On our recent trip to the SW, we popped into the amazing Surfers Against Sewage offices in Wheal Kitty, overlooking the utterly-beautiful St Agnes bay. SAS Campaigns Director Andy Cummins made us a brew and we had a chocolate biscuit and discussed surf art.
The SAS does amazing work and to supplement the annual donations by its members, they host both a yearly raffle, the biannual SAS Ball (now re-named the Masked Ball) and every now and again, amazing fund-raising events such as their 2003 surfboard art auction.
It was brilliant to hear Andy’s first-hand experience of the event, and how stoked they were that the Damien Hirst boards ended up making nearly £60k on the night (a BBC report at the time was amazed they’d reached bids of £2500 each prior to the auction)
Luckily, we were able to add to the story. ACM’s very own Chris Moran and our friend and collaborator Ben Mondy have done a fair bit of research on expensive surfboards - Ben’s series of articles is currently running at Surf Europe - and from that research we knew one of Damien’s boards auctioned at the SAS event ten years ago went under the hammer again on 20th October 2008 at Sotherby’s in London. On that occasion, ‘Untitled - Household Gloss on Longboard’. went for a total of £85,250. Not a bad return on investment in five years.
It got us thinking. What other surf-related items would be likely to fetch a decent price under the hammer? Well, here are our favourite six for starters…
1. Michael Petersons trademark aviator sunnies from the 70s (above). “MP lost his aviator sunglasses back in 1973 on the North Shore,” says The Life of Michael Peterson author Sean Doherty. “He turned the entire island upside down for six days until they were found and in the 38 years since he’s never lost them again. They’re his defence mechanism against the outside world, his shield, and he still wears them religiously today, even while walking around the kitchen at home. They are heavily scratched and are held together by dental floss, but there is no monetary figure in this universe or any other universe that would encourage MP to part with them.”
2. Greg Noll’s black and white trunks. If Waimea couldn’t rip ‘em off ‘Da Bull’ then don’t expect to them up for less than a few hundred $k.
3. Laird’s ‘Millennium Wave’ Board. This one ticks all the collectable boxes: it’s a balsa wood classic, shaped by legend Billy Hamilton, it was ridden by a ground-breaking surfer and featured in one of the most memorable surfing photographs ever taken. Shame about the Oxbow sticker though… (just joking)
4. MR’s Silver 911SG Porsche from 1980. What’s not to love? It’s a classic design, a beautiful colour and is THE car that said surfing had made it.
5. The board Ken Bradshaw bit into. There are no doubt a fair few boards out there that have been ‘de-finned’ by the Texan lawman, but there’s only one with his dental profile embedded in there. Its ‘celebrity’ status assures it of a good price, and given that old Ken’s jaw ain’t getting any younger, and those toughlite boards are getting more popular, there’s the ‘right time right place’ factor too.
6. Gerry Lopez’s moustache circa 1979. His Lightning Bolt single-fins might go for tens of thousands of dollars but can you imagine what an actual Lopez lip ferret from the classic era would command under the hammer? Especially if it had seen the light of day through the Conan the Barbarian era?