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“Temples of Stoke” – The Expanded California Edition

“Temples of Stoke” – The Expanded California Edition

Starting up north in San Francisco, come join us as we take a trip down the coast and visit California’s iconic surf shops, most still in operation and some “in memoriam.” It’s an ongoing project — over time we’ll continue to add shops as we research and find more photos and stories. If you have descriptive info and photos of shops not listed here, please contact us and we’ll do our best to add them! barry@shacc.org

  • Wise Surfboards
    • http://www.wisesurfboards.com/
    • Bob Wise opened his shop on Wawona Street in San Francisco in 1968 where he would shape and glass boards for his local surf community. With the growth of surfing, Bob began to sell a variety of boards from many different shapers, along with wetsuits, boots, hoods, gloves, and rashguards to help brace the cold of the San Francisco waters.  The shop has remained open since 1968, holding the title of San Francisco’s oldest surf shop.  Wise Surfboards has provided surfboards and equipment to Northern California surfers for many years, proclaiming themselves as San Francisco’s surfing specialists.

 

  • Haut
    • http://www.hautsurfboards.com
    • Doug Haut moved to the Bay Area from Wisconsin at the age of 14, quickly discovering the surf in Santa Cruz and was surfing there almost everyday. Soon after high school graduation he moved to Santa Cruz to continue surfing.  In 1961 Haut moved to Hawaii’s North Shore to ditch the cold water for a bit and indulge in the tropical paradise.  This decision was life-changing, as it was here he was taught by the famed surfer and shaper Mike Diffenderfer.  When he returned to California he worked for Jack O Neill for a short time and then for George Olsen Surfboards.  During this time he was able to develop his own clientele, allowing him to start Haut Surfboards in 1965.  Haut Surfboards has been in the same location since 1969, and even houses detailed ledger books that date back to the 1960s.  The book contains the payroll, each job performed by whom on each board Haut designed, who has bought it, and for how much.  Haut Surfboards harkens back to the early days of surf shops containing mostly boards, wax, and surfboard repair kits.  Haut has mastered nearly every board design and likes to work with each surfer to develop the perfect design for their specific needs.  Recently, Haut has developed a large following in Japan who appreciate his boards as the works of art they are.  With close to 30,000 board shaped, Haut does not seem to be stopping any time soon.

 

  • O’Neill
    • https://us.oneill.com/
    • Jack O’Neill’s tiny retail store, which started in his garage in 1952 and later expanded to San Francisco’s Great Highway, was the world’s first ‘Surf Shop.’ There he learned to shape and finish balsa surfboards.  That’s where he began to experiment with the new wetsuit material that would change everything.  His shop handled products other than surfboards, which explains his reasoning for calling it a ‘surf shop’.  He claims that while “there were Velzy Surfboards and Hobie Surfboards, but there was no such thing as a ‘surf shop’.”  A few months after starting his surf shop he created his first neoprene wetsuit vest inspired by the neoprene foam flooring of a DC-3 passenger plane.  O’Neill opened his second Surf Shop in Santa Cruz in 1959.  Surfboards were the primary sale item at first, but wetsuits became the shop’s defining product in the early ‘60s, and by the end of the decade O’Neill was the industry leader.  By the 70s, after Jack lost his eye in a surfboard leash accident, Jack was the consummate behind-the-scenes operator of what was turning into a small international empire.  He never brought attention to himself, and on the rare event when he spoke to the surf press he modestly attributed his success to little more than good timing.

 

  • Freeline
    • https://www.freelinesurf.com/
    • John Mel began shaping in the 1960s under the tutelage of Skip Frye and the Gordon and Smith factory in San Diego. He was able to quickly refine his skills and move to Hawaii’s North Shore to continue his shaping endeavors.  At this time he was shaping out of a garage and his then pregnant wife was still in California selling Avon.  Mel wanted to expand his abilities to provide and decided to take the jump and start Freeline in 1969 in Santa Cruz.  This shop was run out of the garage of his house with a little showroom on the side.  Since then, they have had a few locations on 41st Avenue, the main place in Santa Cruz.  Mel is known for his kneeboards along with some longboards and hybrids.  Over 50% of these are custom fits.  The Mel family continues to expand their surfing legacy with son Pete charging giant waves and getting a job at Quicksilver, while grandson John is an up and coming grom.  Freeline prides itself on its family legacy that continues to run the shop today.  John Mel Sr. takes pride in what he calls a “family run toy store”.

