Wardy’s Ads

A look at the shaper turned artist’s cerebral and honest advertisements, as seen in TSJ 32.3’s “Uncommon Skill & Meticulous Attention.”

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A hallmark of Wardy Surfboards during the early to mid-1960s was the popularity of the cerebral and honest advertising that Frederick Wardy created himself for Surfer magazine. The ads were designed to inform the reader rather than simply hype the product. Some were even reflective thought essays on the act of surfing itself, transcending the sale of surfboards. When it came to the boards themselves, Wardy kept it straight: “The requisites of a good surfboard can be stated in simple terms. It must perform effectively, dependably, accurately. It must be durable as well as beautiful, and must have the symmetry and design essential to ease of handling, maneuverability, and speed.”

“What makes a quality surfboard?” went another. “Creative skill and meticulous attention to every detail. Hours of research and experimentation spent finding the precise fusion of each component. A quality board cannot be mass produced, but must be created, step-by-step, by professionals whose ultimate aim is to achieve perfection.”

Wardy also addressed the era’s escalating rollouts of models with an ad that simply showed a bull with the words “Don’t let the bull throw you!” He eschewed the signature-model hype, instead making boards for the conditions the customer would be riding, the single exception being the Joey Hamasaki model that went into production when she rode for Wardy Surfboards, one of the very first surfboards specifically designed for women.

It was the apex of the longboard era, and his business was booming. Yet Wardy, having mastered the art of building surfboards, decided the time had come to try his hand at art itself.

[To read “Uncommon Skill & Meticulous Attention,” by author Lance Conragan, in full, pick up a copy of our new issue by clicking here.]