These classic Rainbow Surfboards represent much more than a 70s-era surfboard. Rainbow Surfboards represented an ideal, a twisted cultural mission that transcended riding waves and that only could have occurred in the Laguna Canyon during that small little purple dot of time in the early 70s.
Perhaps no other board represents the era of counter-culture California “tune-in and drop-out” mentality than these ultra-fast Mike Hynson down-railers with Starman or Cranebow artwork (TBD). These are simply gorgeous boards that are dripping with an authentic California corduroy bell-bottoms culture, truly CALIFORNIA GOLD. If you find one, keep it. This Rainbow Surfboard (above in video) is a 8.5 out of 10 condition. It has a new gloss / polish. These boards have risen because they are unique and rare but more importantly these classic Rainbow Surfboards represent much more than a 70s-era surfboard. Rainbow Surfboards represented an ideal, a twisted cultural mission that transcended riding waves and that only could have occurred in the Laguna Canyon during that small little purple dot of time in the early 70s.
The pre-auction estimate : A Rainbow Surfboard of similiar caliber and condition was sold by a private collector in the summer 2012 for $5K. We believe this stellar example above may sell for over $10K. However, we will put a more realistic pre-auction estimate of between $4K-$8K.
If you own a unique and rare vintage surfboard that you’d like us to look for the upcoming auction, please email Board Brokers TV
SURFING HERITAGE VINTAGE SURF AUCTION
presented by QUIKSILVER WATERMAN COLLECTION
MAY 11, 2013
DOORS OPEN AT NOON
MARK YOUR CALENDARS TO SEE UNIQUE AND RARE CALIFORNIA GOLD
[ From: "Mike Hynson, Co-Star of 'The Endless Summer,' Resurfaces With Tales of the Brotherhood" By NICK SCHOU, Orange County Weekly, July 08, 2009 - See the original article for photos and comments ]
It’s 2 a.m. in New Delhi, halfway through a hot night in August 1967, and Mike Hynson is still awake and sweating in his hotel room. The pressure is on—it’s a feeling of impending doom that Hynson, a fearless surfer whose quest for the perfect wave had been captured in the 1966 cult classic The Endless Summer, has never encountered before, certainly never while simply working on a surfboard. But this is no normal surfboard-repair job.
Using a spoon he borrowed from the hotel restaurant, Hynson has carved a giant chunk of foam out of the bottom of one of the boards he’d delivered to India a few weeks earlier. He’s filled the hole with a watertight bag of hashish oil that he and a friend from Laguna Beach obtained in Kathmandu. He seals the compartment shut with carefully concealed tape and resin. But time is conspiring against Hynson. He still has two more boards to go before dawn, when he has to catch a return flight to California. The trio of hash-laden boards he’s busy preparing are supposed to arrive on a cargo flight a few days after him.
His brown wig and fake mustache—which he wore for the photograph that adorns his phony passport—await his attention. He must not forget to wear them to the airport. As Hynson hunches over his hollowed-out board, a thought keeps parading through his brain, over and over like a mantra, until he feels as if every nerve in his body is about to snap.
“Uh-oh,” says the voice in Hynson’s ?head. “I’m really doing this. This is really fucking real.”
* * *
…Hynson met the man who would give him his first big break in the world of surfboard shaping, Hobie Alter, an early surf pioneer and inventor of the Hobie Cat, which is now the world’s top-selling small catamaran. “I first met Mike when he stole some of my boards,” Alter says. “The cops wanted to press charges, but Linda Benson, one of the finest surfer gals, called me and said Mike wasn’t that bad.” Alter agreed to drop the charges if Hynson would return the boards and later gave him a job as a shaper.
Hynson’s first board was an 11-foot plank of balsa wood that he spotted while collecting weeds in the front yard of a house in Mission Beach. The board’s owner told him he could have the board if he wanted it, so Hynson and a friend lugged it to the friend’s garage, where Hynson began whittling away. “I had no idea what I was doing, and his parents were getting angry because of all this dust and resin and mess, but it turned out to be a 7-foot-11-inch board. It was a hot little board, and everyone loved it who rode it.”