 

  • Wavelengths /Pancho’s in Pismo Beach
    • http://www.wavelengthssbi.com/
    • http://www.panchospismobeach.com/
    • The Hischer family has helped “bring the beach to you” since the late 70’s with Wavelengths in Morro Bay and Pancho’s in Pismo Beach.  Providing a variety of boards, clothes, and even skateboards.  The packed stores not only host a large amount of new inventory, but also old surfboards and skateboards in the rafters  boasting their long history. The crown jewels are George Greenough’s 2 clear bottom, red Velo kneeboards, a balsa kneeboard, a carbon fiber kneeboard and one of George’s surf mats.

 

  • Yater Surfboards
    • Renny Yater, the founder of Yater Surfboards, began surfing at the age of 14 in the 1940s, and by 21 had already started making his own boards. In the mid-to-late ‘50s, Yater worked with the two biggest board builders in the world.  He was the laminator at Hobie from 1955 to 1957 and the shaper at Velzy Surfboards from 1957 to 1959.  He then left southern California and opened Santa Barbara Surf Shop in 1959.  Yater trademarked the name Yater Surfboards at the same time.  Quickly after his move, he created the Yater Spoon.  This thin, light and maneuverable board was the perfect match for long, point break waves like those found at Rincon.  This board sold well up and down the coast, and some were even shipped in small numbers to Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and Hawaii.  Yater was also the founder and first president of the Santa Barbara Surf Club which allowed the small group access to Hollister Ranch.  Yater is known for his incredible work ethic and humble attitude despite his level of celebrity.  He continues to shape innovative quality boards in spite of his age. The Beach House Surf Shop in Santa Barbara (see below) has devoted a room to Yater Surfboards, both old and new.  His timeless work has contributed greatly to the industry throughout the years.

 

  • The Beach House
    • https://surfnwearbeachhouse.com/
    • Surf N’ Wear’s Beach House was first opened in Summerland, CA just four miles from Rincon Point in 1962. Jeff White opened the original shop with Brian Bradley under the name White Owl Surfboards.  In 1963, they decided to change the name to Owl Surfboards to simplify it.  The pair started out with Brian doing most of the shaping and Jeff glassing, blowing blanks, and some shaping.  In 1965, Jeff and Brian shifted the focus of their business more toward retail and began opening stores under the name Surf’n Wear.  Brian left the business in 1967, and Jeff continued to oversee the retail locations as well as the production of Owl Surfboards.  During the shortboard revolution, the company still chose to promote longboards selling basic production boards for $95 and called them “Poor Boys”.  In the 70s, well known local shaper Mark Andreini and Bruce Fowler shaped boards for the Owl name, and Phil Becker actually shaped some 20-30 longboards during this time period.  Surfboards bearing the Owl name continue to be built today.  Mark Andreini continues to shape for them.  Recently, he has been making solid redwood replicas from timbers purchased when an old water tower was dismantled in nearby San Luis Obispo.  Roger Nance, Jeff’s long-time partner in Owl Surfboards and owner of the Beach House surf shop in Santa Barbara, overseas the operation.

  • Morey/Pope
    • Tom Morey’s family moved to Laguna in 1943 when he was 8 years old, where he quickly learned how to master the water. At nine he was riding a surf mat, at 15 a borrowed surfboard, and by 18 he was on his way to becoming a top Californian longboarder.  Morey was one of the first sponsored “professional surfers” when he was part of the Velzy and Jacobs surf teams supported by Dewey Weber.  By 1955, Morey had already invented concave nose pockets and turned down noses for surfboards.  After graduating USC and joining the National Guard for 6 years, Morey began working with Douglas Aircrafts in Santa Monica as a composite engineer.  In the mid 60s, Tom quit his day job to work on surfboards full time.  He rented a building in Ventura, hired workers and began production.  In 1965, Morey and his college friend Kar Pope formed the company Morey-Pope.  In addition to developing a wax replacement product called SlipCheck, the Morey-Pope company also built, tested and marketed the Trisect: a three-piece travel surfboard that folded into a canvas suitcase.  From 1965 to 1969, the Morey-Pope surfboard line included classics such as the Camel, the Eliminator, the John Peck Penetrator, Bob Cooper’s Blue Machine and the McTavish Tracker.  In 1964, Morey created Tom Morey Skeg Works in 1964 and created the first polypropylene fin.  Skeg Works became Morey Surfboards in 1965 and introduced the W.A.V.E, a removable skeg system.  In 1969, Morey gave over his half of the company to Karl Pope to move to Kauai.  Later in the 1970s, Morey developed the Morey Boogie Board.  His creation became the quintessential Southern Californian surf invention of the 1970s.  In the late 1970s, around 80,000 bodyboards per year were being produced.  Morey is a restless inventor, constantly coming up with new innovations.  Morey remarked, “The world is an old-fashioned place to me.  Everything I see can be improved.”

