Likely they were glass ons. They wouldn’t have been “Brewer” fins. They would have been “Barnfield” fins. Imagine that! Ha! Ha!
At the risk of sounding terribly arrogant (which I may be, but is not my point at all) I know it is sometimes hard for outsiders to understand what is happening at the elite level of surfers and board designers.
To keep this from being “personal” to anyone, I will create a famous shaper… we will call him “Apollo”.
At the elite level of board design and shaping there is little talk about stuff like “Apollo” fins or “Apollo” rails. These are labels that get ascribed by outsiders to new things that they see. At the elite level people aren’t trying to copy, understand or grasp those labels. They are just making boards with certain features and those features are changing, evolving and morphing so fast that no one can really lay claim to them or tag some label on them.
Other people see these features or things and need a simple label that they can be comfortable with. But they are rarely described at the elite level with the labels that are often very common to outsiders who get their information primarily from the magazines.
So, in a given era, if an Apollo board from some tiny slice of time in that era, winds up in a shop in Florida and that board has say… fuller angular rails. Those rails will be forever called Apollo rails. Even though 2 months later Apollo isn’t making those rails anymore. Or in fact, maybe they were never his idea anyway but the result of some ghost shapers attempt to follow his instructions on a board that just happened to wind up in Florida.
Additionally, tons of other guys may have been making boards with the same rails but their boards didn’t make it to Florida in that era so they were never credited with the look nor would they care to be, as they also had moved on to other stuff and never even knew there was going to be a label or contests to see which shapers name became the label describing that feature.
This is certainly not to take away anything from anyone who’s name is associated with any features or designs. Rather it is just a reminder that what is known in one area is not necessarily universal or global. For example, I have heard people say a board has “Barnfield Rails” yet I have no idea what those are? Ha!
Some may know my friend George Hansen who made fins, for years, on the North Shore. He is about 81 years old now and I see him every couple of days. I remember when he was making fins in the bushes up behind my house at Log Cabins. Simon Anderson was hanging around the shop in those days and I remember George saying to Simon, who was working on a new fin. “Hey Simon what is the idea behind that new fin your working on?” Simon, looks up kind of blankly, thinks for a minute and in his classic laid back Simon way…says…“I don’t know, I saw it on another blokes board and I thought it looked good, so I am making one like it!”
I used the term Elite and I am sure it sounds arrogant and self serving, yet as you can see by this simple example that very little is as “elite” as one might think and when it appears a few months later in the magazines it is often not what it appears to be.