Gardner, now living in Melbourne Beach, created the single fin board three decades ago with the likeness of the iconic American superhero in his red cape draped over his wide blue shoulders and right arm outstretched about to take flight on the bottom of the board. It was a striking design.
Gardner was so proud of his creation that he put it on display in the front window of Bird’s Surf Shop in Miami Beach.
“I wanted to showcase this board,” said Gardner, who has been building surfboards since 1966. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Superman, so when I decided to make this board I knew it would be special.”
The board was stolen two days later, and even though he put out an alert for it at the time, nobody responded, and he thought it was gone forever… Then, in July 2017, he received a surprise email from a surfer named Aaron Tourlette who had found the board with Gardner’s signature on it.
“When I told him it was my ‘Superman’ surfboard and the story about how it was stolen 36 years ago, Tourlette was sympathetic and immediately wanted to return it to me,” Gardner explained.