 

  • Ventura Surf Shop
    • https://shopvss.com/
    • Ventura Surf Shop’s long and complicated history began in 1962 with Tom Hale. This small shop located at 235 W. Santa Clara St is where Hale made and sold his custom surfboards.  In 1963, Tom Morey recruited Hale to become the shaper for his small shop.  During his time with Morey, Hale was helped by Morey’s artistic wife in order to create the first Ventura Surf Shop Logo.  Then in 1965 Morey became partners with Karl Pope, opening up Morey Pope on Front St. in Ventura.  Tom Hale decided to create his own sales shop to produce his own custom boards.  Hale remained surfing and shaping in Ventura until 1973.  While Hale pursued this endeavor, Bill “Blinky” Hubina became the first employee at Morey Pope.  Soon after Blinky moved to William Dennis surfboards, however, when Pope decided to sell the Morey-Pope building in 1973, Blinky took it over.  In 1973 when Tom Hale left Ventura, employees started answering the phone “William Dennis” Ventura Surf Shop and assumed the name.  In 1980 the shop was sold to Stan Fuji who officially changed the sign to Ventura Surf Shop in 1986.  Blinky later purchased the shop in 2012 from Mark Ellison, running it today with his son Robert Hubina.  While the shop passed through many hands and names, the heart of the store with is connection to the surfers in Ventura makes it unique.  All the owners have had a huge impact on the surfing industry, beginning with their work in Ventura.

 

  • WaldenSurfboards
    • https://www.waldensurfboards.com
    • Steve Walden first entered the surfboard manufacturing industry in 1968, a time in which the longboard was a dead relic of the past. At the age of 20 he started shaping in Huntington Beach for Greek Surfboards. A year later, he opened his own surfboard manufacturing facility, followed by a 3 retail surf shops in Huntington. During the ensuing 4 years he became one of the largest producers of surfboards in the United States, distributing over 10,000 surfboards. Started Dyno Mfg. and made all of David Nuuhiwa, John Peck, Dale Dobson, Corky Carrol as well as his own boards. He also came out with his first major innovation, “The Wingtail,” which significantly revolutionized surfboard design. Walden currently operates a surfboard manufacturing facility in Ventura, California. He continues to actively compete in professional competitive surfing, and in fact holds the longest recorded nose ride in competition history. He attributes this feat to the excellence of his nose-riding design. His most recent industry precedent is a longboard designed specifically for the female surfer. The famous Magic Model is the only modern surfboard hull that is patented.

 

  • Val Surf
    • https://www.facebook.com/Valsurf.since1962/
    • It was the early 1960s Mark Richards was a 14-year old Valley kid hooked on surfing. In his many drives from the Valley through Topanga and Malibu canyons to the beaches, Richards noticed a lot of cars with surfboards strapped to their rooftops.  Richards realized there was an untapped market of valley surfers who were not being served in their own community.  After doing some research, the Richards family decided to open Val Surf on October 6, 1962.  Starting in the Valley meant that they needed a strong board brand to support them.  Hobie was reluctant at first, but John Severson of Surfer magazine was one of the biggest promoters of Val Surf.  He was able to convince Hobie and get him to sell the boards to Val Surf.  In fact, Val Surf was the very first retail account for Quicksilver, Hang Ten and Hobie Surfboards.  In addition to selling surfing products the shop also sold skateboards, snowboards and other action sport accessories.  One of the shop’s initial marketing strategies was selling their products via mail-order, something unusual at the time for such a small business. Today, the business is run by Richards’s son Brandon and Blake, his brother Kurt and his niece Denise Richard Millis.  It’s one of the oldest family-owned and operated surf/skate/snowboard stores still in business.  Val Surf takes pride in its knowledgeable staff who are all skaters, surfers, and snowboarders who know what product is best for each customer.

 

  • Tyler Surfboards
    • https://www.tylersurfboards.com/
    • Tyler Hatzikian makes traditional longboards hoping to pick up where the old masters of the 60s in the South Bay left off. Tyler began shaping in his garage at the age of 12, hoping to earn some extra money.  He said from the moment he sold his second board, he was hooked.  Tyler hand shapes all his boards, mirroring the style of those from the South Bay with his shop in El Segundo.  While his boards may harken back to an earlier era, Tyler is skilled in his own making more than just replicas.  His shop has been continuously open since 1984, housing all of Tyler’s hobbies in one place.

