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Shaper: Reynolds Yater
Length: 9 feet
Width: 21
Weight: 15 lbs
Year Manufactured:
Early-Mid 1960s
Surfboard Photos: Surfing Heritage Foundation
The Apocalypse Now Board
The 86" "Yater Spoon" from the Film "Apocalypse Now"

It’s hardly surprising that Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic Vietnam War movie “Apocalypse Now” contains a reference to surfing, since the original script was written by John Milius of “Big Wednesday” fame. The Hollywood writer and director became enthralled with surfing as a gremmie on the beach at Malibu in the early ’60s.

Milius nailed the surfing soul of 9th Cavalry/Airborne’s swaggering Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) in the memorable “Apocalypse Now" scene where he and Captain Benjamin Willard (Charlie Sheen) are discussing the best way to get Willards patrol boat onto the Nung River. One of the 9th Cavalry soldiers, a surfer known as "Mike from San Diego", informs Kilgore – clad in a “Yater” surfing tee shirt - that theres a fantastic pointbreak at a potential drop off point for the PT boat. But the village in front of the surf spot is a Viet Cong stronghold. Kilgore vows to take out the village so he and his men can ride some waves. "It`s pretty hairy in there," Mike says. "Its Charlies Point."

“Charlie don’t surf!” Kilgore famously scoffs, as he calls for his Yater Spoon model surfboard. And then he orders all hell to rain down from a fleet of Huey helicopters while ordering a pair of his men to paddle out. “God,” sighs Kilgore, sniffing the air as if it were a salty breeze off the sea, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

One minor problem: neither of the two boards that appear in the movie are in fact Yater Spoons, but rather nondescript stock longboards that Yater believes were bought off the rack at his Santa Barbara Surf Shop sometime around 1970 and dressed up with artwork by the moviemakers.

Yater had no idea that either he or is boards would even be mentioned in the film. When it first came out: “A bunch of guys said, you’ve gotta see this movie. When I did I was kind of blown away.”

The Surfing Scenes from Apocalypse Now:

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