Hynson suddenly found his board-shaping skills very much in demand. He became a top shaper for Gordon and Smith Surfboards in San Diego, where he designed and produced his trademark “RedFin” boards. He also began hanging out with all the best surfers in Southern California, including Corky Carroll, Phil Edwards, Nat Young and Robert August. “As a surfer, Mike was very good,” recalls Carroll, now TheOrange County Register’s surfing columnist. “He was not a guy that you had to worry about beating you in a contest, but he knew how to ride a wave. He also had a kind of charisma about him that seemed to attract ‘followers,’ so to speak.”
One of the surfers Hynson got to know in Hawaii was Chuck Mundell, a high-school dropout from Huntington Beach. Mundell admired Hynson and wanted him to meet a good friend of his named John Griggs, who was living with a bunch of friends in a stone building in Orange County’s Modjeska Canyon. Griggs and his friends, most of whom were former boozers, brawlers and heroin addicts from Anaheim, had begun experimenting with a new drug that Griggs had stolen at gunpoint from a Hollywood film producer: lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Until October 1966, acid was legal in California, and Griggs and his group, who called themselves the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, believed that just as it had cured them of their addictions and violent behavior, it could also transform American society into a glorious utopia. They were heavily influenced by Harvard professor Timothy Leary, he of the famous exhortation “Turn on, tune in, drop out”—and who would later describe Griggs as the “holiest person who has ever lived in this country.”
Before Griggs invited Leary to join his group, which in early 1967 moved south to Laguna Canyon, to a neighborhood Griggs would christen “Dodge City” because of the constant skirmishes with the local forces of law and order, Hynson was Griggs’ most famous disciple. “Griggs had gold flashing out of his eyes and tongue, these words; he was just a magical little guy,” Hynson says. Accompanied by Merryweather, Hynson dropped his first acid with Griggs and several other Brotherhood members at Black’s Beach near La Jolla.
The experience brought him back to the hospital room where he’d nearly died as a child. It took Hynson a few trips to get beyond that near-death experience, but when that happened, he felt reborn with a new sense of spiritual purpose. “Those guys turned me on,” he says. “Things were happening. I remember Johnny and I walking down Haight-Ashbury [in San Francisco], and he got some acid from somebody, and the whole street was loaded with people doing their own hippie thing. It was really going on.”
Griggs had a plan: open a psychedelic spiritual and cultural center in Laguna Beach that would turn the town into a Southern California version of Haight-Ashbury. To finance the construction of Mystic Arts World, the store that would serve as that center, Griggs relied on cash from the Brotherhood’s burgeoning marijuana-smuggling operation.
“One day, I walked into this warehouse with Johnny and saw 50 tons of pot,” Hynson says. “I wasn’t supposed to see it, but I was there. I remember thinking, ‘It’s not going to get any better than this, and it’s not going to get any worse.’”
But Hynson had another idea for how Griggs could raise money: Why not use surfboards to smuggle hash from the Middle East or India? After all, nobody knew anything about surfing in India, so customs wouldn’t know if, for example, a surfboard weighed 20 or 30 pounds more than it should. Hynson suggested the idea to Griggs’ friend Dave Hall, who promptly borrowed a board and set off for Nepal, returning a few weeks later with the board—and the best hash anyone in Laguna Beach had ever smoked.
On his next trip, Hall invited Hynson to come along, which is how Hynson found himself struggling to fill three surfboards with hash oil late one night in New Delhi. The trip was a success, and the cash raised helped make Griggs’ dream a reality. “I wasn’t going to sell it or anything,” Hynson says. “I just gave it to those guys, and it bankrolled Mystic Arts. It was an honor, you know.”
* * *
During the next several years, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love established itself as both America’s top hashish-smuggling ring—with up to a dozen hash-stuffed Volkswagen buses and Land Rovers being shipped back from Afghanistan at any given moment—and the country’s top LSD-distribution ring. Leary moved to Laguna Beach and later accompanied Griggs to a mountain commune in Idyllwild, where Griggs died of an overdose of crystallized psilocybin in August 1969. Hynson stayed away from Dodge City as much as possible because Leary and the Brotherhood attracted too much heat.
He let his guard down once, however, when he and Merryweather sped through Laguna Canyon smoking a joint. A cop pulled them over, smelled the weed and arrested them both. At the station, the officer rifled through Merryweather’s belongings. “In my purse, I had a little Buddha, a prayer book and beads, some patchouli oil and incense, and a Murine bottle full of LSD,” Merryweather recalls. “The cop ingested it through his fingers and never got around to booking us.” In the morning, another officer arrived at the station, slack-jawed at the sight of his colleague, who reeked of patchouli, sitting with glazed eyes in front of a Buddha. “They let us the hell out of there right away,” Hynson says.