 

  • Spyder Surfboards
    • https://www.spydersurf.com/
    • Dennis Jarvis started building Spyder surfboards to better suit his personal needs for the Professional World Tour in 1978. In 1983, Dennis officially opened Spyder Surf Shop as he got a steady amount of requests for his boards.  Dennis shaped out of the back of his shop, so while you were shopping he could also be making your custom board.  They have since expanded the shop since 1983, with a nearly 7000 square foot shop that houses everything surf, skate and snow.  With now two shops in Hermosa Beach, Spyder surfboards takes pride in its 30 years working with the community to help them achieve their surfing dreams.

 

  • Jacobs
    • https://www.facebook.com/people/Jacobs-Surfboards/100000117465366
    • Hap Jacobs started shaping in 1953 after spending two years stationed in Hawaii with the Coast Guard. The following year he became partners with Dale Velzy, opening up Velzy-Jacobs Surfboards in Venice Beach.  They each made about six boards a week, always making sure to swap who was surfing while one watched the shop.  Four years later the duo split and Jacobs founded his own label in Hermosa Beach.  As a fine craftsmen, his company developed quickly, by the middle of the decade they were making up to 125 boards a week.  This would only be rivaled by Hobie, Weber, and Noll.  When the shortboard revolution started, Jacobs stopped shaping.  However, his retail shop remained open until 1981.  He returned to shaping in the early ‘90s, shaping boards under the Jacobs label once again.  This year, Jacobs shaped his final surfboard at the ripe age of 88, officially retiring.  The board was a clear glassed, 9-foot Performance model, with a single stringer down the middle and red pin stripes wrapping the rails.  He was the last of Hermosa Beach’s Golden Age of Surfing Shapers shaping.  After his final shaping session, Jacobs bequeathed his prized templates to Jose Barhona, whose shaping bay is only a few doors down from Jacobs,.  Barhona will continue Jacobs’ shapes and name.  Looking back on his life, he recounts as “Having fun.  And still being able to make a living doing something I love” as what he is most proud of.

 

  • ET surfboards
    • http://www.etsurf.com/
    • In the mid sixties, Eddie Talbot and his best friend, Pat “Grumby” Ryan, were groms on the Greg Noll Surf Team. At the time Eddie was managing Greg Noll’s shop, while Pat made boards for Eddie and the team.  While raw-looking, the team surfed on them well.  Eddie loved working for Noll, but the end of the business was in sight.  Trying to help Greg in anyway he could, Eddie told him to pay as much as he could afford, picking up the difference when business returned.  As the boards got shorter, more shapers abandoned their shops until Noll was one of the few left.  However, Noll had to close his factory doors.  The night before he was to do that, Noll told Eddie to rent a large truck, drive it down to the factory, and load it up with blanks, fiberglass and as much resin he could carry.  He loaded this all into his small apartment and would sell all the material to backyard board builders in the middle of the night.  He was able to save enough money from his backyard surfboard building material business to rent the smallest shop on the north side of Aviation Boulevard, across the street from where his shop is now. The first Et Surf Shop was shop was opened in 1972 with only a tiny showroom.  A few years later they were able to relocate to a larger store across the street that they have been at ever since.  In the early Seventies, ET Surfboards became the first surf shop to carry clothing linked with surfing and skateboarding.  They provide the South Bay with everything you could need for surfing and skating while also collecting and creating history.

 

  • Greg Noll Surfboards
    • https://nollsurfboards.com
    • Greg Noll started building custom surfboards out of Balsa wood in his parents garage in Manhattan Beach California under the Noll name in 1951 and has been on a life long journey revolving around the ocean, surfing and surfboards ever since. The surf shops in Hermosa and San Clemente are gone now but Greg’s son, Jed, carries on the shaping tradition to this day.

 

