Colburn, Con


Southern California surfboard and surf product manufacturer, and founder of Con Surfboards; "a wily but likable businessman," as described by Surfing magazine in the mid-1960s. Although Colburn didn't begin surfing until 1956 when he was 22, he quickly recognized that the surf market was about to expand, and in 1958 opened the Surf House in Santa Monica. He soon changed the business name to Con Surfboards.

By 1965, Colburn had three retail stores, and by late '66 he had two of the most popular board models on the market: a blunt-ended noserider appropriately called The Ugly, and the C.C. Rider, an East Coast-aimed signature board designed by Claude Codgen of Florida. California standouts Dale Dobson and Steve Bigler were also on the Con team. The circular Con Surfboards logo was nearly as recognizable as the Hobie and Weber marks.

In 1970, Colburn was the first to produce a commercially manufactured surf leash, the Power Cord, and the following year he invented the leash plug, a half-dollar-sized plastic cup that sat flush to the deck of a board as a leash-anchoring device. The least plug is still in use.

In 1988, Colburn moved to Bishop, just below the Sierra Nevada mountains in California; he died four years later of lung cancer, at age 57. The Con Surfboards name was bought in 2007, and Con boards, mostly replicas of the Ugly and the C.C. Rider, were soon found in longboard showrooms across the United States.