Info? Gordon & Smith Magic

Was hoping someone might have some info on this board I scored recently. A beater now, but hopefully soon will be sealed up and ready to get wet. 

Here’s what (I think) is known so far: early 70’s G&S Magic model. Waveset fin (small crack – will have to make or source another one). Extremely interesting roll on the bottom. I’ve been told this board likes to carve the face of open waves – a good fit for me. Requires riding forward and turning rail to rail. Hull-like.

I’d love to know anything more about this board, including how it rides, how it has evolved (the “new” version seems to have a completely different bottom roll) and a bit about who made them and what things were like.




balsabill will catch this soon and give you all the info possible about this board, but in the meantime...

Probably a 69 or 70 early run ''magic''. A lot of the ''transition'' boards at that time had the high forward rail/round bottom going to low tail rail/flatter bottom. Greg Liddle and his posse stuck with it and the ''hull'' was born. The magic could be seen as a precursor, but there were lots of others too.

Things moved so fast in that 68 -72 time period that it's hard to comprehend if you weren't there. About a year after that magic was made, everyone was riding 5'6'' twin fins with 12''+ square tailblocks and the fins right on the corners. That lasted 6 months. Then it was ''downrailers'' (that one kinda stuck). By 72 it was box rail ''pretend-you're-in-Hawaii-no-matter-where-you-are'' guns.

I have an original magic. It was my dad’s delaming but it is what I learned to surf on. The one I posess looks really similar, I can ask him. I can tell you how it rides though. Very fluid, you probably arn’t going to be doing carves with a big rebound off the white wash but it will be a fun board to ride. I liked this a HELL OF A LOT BETTER THAN A HULL. it has the glide of a hull but can be turned much easier. If the fin wasn’t glassed into the box on mine I would take it out with the fin and see how it goes.

Rider / Mike - thanks for the info. I dropped if off today and should have it back in a few weeks (complete w/ new removable fin) so we’ll see how it goes then. Love the idea of carving fluid lines. Can’t wait :slight_smile:

Whatever you do, I would not let whoever is working on it remove the Wave-set box and put a different box in.

It’s a neat board and the value - beyond the ride - is it’s originality. There are Wave-set repro fins available.

Enjoy it. I had a great little 6’-8" +/- G&S made Surfboards Australia  egg in '69/'70 with a similar rail line, though not as radical as your’s if memory serves, and it was a “magic” board.

Fin box will not be touched. We’re making a replacement fin to fit it.

The outline looks a little more pulled in in the tail than a Magic but going by the rail line, bottom contour, waveset finbox and decal placement on the bottom this board is typical of the boards coming out of the G&S factory in late '68 to late summer of '69.

It could have been late summer when we were transitioning to the Magic Ryder but by fall we were using our own fiberglass finbox and removeable glass fins. We soon switched to the Bahne/Fins Unlimited box after my fin fell out down at the cliffs one day.

Clark foam delivery to the G & S factory March of '69

Clark Foam truck delivering blanks to G&S Sp;ring of 1969

Dennis Benadum, designer of the Magic cutting one out on a bandsaw

Dennis Bendadum cutting an outline on a bandsaw. G&S Factory Spring 1969

Jose Cota glossing a Magic

Jose Cota glossing a Magic

Definitive Ad showing the rail line cross section and outlines of the various models.

G and S Ad

Here’s a video of Skip Frye at PB point riding several boards with different bottom contours. The bottom contour/rail line on your board was basically finalized at this session with Skip recommending that all boards in the line use the same contours shown above:


Much thanks, Bill!

Could you give me the dims on your board and a better shot of the tail? Your board may be a “World Contest Model”. 


Gotta ask the question – what’s the “world contest model” all about?

Board is at the shop to be repaired (repaired, not “restored”) and get a new fin made for the original box. I pulled some (rough) measurements – 7’9.5" x 22.25" x 3.25". 

For pics I only have the ones I posted, but I do have them in a higher res which I can upload. Lemme know.