  • Bing
    • https://bingsurf.com/
    • Bing Copeland began surfing in 1949 at age 13 with Greg Noll a the Manhattan Beach Pier. Bing and Greg both learned how to make surfboards from Dale Velzy.  Both of them hung around Velzy’s shop for years helping sweep up, gluing up balsa blanks, shaping wood fins and repairing boards.  The summer of 1954, Bing, Greg, Sonny Vardeman and Hap Jaocbs all became lifeguards seeking to save up enough money for a trip to Hawaii.  After his big trip in 1955 to Hawaii came to a close due to low funds, Bing and Rick Stoner both joined the Coast Guards where they were luckily assigned to a ship in Hawaii.  In 1958, Bing and Stoner sailed around the world, eventually introducing modern surfing and surfboards to New Zealand.  Bing opened his first shop in the fall of 1959 with Rick Stoner, becoming one of the major surfboard manufacturers of the 60s and early 70s.  A year after opening, Rick decided to sell his share to Bing, thus producing Bing Surfboards. The business grew quickly.  At one point, the factory produced up to 40 surfboards a day.  On top of an all-star shaping crew, Bing had an amazing group of talented team riders to represent his brand.  In the late 60s, Bing and his family decided to move to Idaho, as Bing pursued a career change in the face of the shortboard revolution.  While Bing was able to produce a few popular shortboard models, his sales declined and his wife wanted to distance the family from the drug scene in Hermosa Beach.  In 1974, Gordon and Smith took on the license of Bing Surfboards under shaper Mike Eaton through the 80s and 90s.  In 2000 a young shaper approached Bing and offered to make Bing’s boards if he was interested.  Bing mentioned this to Eaton who passed on the legacy of Bing Surfboards to Matt Calvani who still shapes Bing surfboards in Encinitas.

 

  • Weber
    • https://www.deweyweber.com/
    • Dewey Weber was the first “hotdogger”, assaulting surfing with his unique flamboyant style. Drew Kampion, of Surfing Magazine, said, “With his trademark red trunks, platinum blond hair, and a definite attitude, Dewey defined the archetype of the Southern California surfer. Surfing was what he loved and did best; it allowed the artist, athlete and salesman in him merge.”  His surf style soon lent him the nickname “the Little Man on Wheels”.  Weber was featured in nearly every surf movie of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.  In the summer of 1960, Dewey Weber embraced the world of business, borrowing $1,500 to open a two-room surf shop in the beach in Venice.  At 22 years old he was making surfboards in one room, selling them in the other and surfing every day.  His brand soon became the sport’s second most popular brand, following Hobie Surfboards. In 1960, Dewey sat down with a man at the print shop and designed his famous mark.  He would wear the colors make sure it was “in your face”.  By doing this, it became internationally recognized, selling Dewey Weber T-shirts with his rectangle emblazoned on them all over the world.  Dewey ran his surfboard manufacturing operation around the clock, producing up to 100 surfboards a day.  He was the first surfboard manufacturer to give a model a name to designate a particular surfboard design.  He revolutionized surfing with the first “cut-a-way” fin (the infamous hatchet fin), the introduction of the first removable fin unit, and his implementation of the first “milling machine”.  Dewey Weber passed on January 6, 1993.  Today, Dewey and Caroline’s eldest son Shea, run the business.  The Dewey Weber factory showroom and gallery, located in San Clemente, California, is a point of interest for surfers and non-surfers.  It is an example of the early surf shops of the 1960s and features Dewey Weber photos and memorabilia.

 

  • Rick Surfboards
    • Rick Stoner was born in San Diego in 1937, but grew up in Hermosa Beach alongside Bing Copeland. Growing up alongside Bing, Rick had very similar life to him.  They were both lifeguards together, surfers, and surfboard shapers.  Mentored by Dale Velzy, Rick learned the tricks of the trade early on.  In 1961, while still lifeguarding, Stone opened Rick Surfboards.  In 1966, he produced two of his most well-known models: the Dru Harrison Improvisor and the Barry Kanaiaupuni model.  Rick Surfboards quickly expanded to the East Coast and Hawaii and became the first name to export surfboards on a large scale to Peru.  Rick sold the business in 1974, able to weather the shortboard revolution unlike many of the other original shapers due to his financial sensibilities.  Rick’s life was cut short in 1977 when he passed away from a brain tumor.  Bing Copeland shortly following Rick’s death said “Rick was the most generous and caring person I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with.”

 

  • Dive N’ Surf
    • https://divensurf.com/
    • Dive N’ Surf was one of the first surf shops in the South Bay, opened by Hap Jacobs and diving expert Bev Morgan. Soon after opening, Jacobs left the business, wanting to devote more time to board-making.  He sold his share to the 25 year old Meistrell brothers in 1953 for $1,800.  The original store was located at 223 Hermosa Ave. in Hermosa Beach, so close to the water during high surf waves would lap against its rear walls.  In 1958, a second Dive N’ Surf store was built, becoming the company’s flagship store.  When Morgan decided to go on an around-the-world odyssey in 1958, the Meistrell brothers were able to buy out his share and take full ownership of the business.  The brothers loved all things water since they were young children, encouraging them to experiment with Bev Morgan on various wetsuits.  Their search for a better wetsuit led them to neoprene, a rubber then used to insulate the rear panels of refrigerators.  What resulted was the first commercially viable wetsuit, allowing the shop to gain popularity.  At a 1966 meeting with a marketing consultant Bob Meistrell remarked that the suit “fit like a glove”, which would later morph into the name “Body Glove”.  The surfing craze of the early 1960s also boosted the store’s business, allowing the Meistrells to quit their lifeguarding job permanently.  Surfers would come to the store not only for the boards, but for their increasingly popular wetsuits.  Body Glove, located in Redondo Beach, went on to become an industry leader, second only to O’Neill Wetsuits.  The lives of the Meistrell brothers have been honored in a statue of the two brothers in Redondo Beach next to the entrance to Seaside Lagoon.  Family members, including Robbie and Billy Meistrell, continue to run the business, making it the only remaining family-owned company of its size and kind still in operation.

