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This is Part 3 of Joe Quigg: Design Alternatives

Tommy Zahn surfing the famous Darrylin board at Malibu in 1947. The first lighter board featuring a modern bottom and rail rocker with a slightly kicked tail. Photo: Joe Quigg Collection

Quigg · Tandem Surfboard

‘Robin Grigg, Aggie Quigg’s friend from Sunday school, used to go with Peter Lawford, the young Hollywood star (and relative of the Kennedy family) who lived just up the beach. Lawford adored the surfing crowd and often stuck around for the barbecues thrown by Quigg and his surfing buddy Matt Kivlin. They’d boil lobsters and break out cases of beer. Now and then Lawford brought one girl who just sat on the sand. “So one time we said, ‘God, Peter, who’s that gal?’ “She’s so white!” It was Marilyn Monroe.

Joe Quigg and Barbara Cooper, surfing tandem at Rincon in 1947. Photo: Joe Quigg Collection

Early ’50s Quigg Girl’s model · Croul Family Collection

Longtime Sano family local, Bob Lombard’s mom had Quigg shape this board made for her which she rode during the fifties at breaks like Sano. This was the first board that a young ”Bobby” would ride almost a decade later in the early 1960s. It resided for a period in Willard ”Senator” Luton’s rafters and was almost forgotten but was brought to Bobby’s attention instead of ending up in the dump.

Aggie Bane (Quigg) was one of a handful of female surfers who surfed Malibu in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Photo: Joe Quigg Collection

Quigg · 10′ Balsa surfboard with glassed-in fin · SHACC Collection

Joe made this board in his Newport Beach Shop in the early 60’s.

Aggie (Bane) Quigg, circa mid 1950s. Photo: Joe Quigg Collection

Quigg · 10′ Girl’s Malibu Chip · SHACC Collection

Made of balsa wood with a glassed in fin. The board was made for a woman who was in med. school and her mother, an art teacher at Punahou School in Hawaii, painted a skeleton on the deck for her. This board appears on page 80 of “Surf’s Up” by Mark Blackburn.

Quigg · Early Girl’s Malibu Chip model

”Went out to Joe Quigg ‘s yesterday and took the board. What a stoke! He lit up like a little kid and at 93, that is saying something! He clarified, that when he made the board for Jane Wyllie, it was just clear. It turns out Jane’s mom, is the one who painted on the skeleton, since her daughter was a medical student. Said it was either 1948 or 1949, he couldn’t remember for sure what year. The board has sun cured 2 oz. cloth and he said they went to bigger fins after using this template as they needed more holding power. Said that it was a really good example of the ‘girl’s boards’ that he was making at the time and that once the men started to try them, everything changed!” — Randy Rarick

Miki Dora at Sunset, 1965 · Photo: Leo Hetzel

Quigg · Buzzy Trent Gun later owned by Miki Dora · SHACC Collection

Born in Budapest, Hungary to Miklos and Ramona Dora (who soon divorced), his stepfather, the great surfer Gard Chapin, introduced Miki to the ways of the ocean and a life at the beach. Dora was a worthy student and an excellent test pilot for the surfboard Chapin bought him. “Chapin was one of the few guys who instantly recognized that my pintails would work,” Quigg recalls. “I got ridiculed and (Bob) Simmons laughed at them, but Chapin got one, and he bought one for Miki, and that was his first surfboard.”

Jim “Wildman” Fisher at Makaha in 1954 on another Quigg gun shaped for Buzzy Trent. Joe would later give the board to Miki Dora who called it “the best board he ever rode!” Dora then gave the board to Renny Yater, who in turn donated it to SHACC in 2005. Photo: Joe Quigg Collection/The Surfer’s Journal

Quigg · 10′ Chambered Balsa

Purchased from “Pal” Al Nelsen, this is a chambered balsa, hollow construction, with a redwood diamond shaped nose block added by Nelsen. Tail section was later modified with slight vee-bottom and a modern mahogany fin. Decals on both the deck and bottom were most likely added when Joe Quigg had his shop in Newport Beach in the 1960s.