Not surprisingly, much of the late 1960s is a blur to Hynson. “It’s a fog,” he says. “There are a few years when I know I was there, but I don’t know what happened.” Although Griggs’ untimely death saddened Hynson, he’d already become best friends with a talented young surfer who also happened to be Dodge City’s biggest drug dealer, John Gale. In 1969, the two opened their own company, Rainbow Surfboards. Theirs were among the first truly shredding shortboards to hit the waves in Southern California and Hawaii. “Mike was one of the surfboard shapers in the 1960s who could make boards that worked,” recalls Carroll. “There were better craftsmen around, guys who could make ‘perfect boards,’ but Mike had the gift to make ones that just rode great.’”
Rainbow Surfboards got an unexpected publicity boost from Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Wein, a member of Andy Warhol’s so-called Factory whom Merryweather had befriended while working as a model in New York. In 1972, while Hynson and Merryweather were living in Maui—where most of the Brotherhood had relocated after Laguna Beach became too hot—Merryweather suggested to Wein that he direct a Jimi Hendrix concert movie in Maui and even introduced him to Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jefferey.
“Chuck wanted to make a movie that was going to have surfing, healers, vegetarians, New Age people, even a space woman,” Merryweather says. “Jimi was going to play the music because he was at the top of his game, and Michael was going to surf because he was at the top of his game.” The result, 1972’s Rainbow Bridge, was billed as a Hendrix concert film because the concert Hendrix played in Maui provides the ending of the movie, much of which actually features surfing by Hynson and his friends, goofy-foot hotshot Dave Nuuhiwa and Leslie Potts. “Gale refused to be in the movie, because he didn’t want to have his face on camera,” Hynson recalls.
The film’s most notorious scene features Hynson and Potts ripping open a Rainbow Surfboard to reveal a stash of hash, a stunt that takes place under a Richard Nixon poster that reads, “Would You Buy a Used Car From This Man?” When the film opened in Laguna Beach, Hynson gave Gale all the tickets as a birthday present. Half of the audience was rumored to be narcs. “The room smoked up so much you couldn’t see the stage,” Hynson says. “We had all these Rainbow Surfboards up on the stage, and when the movie showed the board being opened up, it got the police crazy. They were constantly on our ass. Anybody who had a Rainbow Surfboard got pulled over.”
* * *
A few months after Rainbow Bridge came out, a multi-agency task force arrested dozens of members of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love in California, Oregon and Maui, including Gale, who spent the next several months in prison. “He wasn’t in for long,” Hynson says. “He was like a rabbit.” But thanks in part to the Brotherhood’s legendary secrecy, the police never knew Hynson’s role in the group. Once Gale got out of prison, the two continued to sell surfboards and market the Rainbow brand by opening a Rainbow Juice bar in La Jolla with help from Merryweather. But the business folded after just a few years. “We didn’t shortchange anything,” Merryweather says. “We got an accounting firm and figured out we were paying people 25 cents to eat the avocado sandwiches.”
Meanwhile, Gale had become the biggest cocaine broker in California. Hynson says he didn’t know the full extent of Gale’s business dealings, but he does recall visiting his friend’s house one time when Gale suddenly remembered that a truck full of Colombian marijuana was on its way from Florida. He also recalls that whenever he rode in Gale’s car, someone always seemed to be following them. “Not for long, though,” Hynson says. “Gale didn’t stick around long enough for anyone to chase him.”
On June 2, 1982, Gale perished when the car he was driving, Hynson’s Mercedes, went off the road in Dana Point. Hynson remains convinced someone—either the cops or rival criminals—was chasing his friend. The tragedy ended Rainbow Surfboards (it’s recently been reincarnated under new ownership) and left Hynson financially strapped. “If you ever had a business project and you’re wondering whatever happened to it, it’s probably because the other guy is dead,” Hynson jokes.
Gale’s death devastated Hynson, says Merryweather. “I wasn’t with him at the time, but people told me they’d never seen Michael take anything so bad. He just really went sideways.”
Hynson isn’t exactly sure how he finally managed to pull himself out of the downward spiral, although he credits ex-wife Merryweather and current girlfriend Carol Klaasen with being “angels” in his life.
Nick Schou’s book Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, is available for purchase here.