 

  • Harbour
    • https://www.harboursurfboards.com/
    • Rich Harbour was pretty good on the surf mats people rode back in the 1940s, but his mom soon noticed people standing up on boards to ride waves. She encouraged him to try it, saying it looked like much more fun.  He was quickly hooked, convincing his parents to buy him his first surfboard.  Once he got his first board, someone stole it from his yard.  When his parents refused to buy him a new one, Rich decided to make one himself.  His father, who was in the aerospace industry, helped him with the project.  The first board he made, one of the earliest surfboards ever made with a foam core, didn’t turn out so well.  He was not discouraged, instead he decided to make another one.  He looked at all the professional surfboards to see what steps they did that he didn’t.  Soon, he found himself making boards for his buddies, most selling for about $100 a piece.  In 1962, he dropped out of college and opened Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach.  Harbour surfboards also produced some of the period’s best-selling models, including the Banana, The Trestle Special, and the Cheater.  To date, with the help of other shapers, more than 31,000 Harbour boards have been produced.  These days, the Harbour retail shop is owned and run by Robert Howson, who bought it in 1993.  However, Harbour can still be found in the shaping room and handling the manufacturing side of the business.  Harbour recounts “I was so taken with this process that I loved it more than I did surfing.  I would love to be, when I’m gone, recognized as one of the better craftsmen that’s ever been in this business.”  What he appreciates the most is when people come back and thank him for what they taught and gave them.  There is nothing more special than being able to provide the fun in people’s lives.

 

  • Katin
    • https://www.katinusa.com
    • Nancy and Walter Katin first jumped into business in 1954 creating small boat covers in Surfside, California. These canvas boat covers were essentially bulletproof, encouraging a few friends to ask Walter “the Captain” Katin for a couple custom boat shorts of similar material.  Walter continued his focus on small boat covers for a few years until a young surfer approached him asking for custom shorts for surfing to replace his cut off jeans.  This teenager was Corky Carroll who successfully persuaded Walter to make the custom shorts for him, creating California’s first surf trunks.  Word spread about these special shorts, creating more work than Walter could handle forcing him to hire Sato Hughes, a local seamstress.  Bursting into the scene at the perfect time, Katins became a stronghold within the surfing community known for the best custom surf trunks.  Champion surfers like Shaun Tomson, Peter Townend, Reno Abelliro, Mike Purpus, and Gerry Lopez all wore the Katin surf trunks.  The Katins further supported the surfing community by creating the “Katin Underdog Contest” and the Katin PRO/AM Team Challenge.  When Nancy and Walter eventually passed their seamstress Sato Hughes was left the company who continues to run the original surf shop with the same love, dedication, and care as Nancy and Walter.  Both Nancy and Walter made a huge impact on the world of surfing by not only creating California’s first surf trunk, but also fostering a community of support for young surfers.

 

  • George’s HB
    • George’s Surf shop was not named after George Draper, believe it or not.  Draper actually bought it from George Panton back in 1967 for a mere $1000.  Draper was born in Kansas, but moved to Carlsbad in 1952. He quickly became friends with Murph the Surf, Phil Edwards, and L.J. Richards.  He learned to surf at Terra Mar with a board that Phil Edwards made. From there, Draper taught Don Hansen how to surf and was even a delivery driver for Clark foam back in the 1960s.  After these jobs, Draper acquired the surf shop in Huntington Beach on September 7, 1967. George’s Surf shop had all the big name boards and top shapers of the time, from Brewer to Aipa.  George’s Surf Center helped to put Huntington Beach on the map as Surf City USA.

