G & S Waterskate

Looking at the G&S Waterskate on the For Sale page.
I’m sure that’s the original prototype shaped by Tom Morey.
As the rep I was getting ready to make the initial sales trip back east.
We had a lot of prototypes but hadn’t settled on a model to base our main promotion yet.
Tom Morey had taken a break from perfecting the Boogie Board to come in and do some designing.
He stopped by my Mission Beach pad one Sunday afternoon and asked if I had a key to the factory. I did, so over we went.
There was a 12’ lifeguard blank over in the corner and that’s what he used to shape the first Waterskate.
We put the shaped blank out on a scale in the front parking lot of the factory. Tom put a vinyl sticker on each rail.
I shot the photo using my Pentax with a telephoto lens for a short depth of field to blur the background.
That’s the photo that’s in the ad.
I left on my sales trip with nothing but a photo. They sent me another prototype on the road.
Of course the production boards were less radical. And the prototype they sent me didn’t look like the board in the ad. After all we couldn’t use a lifeguard blank for each board and we were blowing our own “Pacific Foam” at the time and weren’t ready to make a new mold just for the Waterskate.
Seeing the photo of the board after all these years sure brought back some memories.

Great insight and history Bill. I wondered about that board myself when I saw the pic. Explains a lot. Mahalo.

I can’t find the pic you speak of, Bill. I looked in the “surf shop” section of this site. No luck.

It popped up when I first logged on a couple of days ago. Then it was gone. Then it came back. I think it was the surf shop section. I don’t come on here enough to have the site all that wired.

Your post got me excited, but I searched and searched and I couldn’t find it. What I did find elsewhere on the internet was interesting.
Back around 1972 or 1973 my brother’s classmate, Brian Higa, made him a aboard. He was one of the top kids at Ala Moana Bowl and was working part time at Lightning Bolt. The board he made looked very similar to what I could find about the G&S Waterskate. It had a concave deck with boxy down rails. It was about 6"10" or so. Not sure if he asked for it that way, but my brother was a Tom Morey Disciple.
In 1976, I let a friend use it and it ended up in the rocks at Magic Island. It got beat up, so I stripped it and re-shaped it pretty close to the original, but a little smaller.

It says it’s in the 5ft section but it only comes up on the home page.

thats way different that what I pictured in my mind’s eye - rad!

I was living on Missouri St. in PB '68 thru '70. There was a lot of experimentation going on by all the local shapers. Lis, Warner, Frye, Cunningham, Hynson and many more that currently slip my mind. Everybody was going Short. Hank Warner was probably shaping the shortest boards around, sub six footers. Wasn’t much variety in foam. When you walked into Mitch’s to get materials blanks were lined up against the wall and they were all pretty much the same. Cunningham was shaping boards with concave decks and foot welds. The modern day rail was starting to be refined. Lots of down raiders, twin fins, speed needles 17 & 18 inches with flat bottoms and flipped noses. Used to park in the cul de sac above Blacks and watch Michael Hynson side slip right hand barrels. I know others are given more credit for the “Water Skate”; but Hynson was behind the original idea. Of course all those guys fed off of each other in those days. Eggs were in their heyday and every surfer had one in the seven foot range in his quiver. Lot of good innovation all over Calif. East Coast and Hawaii in the transition era. Lowel

Bill, do you recall the month and year when Tom shaped that first prototype?

I’m pretty sure it was January. 1972? I know it was just before I left for my first sales trip and that was usually in January.
I remember I had a van full of demos in the summer and I’m pretty sure it was '72.
There’s a copy of the ad in the G&S book. It may have the date. I’ll check it out later.

Yes. Hynson was way ahead of this on the downrail thing.
I got back from an East Coast sales trip in Sept of '69 and went strait to Larry’s house. Reno was there with his kicked nose Inter-Island.
The next morning at the factory there were a line of Inter-Islands that Brewer had shaped. There was one with down rails. I asked Larry about it and he said it was Hynson’s deal. I think he said Hynson had shaped it. Or maybe showed one of his to Brewer and Brewer shaped it. I can’t really remember.
So by the time Tom did the Waterskate the down rail was old news and Hynson owned it as far as I can remember.
Tom’s inspiration for the first Waterskate was Vinny Bryan.
You’re right about the foam variety. Everyone was making boards out of the same big thick blanks. There are some photos on my website of the old G&S factory of the Clark Foam truck and of Dennis Benadum cutting an outline on the band saw. Big thick blank.

Clearly I don’t come on here too often but that waterskate pictured is my board- well… half of it (my buddy and I co-own a bunch of old/ interesting stuff.)  I had always wondered about it. I appreciate you sharing that story about it being shaped. It’s very thick and definetley seems like it was shaped from a lifegaurd blank. Any idea what the original suggested fin would be?

Like this




Waay back when, the Waterskates came out and being me, I liked the down rails and the dished deck idea, so I custom ordered one 5’ long as a kneeboard. In my favorite color, dark blue. 

Well, that was two mistakes for the price of one,The dark blue was delam city.  It never worked all that well either, though the fact that I had a large fin on it probably didn’t help. Tracked way too well, among other issues. My brother, who was an asshole, swiped it and sold it to one of his little scumbag friends, and when I found it was missing, I wound up chasing the kid who had it down the road with a fire truck, which may have messed with his mind. 

I have no idea what happened to that board after that. Unlike every other board I have owned, most of which I still have. 

Win some , lose some


That looks like the fin. Morey called it the “Power Hungry Fin.”

Good story doc.  Not to make light of your loss, but sometimes all we can do is look back and laugh.  Your story made me (and perhaps others) crack a smile.   Lowel

The original prototype Waterskate, pre glassing. Photo by Bill Yerkes.

The Waterskates that were sold in retail outlets were much tamer than the prototype. Deck dish was less pronounced.

Another ad, from September '72