The Grey Ghost · Hot Curl model · SHACC Collection

Bob Cooper had Joe Quigg rough shape this at his shop in Newport Beach. Bob then glassed it, up at Yater’s shop in Santa Barbara since he was working for Renny at the time. The triple glass was done to add weight, making it feel more like wood (since the board was made from foam).

Cooper said it worked well under the proper conditions, ‘A steep face, an offshore wind thing, so that the face of the wave actually conformed with the shape of the rail, and that’s how it would hold because of the drag. If you look at the rail line, everything is rolled all the way out. The wave had to be straight with that sort of confirmation in the top, and you could pull it up, and you had to stall it, and you know, baby the thing until you got it into place, and it would suddenly go ‘klunk!’ and start planing, and pretty soon you were going really fast.” Phil Edwards borrowed and rode this board and got it pretty wired.

–Bob Cooper, summer 1976

Phil Edwards · Photo Bev Morgan Collection/SHACC

”I did ride that hot curl board on and off for about a year, mainly Swamis and Oceanside pier.

I considered it more a boat hull than a surfboard, and it was a challenge to ride.  But I forced myself just to see if I could do it. Because it didn’t have a fin it potentially was really fast, but still pretty unmaneuverable.  More often than not I rode it to the beach and just jumped off!”

–Phil Edwards, October 1, 2018

Quigg · Tommy Zahn’s Racing Paddleboard. Croul Family Collection Collection

Quigg · Tommy Zahn with Quigg Racing Paddleboard

Joe Quigg built the last in a series of three hollow paddleboards in August, 1956. Many aficionados feel them to be the “Stradavari” of their genre. Quigg considered #3 (pictured above) the best. Measuring 18’8″ in length by 17″ in width, this 23 lb. wonder is an amazingly complex, continuously curving form incorporating no flat areas or straight lines. Original owner, Tom Zahn, won the Catalina/Manhattan Pier races in ’58 and ’60 on it, setting a record which stood for years. The impeccably crafted balsa skinned hull is so thin and delicate that when placed in front of the sun, you can clearly see the shadows of objects on the other side. Hold it and you become aware of its precise balance. Place it in the water and you experience the sheer perfection of its glide and overall hydrodynamics. — The Surfer’s Journal

Quigg on a racing paddleboard in Hawaii

Quigg & Kivlin · The Malibu Perpetual Trophy Board

“I don’t remember too much about the Perpetual board.  What I notice about it now is the lettering Quigg carved on it for days to get it right. Of course, with Quigg, whatever he puts his mind to he usually does well. This board is a nice thing, a remembrance of a time and place.” Matt Kivlin

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL rates surfboards as being amongst the top ten collectibles. Invasive mainstream appropriation like this usually fosters introspection in the ranks. Our simple vehicle has been transformed into a certified investment opportunity. Surf City’s Main Street is morphing into Wall Street. It makes sense at this point to examine the historification process.

The case under consideration is redwood, 8’8″ long. 19″ wide in the nose (24″ down); 20″ wide at the mid-point, 11″ wide at the tail (12″ up) and 3 1/4″ thick. The Malibu Perpetual Surfboard is one that got away and came back again. It is an instantly recognizable icon. Many rate it being one of the most desirable boards on earth. Excellence is as difficult to achieve as it is rare.

What becomes a legend most? This one started as a thousand-year-old redwood tree. In the 1930s was felled milled and pieces of it became a plank surfboard in Santa Monica Canyon. Around 1948 Matt Kivlin and Joe Quigg were building some hot curl demonstration boards to help convey what was going on in the Islands. The old plank was recycled by Kivlin into replica of Rabbit Kekai’s Queens board. It was a sinker the boys put aside and moved on. Later when trophy was required for the two-mile Big Rock Paddling Race to be held on Sunday. September 11, 1949, abandoned hot curl project was requisitioned. Quigg carved the inscription and thusly the tree turned product turned surfboard turned hot curl turned into a trophy. How it evolved into a thing of supreme veneration is a further story. Zahn won it on opening day and Joe captured it in ‘50 and ’51. Quigg returned to Hawaii and lost track of it.