 

  • Chuck Dent Surfboards
    • Chuck Dent began surfing in Huntington Beach at the age of 16 and by the early ‘60s he was already working as a salesman for Jack Haley Surfboards in Seal Beach, building a large customer base quickly. He later described his clientele as “dropouts, lowriders, gremmies, dopers, juicers, radicals, dirtbags, and general riffraff”.  He finally opened his own shop in Huntington Beach in 1964.  Dent is known for his many anti-surf-industry monologues, with two of them in the movies Pacific Vibrations and Five Summer Stories.  He officially closed his shop in the mid-70s.  However, he made a slight return in 1978 with the Chuck Dent Surf Center.  He passed away soon after in 1980.  Chuck Dent has since been inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1998.  He is remembered as the “original angry young man of surfing”, a name he gave himself.

 

  • Rockin Fig
    • http://www.rockinfigsurf.com/
    • Since 1992, Rockin Fig has been a Main Street fixture in Huntington Beach. Its owner, Rick “Rockin Fig” Fignetti, is a bit of a legend: a 10 time West Coast Surfing Champion and a two time national champion.  From 1984 to 2010, surfers throughout southern California woke up to Fignetti’s voice reporting the surf conditions on local radio station KROQ.  Fig got into the surf business making boards for Chuck Dent before transitioning into a store of his own.  Fignetti sells custom boards, accessories, clothing, and sunglasses out of his 900-sq foot shop.  The shop has only two employees: Fignetti and his son Rick Fignetti Jr.  His store is littered with collectible boards from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, that Fig has slowly purchased throughout the years.  Rockin Fig Surf Headquarters is an old school shop with tons of surfboards that Fig is happy to discuss with an encyclopedic knowledge.  He is also a journalist of note, having penned a column in the Huntington Beach Independent and Los Angeles Times for many years.  Hardcore surfers can find him most every day on the north side of the pier, riding waves and loving life.  Aaron Pai of Huntington Beach Surf and Sport said “Rick ‘Rockin Fig’ Fignetti is a home grown Huntington Beach surfing legend; one of Huntington’s finest.  He’s been an amazing ambassador for out sport both in and out of the water.”

 

  • Jack’s
    • https://jackssurfboards.com/
    • On the intersection of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, across the street from Huntington Beach Pier, lies Jack’s Surfboards. The store was founded in 1957 by Orange County native Jack Hokanson, who was seeking a surf shop that was full service.  When he first opened his doors, there was no place that sold surfboards, wetsuits, apparel and gear.  He wanted to assure that anyone walking in his doors could walk out ready for a full day of surf.  They were even the first shop to sell the Morey Boogie Board.  When Hokanson wanted out of the business years later, friends Ron Abdel and his uncle Mike Abdelmuti took over.  In 1994, Abdelmuti helped to start the surfing walk of fame, just outside the doors of the Jack’s in Huntington Beach.  It’s still a family business, with Ron’s brother Bobby becoming a partner in 1976.  When Abdelmuti passed away in 1992, his son Jamal also became an owner.  With 10 locations throughout the Southern California coast, Jack’s is nationally recognized as a destination for surfers and tourists alike.  Jack’s 13,000 square-foot flagship store on Main Street in Huntington Beach brings in customers from around the globe, and carries one of the widest assortments of brands ever represented in a surf shop.  They have more than 500 surfboards in stock at all times and thousands of wetsuits.  One manager noted that “The location is awesome and we always try to have as much product on hand as possible.  We always try to help people out as best we can.  We try to basically have everything, so you don’t miss it.”

 

  • Huntington Surf & Sport
    • https://www.hsssurf.com/
    • Huntington Surf and Sport was founded in 1978 at PCH and 15th street. Aaron Pai, a 23 year old surfer, was the first employee hired at the store.  The next year Aaron was given the opportunity to purchase the store.  Borrowing $60,000 from his parents, Aaron purchased the store that would become the ground zero of the surf retail world.  Three decades later, Aaron and his family still work and own Huntington Surf and Sport.  Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aaron learned to surf at Waikiki and sought to carry the same “Aloha Spirit” with him to his surf shop.  “It’s all about the love of the sport and sharing it with people,” said Pai.  “We’re not about the sale; we’re all about helping people and providing what’s right for them.  The sale is just the fruit of helping people.”  In the late 1980s Pai began working to secure their core location across from the HB Pier.  On July 1, 1990, Huntington Surf and Sport opened their most prominent location that receives an immense amount of traffic each year.  The store holds a huge selection of all the top shapers, while also providing boards from local shapers.  More important to Aaron as mentioned above is his heart to serve the community.  Before warranties existed, HSS offered repairs or replacements on faulty products.  For years, the store has supported Huntington Beach High School surf team, and other local surfers.  One of his most heartfelt achievements is the Surfers’ Hall of Fame that lies just outside the doors of his store.  This family run business reminds many that while surfing has grown exponentially, the community within still runs deep.