"World Contest Model''? Would that date it as a 1968 or was the ''model'' made after said contest? This is some cool history!

World Contest Model?  Is that what Midget rode in OB?  He was rippiing on a pintail, if I remember correctly.



The “World Contest Model” was Midget Farrelly’s model based on what he rode in the World Contest in Puerto Rico in 1968. We introduced the model after the contest and made them in '69 as part of the line as you can see in the ad above: Hot Curl, Magic, World Contest Model and Skip Frye Model. The Magic was the best seller by far altough when the movie “Evolution” came out that summer the Hot Curl got a surge since it was so similar to what Wayne Lynch was riding in the film.

I believe in OB in '66 Midget was riding a “Stringerless”. At least that’s when he first signed with G & S and that was his first model.

Larry liked the name “Performer” but Dewey already had that so Larry directed Laverne, his artis/ad designer to use the typestyle (what we call a font today) from the movie “The Performers” for the “Stringerless” logo.

Boards were evolving pretty quickly as Mike Daniel said above. Even the models were changing from week to week, A Magic made in late '68 was quite different from one made in the summer of '69.

I would like to see the tail, but my best guess is that this is a custom order. The small decal on top and the color design are kind of a give away. We were using free laps on the top and cut laps on the bottom as a standard glass job. I know because they were cutting into the foam on the bottom nose section and one of my jobs was to adjust boards that the dealers had problems with.

The small decal in front of the fin was standard on almost all of our boards at that time.

Bill - and Mike

I know it may have been covered here somewhere but…Who all was doing the shaping at G&S in that era?

There was so much transition going on and G&S was right on top of things and producing alot of boards - alot of good ones too. I had a few from long to short to swallows in that time span and always wondered who were the primary shapers in that era.

Just curious and thought it would fill out the history of this thread…

Sorry if it’s been gone over before…archives were inconclusive.


Bill will probably remember more than I.  I seem to remember 5 to 7 shapers mowing foam, each doing around 6 to 8 boards a day..  I don't remember all the names.  Dennis was sort of "the" really hot shaper of the time (at G&S), and Skip of course had a cachet that exists to today. The place was a full on production factory, doing large numbers of boards in the summertime.  Not that they were popouts or anything like that, just a ramped up production machine with some really talented individuals making some very cool boards. (not including me in this, I was a starry eyed grimmie who spent too much time watching Skip shape)




That’s exactly the point of my question…lots of folks would like to think their board(s)from the era were shaped by Skip but…

But,  there were a whole lot of boards being turned out with a whole lot of beautiful shapes - not to forget great color and glassing work. Quality work on a production type volume. It’s amazing really, how many great shapes we were offered in those quickly changing times from people who still worked on each board as an individual hand made piece of craft.

Prices were pretty darn good too. Major bang for the buck.

Paul Bordieri was the head shaper and had things organized. Production shapers included Dennis Benadum and John Holly, Chuck Erickson (?). A couple of others that I can’t remember.Holly shaped the Surfboards Australia mostly. Then he shaped a lot of G&S’s in the early seventies.

I was on the road on the East Coast from March to early September so I didn’t really know what was going on that much through the height of the season.

I remember Larry giving the shapers a quota of 6 boards a day.

That summer '69 Larry bought the PB Surf Shop and built a nice shaping room for Skip there. He brought Brewer in to shape some Inter Islands and Hynson came in a shaped a couple of down railers one time. Larry wanted to have guest shapers come in on a regular basis but mostly it was Skip.

Morey shaped a few experimentals but that was in seventy or seventy one. The result of that program was the Waterskate.

Hey all I wanted to add on this post and ask what year you could possibly guess my board is from. I’m guessing mid 70’s and i know it’s a “Swallow Tail.”  Any other insights or history would be amazing.

than you,


Mid to late 70s is about right. Is the board a 6’6"? I ask because of the last two numbers on it. Pretty typical board for that period. You should fix it properly and ride it.