Three decades later, a worker was cleaning up a pile of weathered scrap wood in Palm Springs, California. One shape in the trash heap caught his eye, so he turned it over and found the long forgotten incised carving. The fellow brought the board to Reynolds Yater stating, “I know it means something, you should have it.” Rennie eventually reunited the board with Zahn, and the lost artifact which became firewood became restoration project. Towards the end of his life, Tom Zahn asked Pete Noble if he’d be interested in owning the Malibu Perpetual, and the trophy board was elevated into the centerpiece of one of the premiere surfboard collections anywhere.

There is no denying that this object is a superbly sculptural aesthetic statement which survived an unbelievably hazardous and circuitous route to the present. What makes the Malibu Perpetual board stand apart from others is that its creation revolved around the correct cast of characters. In its building, we encounter the circle of the post war Californian/ Hawaiian interface at work. In a sense, this wooden vessel is representative of the pre-contact impetus of the ancients as interpreted by Kelly and Heath and advanced by the “empty lot,” Queens, Kuhio Beach and Waikiki Tavern crews merging with the Pacific Coast clan as articulated by Peterson, Harrison, Blake and Simmons and carried out by the Malibu irregulars.

The fact that the Santa Monica Malibu theorists also interjected fins, fiberglass and balsa into the interaction served as a revolutionary accelerator. Zahn was the individual who got Rochlen, Quigg and Kivlin to come over to Oahu. In a feverish couple of years of innovation and cross-pollination, these were the guys who established the future we all now live in. So what’s all this nonsense about investment potential?

“Simmons was like a missionary who traveled the coast promoting his ideas. He was a catalyst for all of us. I loved Bob Simmons and deeply wish he was here, I miss talking to him. Matt and I both built boards with Simmons and occasionally he’d get upset over how we did things or the personal boards we’d build. My concepts deviated from Bob’s so much that there was a time when he quit speaking to me. If we did anything, we helped evolve a board that worked all around. The Malibu boards weren’t San Onofre boards nor were they planks or hot curls. One thing is certain, after we pulled in the tails, got the weight down and the fins right, no one ever built monolithic planks again.”—JOE QUIGG

The above excerpts are from The Surfer’s Journal, volume 5, number 2.

Tommy Zahn and Joe Quigg with the Malibu Perpetual Trophy Surfboard. Photo: Tommy Zahn/Croul Family Collection

Quigg · Early ’60s model with High-Density Foam Fin Tony Geria Collection

Tony Geria had never really considered collecting surfboards until one day 30 years ago when a beautiful Joe Quigg-shaped board ”landed in my lap.” ”There was a guy at work who said he had an old longboard he’d sell me. I asked him how much and he said $110,” explained Geria. ”When I finally got out there on Saturday to pick up the board in Placentia, he says, ‘Hey, I’m not trying to jack you on the price, but I’ve got this collector who saw my ad in The Recycler and he offered me $200 sight unseen. Then he just called me this morning and offered me $300 sight unseen. I’m not trying to wheel and deal you or anything, but apparently this board’s worth some money.’ A 9’4” Quigg with a green, high-density stripe down the middle, a beautiful caramel patina, four stringers (two redwood and two balsa) and a very unique looking fin. ”It just popped. It was beautiful,” said Geria. ”He ended up selling me the board for $110 bucks and I went straight to the Seal Beach river jetty and surfed it.” ”Mike Marshall used to shape with Quigg back in Newport. He explained how it had one of the very first high-density foam fins. It was an early fiberglass board, 1960 or so. It also had a deck patch on it for knee paddling. He says, ‘This thing is 100-percent original, you’ve got a real piece of history here.’


This exhibit was made possible in part through the generous support of John Mazza, Founder of the Malibu Surfing Museum at Pepperdine.

SHACC would also like to thank the following who contributed to this exhibit:

Spencer Croul · Phil Edwards · Rob Farrow · Mark Fragale · Dan Foote · Henry Ford · Hal Forsen · Tony Geria · Jake Howard ·  Kellen Keene · Dan Malloy · Ben Marcus · Dick Metz · Yusuke Motohashi · Greg Person · Giorgi & Joe Quigg · Randy Rarick · Mark Solberger · Mike Stewart · Anna Trent & Dan Moore and Bud Browne Films ·  Cary Weiss · and lastly, the late Mike ”Red” Marshall for the inspiration

You can view Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE

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