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Gordon & Smith (G&S) 7’4 single fin “MAGIC” model shaped in 1968-69, serial #3087. This board was made during the transition era of surfboard history when boards were starting to be made shorter in length. This beautiful board has been partially restored (color work added only, original glass job, original logo, and original fin). Restored by a surfboard restoration expert with over 40 years of experience.
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History of Gordon & Smith (G&S) surfboards
In 1961, Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith founded Gordon and Smith Surfboards. Before introducing an iconic surfboard brand out of a Pacific Beach garage, they were committed surfers, and knew what surfers liked. They pioneered a new kind of boards- foam boards, which was truly a revolution in the history of the sport. Larry Gordon was born on the 13th of December 1939, near Chicago, Illinois. Because of his health problems, he moved with his family to California when he was a kid. That’s where he learned how to surf- first, he tried bodysurfing and mat surfing then progressed to riding surfboards in high school. Larry Gordon studied chemistry at San Diego State University where he began experimenting with materials at his father’s factory, including foam. This gave him the basis for later work with surfboards. Floyd Smith wasn’t interested in surfing until he was about 9 or 10 years old. For a skinny boy like him, huge wooden boards were too heavy. Smith knew something had to change for the sport to grow.
In 1959, Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith began working on their first project to build cutting edge surfboards with polyurethane foam. It turned out to be a huge success. So many people wanted to ride their foam surfboards, that they had to leave Smith’s garage and find a bigger space for their company headquarters. They opened their first real surf shop, called Gordon & Smith Surfboards & Skateboards. It quickly became one of the leaders in the surfboard industry, and they later made skateboards in addition to surfwear. A lot of surfers and shapers collaborated with Gordon & Smith, which helped them gather customers in a time when the sport of surfing was really starting to take off. In 1965, Floyd moved to Australia to expand G&S on another continent. This brought the innovation and quality to Australia and provided new designs in return, as well as a new group of clients from around the world. Floyd Smith returned to California in 1969 and sold his share of the company in 1971. The business kept a high profile and a high-quality stable of shapers until about 1983. Gordon & Smith’s company is now run by Gordon’s son and daughter, Eric and Debbie Gordon. The family is still very loyal to their roots, caring about producing the highest quality boards possible. The company line now consists of classic longboards, performance longboards, shortboards, fun shapes, and fishes.
Larry Gordon passed away on January 1st 2016, due to his Parkinson’s-related illness. He was 76 years old. The surfing society will forever appreciate his visionary work and contributions to the industry. Gordon and Smith’s polyurethane boards are known for helping to popularize the sport when wooden boards were heavy and difficult to ride. Floyd Smith has been working in a carpentry business for the past 20 years but still shapes longboards part-time in northern California, near Santa Cruz. Recently, due to increased demand, he is now shaping surfboards full time.