*RARE* Hap Jacob’s last known balsa shape 9’7 longboard (2002)

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9’7 Hap Jacob’s shaped balsa longboard. This is the last known balsa board shaped by Hap Jacobs and one of only 10 that were pre-sold two years in advance of their completion. This incredibly rare balsa board features an inlaid tailblock, multiple logos and inlaid insignia wood beaded fin. This is one of 10 balsa boards shaped in 2002 and signed under the glass by Hap himself as a testament to the earlier balsa boards of the 1950’s. A very unique collector’s board shaped by a pioneer of modern surfboard making.    

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Hap Jacobs is a California surfer/shaper who was one of the pioneers of modern surfboard making. Along with his business partner Dale Velzy, Jacobs helped created the California surf scene in the 1960’s with his skilled craftsmanship and smooth surfing. Today, his work is credited with helping shape the sport’s history.

The rise in popularity of the Jacobs Surfboards brand directly correlated with the golden age of surfing, marked by short swim trunks, heavy wooden boards, beach party movies and Dick Dale songs. Jacobs, who was raised in Hermosa Beach, got his introduction to surfing by catching waves beneath the Manhattan Beach Pier with canvas mats filled with air.

Jacobs was a “master craftsman,” whose innovative construction and attention to detail still rank him as the most respected board shaper in the world. After a stint in the Coast Guard in the early 1950’s and as a carpenter’s apprentice at UCLA, Jacobs went into business with Bev Morgan, a local diver. Jacobs shaped the surfboards, Morgan designed and manufactured the rubber wetsuits. They called their Redondo Beach store Dive N’ Surf.

While most boards were still being made with balsa and redwood, and covered in a crude protective coating of cheesecloth, Jacobs began experimenting with fiberglass and foam. Not only were his boards well designed, they were lighter.

He sold his stake in the store in 1953 to Bob and Bill Meistrell, founders of Body Glove, and partnered in 1953 with legendary surfer Dale Velzy. Together, they opened surf shops in Venice and San Clemente, selling hundreds of boards a week. The Velzy-Jacobs brand grew quickly. Jacobs opened his own store in 1960 along Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. He developed the iconic red-diamond logo — still used by his son, Kent, a shaper in Hawaii. Jacobs had a team of riders and managed a staff of four shapers. Business began to swell.

Jacobs was able to grow his brand while many of his competitors struggled to balance surfing and running a business, said Matt Warshaw, a noted surf historian and Manhattan Beach native. “A lot of what made Jacobs was that he had a business head,” Warshaw, author of the Encyclopedia of Surfing, said in a 2011 interview. “He kept it together when a lot of the guys around him just lost it. He was quietly back there making boards, giving everyone the straight deal.”

Some weeks, Jacobs would sell more than 115 boards from his store.

Jacobs quit shaping for about 20 years after selling his stake in the business in 1971, taking up commercial fishing instead. But by 1991, he was back in his shaping bay in Hermosa Beach, where he remains today, crafting some of the finest boards in the world.

“When you pick up a Hap Jacobs board, you can feel the history in it,” said Spyder Surfboards owner Dennis Jarvis, who has been shaping boards for more than 30 years. “Through the years, people have tried to copy what he has done, but he’s still doing it.”

In 2003 Hap Jacobs was tapped as charter member of Hermosa Beach Surfer’s Walk of Fame, a series of bronze plaques embedded on the municipal pier paying tribute to the laid-back beach town’s surfing legends.

Read the full Daily Breeze article @ https://www.dailybreeze.com/2014/09/04/surfing-legends-gather-to-honor-iconic-surfboard-shaper-hap-jacobs-in-redondo-beach/

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