Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith forged a close friendship in the mid 1950’s while surfing together. This led to the creation of a surfboard company which became a brand with worldwide recognition.
In the late 50’s most surfboards were shaped from balsa wood. The boards were heavy, hard to maneuver, and easily became waterlogged. Polyurethane foam was a new and ideal material soon to become cutting edge. Larry, a chemistry
student, was able to source the foam chemicals with help from Gordon Plastics, his father’s family business. With no surfboards available within 50 miles, Larry and Floyd built a mold and began blowing their own foam and building surfboards. By the winter of 1959, the demand for their foam surfboards forced a move from Floyd’s Pacific Beach garage into their first legitimate surf shop. Gordon and Smith was born and would become one of a small group of individuals to pioneer the Surf Industry.
In the 60’s Gordon and Smith became one of the leading manufacturers in the industry. Many legendary team riders and shapers had joined forces with G&S which helped them carve out a niche for the company in a time when surfing was defining an era.
In 1965 Floyd moved to Australia to start Gordon and Smith Surfboards on that continent. This expansion brought the innovation and quality of G&S to Australia and provided design innovation in return, plus a new loyalty from around the globe. Floyd returned to the U.S. in 1969. Two years later he sold his part of the business in order to pursue other interests. Today Floyd lives in Northern California.
The late 60’s early 70’s experienced the beginnings of the short board revolution. Always staying current but never sacrificing integrity, Gordon and Smith was able to successfully lead this progression of change to become, at that time, the world’s largest surfboard manufacturer . Few of the other established manufacturers survived this transition with the extinction of traditional longboards. During this time Gordon and Smith also become one of the largest, most successful skateboard companies and one of the first to sponsor professional teamriders. Skateboarding exploded as the company sold 500 Fibreflex skateboards per day with a 6 month backlog and skaters became overnight superstars.
In the early 80’s Gordon and Smith began producing surfwear primarily for the specialty stores. This was highly successful through the 80’s and 90’s. G&S has continued to produce top quality surfboards throughout the decades and has come full circle with its current line of modern performance funshape and longboard designs built with over 4 decades of experience.
2016-Full Circle to the Future
Larry Gordon passed away January 1st 2016. His family still owns the business, Eric and Debbie Gordon run it, and Larry is looked upon as a legend in the surfing industry. His ability to stay true to his vision of 1959 by perpetuating innovation and staying relevant to current lifestyle, is one reason Gordon and Smith has stood the test of time and will continue with the same timeless ethic through his children and grandchildren.
If you are interested in more in depth read on our roots and impact on the Surf Industry, we invite you to buy our coffee table book that chronicles the inception, rise and continuation of a brand through 56 years of existence. Order Now