As told to Chris Nelson…

“We were at the cutting edge of surfboards, we were beyond the cutting edge – we were the edge. It was the best period, but it was easy to be the best because everybody that came to Hawaii wanted to shape for Lightning Bolt. Terry Fitzgerald, Jim Pollard – who was a very good shaper, Alan Byrne, Chris Byrne, Robbie Ponting – who was a really good shaper who’d come from South Africa, Peter Daniels; everyone that came to Hawaii, even the guys from California, they all came and they wanted to produce Lightning Bolt Surfboards of Hawaii. If you look at all the old photographs from the competitions, and all the guys are lined up with their boards, in some of them ten out of ten guys are all on Lightning Bolt surfboards. Everyone that surfed in Hawaii was on Lightning Bolt surfboards. Except for Fitz on Hot Buttered, and Simon started his Thruster he went with Nectar.”

“Lightning Bolt self disintegrated. We were a group of pretty young guys, we had no regard for money, no business sense. Lightning Bolt had so much going, except money. We had no cash at all, because everyone that came to Hawaii was a team rider, and we never got any resale off the boards because they were always broken. At that point in time there was Rory Russell, Jackie Dunn, Mike Armstrong, both Ho’s. They’d get like twelve boards in a quiver. Rory Russell used to go through three boards in a contest. Just snapped. They were single layer boards both sides, this is with cut-outs and decorations, they were costing a lot in labour.”

“We had Jack Shipley – Lightning Bolt existed because of Jack – he was the guy who had everything together. You had Reno Abellira… Reno at that point in time was so spot on it was scary. He won every big wave competition going, he had the house at Sunset Point, he had cars, he was the cutting edge shaper. He was the first guy to do concaves, channel bottoms, he wasn’t doing Thrusters, but he was doing these little trailer fins on the side, these little keel fins. BK was surfing this big thick round things and Gerry was surfing these pin tails, pulled in pin tails, and Parrish was doing the Sunset Boards, Reno was making these beautiful, beautiful works of art. We were all trying to be the best, and we were the best. And Jack was really good because he was competing everyone against each other. Especially as far as the glassers go, because everybody wanted to go to Hawaii and work for that group of guys, because they had the aura.”

“Except for Brewer. Brewer never did, but then Brewer is Brewer! But everyone else besides him. Brewer is God. Nothing more, nothing less.”

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