Kahanamoku Brothers illustrate. Invariably these were positioned at the sweet spot, for obvious asthetic reasons, and this is common to the present day.
This was to expand with the use of more elaborate script and graphic images and by the 1930's decorated boards were common and were precusors to the decal - a specific text/image to identify the board builder/manufacturer.
As boards were made of wood (solid or hollow) this was either painted, branded or an affixed metal plate.
The use of a regular branding iron for the boards of members of the Outrigger Canoe Club, Honululu is probably the first example of such marking.
Examples of metal plates and adhesive stickers identifying Tom Blakes Hollow design date from around the same period, although manufacturing details were usually at the tail of the board, again a tradition still prevelant today.
In Australia the use of logos (often the Life Saving Reel) indentifying the board with a Life Saving Club was common.

Although  boards were usually easily identified by the inherent unique characteristics of the timber,  the use of full colour paint was not unknown, although this may have also been used for waterproofing.
More common was the painting of graphic images or the use of paint to highlight the design.
The use of 'pinlines' - a line that shadows the template outline - being another early design, that would come into it's own with the introduction of fibreglassing in the 1950's.
By the 1960's several designs, particularly the use of stripes and bands, were virtually standard.
With the introduction of foam and the development of sophisticated fibreglassing techniques other designs such as deck and nose/tail patches were adopted.
The use of pigments and tints to produce decor of high quality became an intricate and demanding process, an art form that vitually disappearred in the 1970's when colour was applied with a spray gun directly onto the foam blank.
The use of the spraygun was to quickly expand the limits of decor imposed by the standard use of tints and pigments, in Australia notably in the much copied work of Martin Worthington ay Terry Fitzgerald's Hot Buttered Surfboards, circa 1972 - see # 104.
Although the use of spray opened the boundaries of decor design in many cases it simply reprised earlier devloped designs, while reducing production demands.

 In the 1980's with the professionalism of surfing, colour decor virtually disappeared from the majority of boards and the prominant positioning of "sponsors" decals became standard.
Other developments such as the use of acrylic spray to replace the gloss/finish coat and the application of spray paint onto the glassed board (as opposed to onto the foam blank) further reduced production difficulties - if the colour design was not right it could be sanded off and redone.

In the late 1990's colour began to reappear as a desired decor feature, particularly with the resurgence of Malibu models that were similar in dimension to boards of the 1960's.

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