When the shop first opened in the Fall of 1959 life was easy and there wasn’t a ton of business. The surf industry was just starting and most of Bing & Rick’s customers were fellow lifeguards they knew. The local bar called “The Poop Deck” was the hangout spot for all the local Hermosa based lifeguards. The first form of advertising for Bing consisted of a flyer they taped to the front door of the bar.
Bing Copeland recalls these years with a lot of fondness. Not a lot of work but plenty of time to surf every morning and bodysurf every evening just out front of the surf shop. Bing would shape one board per day and then bring the board to Mike Bright and Sonny Vardeman at Surf Fiberglass in Redondo Beach to get glassed. Life was good and Bing says “I was 23, single, making money and enjoying life.”
The first logo for the business was the “B.A.” logo designed by Stewart “Stu” Linder pictured above. He went on to be an Academy Award-winning Hollywood editor. However, when Rick decided to pursue lifeguarding full time to support his new family Bing bought Rick out and changed the logo to the now recognized “Cat’s Eye” logo with just the name Bing. Over the years various forms of this logo would be used to identify the brand.
Around this time surf movies were starting to be shown in high school auditoriums and a new filmmaker John Severson started a magazine to what would become the surf bible of the sport, Surfer Magazine. John walked into the Bing Surf shop in the summer of 1960 and sold Bing 2 dozen copies. They sold quickly and Bing restocked them because of the demand. This led Bing to start advertising in the magazine back when the surfboard drove the industry.
Eventually the shop moved from 22nd St. in Hermosa Beach to the 598 Meyer Lane location in Redondo Beach. This was do to the fact that the planer Bing used in his shop was so loud it bothered the customers of his neighbors. They kindly asked him to move and he did in the summer of 1960. And so started a new chapter in the history of Bing Surfboards.
To learn more about the history of Bing Surfboards and the surf industry in general purchase “Bing Surfboards fifty years of craftsmanship and innovation”.
Also in Bing Surfboards Blog
Tommy Coleman recently traveled to Australia to compete in the Noosa Festival of Surfing, and took 1st Place in the Under 15 Boys Division! This video by Andrea Coleman gives a glimpse of what Tommy was up to while in Oz riding his Bing Pocket Knife.