Wax On, Wax Off: Board Collector Kris Tom of TheVintageSurfboard.com

Along with boardshort and swimsuit dispensing vending machines and a generally blown-out corporate vibe, last night's Retrospective at the Standard had its moments. For one, the event featured a rare selection of surfboards from the late 70s and early 80s. We had the chance to catch up with Kris Tom, a board collector who brought five of the ten boards on display, and ask him a few questions about his collection and his life as a surfer.


up in Rancho Cucamonga (not an ideal place to start one's surfing
career), Kris had a sense early on that there was something pervasively
cool about surfing. In the early 80s, he and his friends bought boards
to impress girls, despite never having ridden a wave. For the first
time, though, in 1982, they eventually made the trek to the coast,
arriving at Newport Beach
in the heart of the Echo Beach era. They were exposed to the fast-paced
lifestyle and brightly colored smattering of hot locals surfing steep,
glassy waves on the famous sandbars of upper west Newport. “We realized
this wasn't just something that was cool, it was really an awesome
sport,” says Kris. He's been surfing Newport ever since.

has been collecting boards for over twelve years, mostly gems from the
late 70s and early 80s. His favorite board in his collection, and
possible the best-looking board at last night's event, is a 1985 T&C, a 5'9″ early tri-fin model with an adjustable and removable middle fin. But it's hard out there for a board collector. In fact, after twelve years of collecting, the Echo Beach Retrospective
at the Standard is the first time he has opened his collection to the
public. “There's not much exposure,” says Kris. ” People just didn't
really have a way to showcase[their boards].” So, in march of this
year, Kris launched a website called TheVintageSurfboard.com.
It is a forum of sorts, where board collectors from all over the world
can not only display photos of their collections, but also tell what
Kris calls “the story behind the board.”

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