Iconic surfboard shaper Larry Gordon passes away at 76

January 4, 2016 | Surfing
Larry Gordon: the co-founder of Gordon & Smith Surfboards

Larry Gordon, the co-founder of Gordon & Smith Surfboards, passed away at the age of 76.

He is considered one of the pioneers of the modern foam surfboard.

Gordon was born in Waukegan, Illinois, in 1939. Because he suffered from asthma, his family moved to Southern California when he was only three.

He started surfing as a teenager in Pacific Beach and started his business at only 20.

While studying chemistry at the San Diego State University, Larry Gordon partnered with Floyd Smith to shape surfboards, and in less than two years, they had started a local revolution.

Their brand and their boards were number one in the San Diego area.

"My dad was a very good role model for me. He was in the plastics business from the ground floor; he invented a lot of things. So I grew up with him always brainstorming and working on new ideas," Larry Gordon once revealed.

Gordon boosted the transition between the longboard era and the shortboard revolution while designing the first-ever surf t-shirts with the company's logo.

G&S is responsible for the famous Hynson's G&S Red Fin model and for the full-templated, soft-railed G&S Modern Machine.

Sal Peluso and Larry Gordon: the former skateboarder and his master shaper

G&S: A Timeless Brand

Polyurethane foam surfboards were becoming increasingly popular, and Larry Gordon was at the top of his game.

Barry Kanaiaupuni, Skip Frye, Dale Dobson, Tony Staples, Charlie Kuhn, and Butch Van Artsdalen rode G&S.

With the Gordon & Smith Surfboards & Skateboards, the team could expand their range of products.

In 1965, Floyd Smith moved to Australia to set up the brand down under. When G&S finally consolidated his worldwide network, Smith sold his interest in the company to Larry Gordon.

The brand continued to grow. The foam shortboards kept selling, and the skateboard business proved to be a stunning success.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, Gordon & Smith explored the surf wear segment and always resisted the test of time.

"We still shape and glass surfboards about a mile from where his first factory was. The reason he made surfboards, and the reason we keep making them, is for the love of surfing and the stoke it brings in giving people the best ride of their life," Debbie Gordon, Larry's older daughter, told The Guardian.

Larry Gordon was a religious man. He was also a quiet, serene, and friendly personality. His favorite surf spot in San Diego was Tourmaline Canyon.

In the last ten years, he has been fighting Parkinson's disease.

The Surfing Christmas Gift Guide for 2023 | Explore our Christmas gift ideas for surfers