pods for primates : a catalogue of surfboards in australia since 1900
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                        and decor
appendix : lam-art 
 decals : lam-art
Decal / sticker
usually a graphic logo or text indicating the manufacturer printed on rice paper and laminated onto the blank.
Decal is the preferred term.
In pre-factoy production times riders would often decorate their boards with paint, often a name in decorative
script, cartoon character or club logo.
In Australia the Surf Life Saving Club ‘Reel’ logo was popular.
First production logo credited to Outrigger Canoe Club (Hawaii) circa 1935
–paddle graphic over “O” branded into solid wood boards. Image 1.
Other variations included
metal medallion fixed by screws (circa 1940 – Tom Blake, (Hawaii),
laminated business card (circa 1947 x, USA),
external metal foil adhesive sticker (1960 Gordon Woods, Australia). Example : Image 2.
First rice paper decals possibly by Velzy-Jacobs (USA) circa 1955, first used in Australia by Scott Dillon circa
The Hobie decal, circa 1956, set a precedent in design, the highly stylized script  and framing. Image 2.
In Australia, Keyo was one of the manufacturers that adapted the theme. Image 4.
Professional surfing in the 1980’s saw a preference for clear boards and prominent positioning of sponsor’s

Shane Egan : Graphic Artist
Hi Geoff,

I tried to get in touch with you a couple of years ago when I first came across your web site.
It seems you were snowed under and backlogged and I never heard back from you.
Anyway I noticed the site has been updated recently so shall try again to offer my help.
First off I have a nice collection of pristine board decals that would instantly fill a lot of gaps.
Most of them are my art or my polished up, hand drawn, colour separations. LIST ATTACHED.
My input in the surf industry (late 60's till mid 80's +) included logo design, screen printing, hand drawn decals, design and colour separations for "Jim the Printer" of Brookvale, airbrush designs and murals, surfboard and fin design and shaping.
I also have an interesting collection of photographs of boards from that period as I worked with quite an array of great shapers.
Most works of mine were signed (one way or another) while many were not.
If I can be of any help in identifying and authenticating any decals, airbrush artworks or shapes please do not hesitate to e-mail.
Only too happy to be of service for such a project.
Hope to hear from you this time.
Shane Egan.
My small website:


Notes on Decor Features
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 brand 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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