 

  • The Frog House
    • https://www.facebook.com/The-Frog-House-Surf-Shop-49956651118/
    • The Frog House was originally opened in 1962 and has only changed hands once. TK is the second owner of the shop buying it after working at the shop for almost 10 years.  Ever since, the names Frog House and TK have become practically interchangeable.  The store was originally opened by Frank Jensen, who was not so much a surfer but more a surf culture fanatic. TK grew up in Florida, but as fate would have it TK’s father was transferred to Huntington Beach right before his senior year of high school in 1967.  The next thing TK knew, Frog House team rider and surfing acquaintance Charlie Rey was introducing him to Frank.  For the first five weeks after meeting Frank, TK would stay at the store and when a customer came in he would walk them through the shop, demonstrating his knowledge and his ability to sell.  Frank hired TK shortly after.  As the years went on TK realized he was not making much money behind the counter, deciding to start his own shop.  However, before making his move he approached Frank and asked him if he would sell Frog House.  After some negotiating Frank sold Frog House to TK in 1977.  The shop has remained generally the same since it first opened, still using an old cash register and receipt booklets to record all transactions.  While the Frog House is successful, TK assures he is not in the business to make big money, instead he focuses on staying true to the foundation of the surf shop.  “[The industry today] is all about clothes, but I never grew up wanting to work in a clothing store,” he explains.  “I grew up wanting to work in a surf shop, so I’ve resisted the temptation to go for that money… A big-time surf shop might be 85 percent clothing, 15 percent hard goods; we do 85 percent hard goods and 15 percent clothing.”

 

  • Surfside
    • https://www.surfsidesports.com
    • The first time we can find Surfside is in the Yellow Pages for 1973. Then in 1975 the store is listed in the book “Surfboard Design and Construction.” 2023 will be the shop’s 50th year. Going through a number of name changes, beginning with Hanifin Surfboards and ending with Surfside Sports, most know them as just “Surfside.” Pat Hanifin sold the store to the French family, the current owners bought it from Kathy French in May of 1992. The store is now owned by Paul Burnett and Mike “Duke” Edukas and his two sons, Joe and David. The shop was located just up 23rd Street from the surf spot, “Blackies” until November of 2006, and then they relocated to a new store on 17th Street in Costa Mesa. They serve the surfing and skateboarding community year round, and the snowboard community during the Winter snow season.

 

  • 15th St Surf + Supply
    • https://15thstsurfsupply.com
    • 15th St Surf + Supply has been a surf shop at this location since 1961.  While owners have changed and times have evolved, the soulfulness of the beach lifestyle at 15th St. in Newport Beach has never faded. 15th St Surf + Supply is independently owned and operated by folks who live just down the street.

 

  • Russell Surfboards
    • http://www.surfboardsbyrussell.com
    • In 1967, Russell Surfboards was formally opened on Balboa Blvd just a stone’s throw away from Blackies, the historic bar and surf spot. The shortboard revolution was creating a renewed spirit of experimentation, and Russ was building a team of the best, most progressive board builders around. Guys like Mike O’day, Bruce Jones, Bobby (BASA) Allen, Randy Lidau and the infamous Paul and Vinny Sides all came to work for Russell Surfboards during this period. Even the great Dale Velzy shaped a few balsa wood guns for the shop, and those guys built some of the most progressive boards in California.

 

  • Thalia Surf Shop
    • https://thaliasurf.com
    • Located on the corner of Laguna’s historic PCH and Thalia Street, we’ve been a staple in the surf community since 2001. Back when logos were big and egos even bigger, Nick Cocores set out to show the other side of surfing – the style, originality and soul of the sport. He partnered with some of the greats before they became who we know today by showcasing their talent through film, graphic design, and art. And before we knew it we had a strong following on our hands. Now, almost 2 decades later, we’re still slinging more than just tees for our customers who want to support the independent artists today. Visit the shop and you might see a personal delivery from one of their friends like Alex Knost, Tyler Warren, Campbell Brothers, or Gato Heroi, just to name a few.

 

  • Laguna Surf and Sport
    • https://surfandsport.com/
    • Eric John was 22 years old and attending Long Beach State when Aaron Pai of Huntington Surf and Sport asked him if he wanted to open up a store in Laguna Beach, going half in. At the time, it was Oak Street Surf Shop.  They were experiencing a hard time, barely having any inventory.  Tim Burnardy, the O’Neill wetsuit rep at the time, backed the store creating a sense of security for Eric John.  If O’Neill wetsuits weren’t sold in your store, you are not a real shop, so the fact the main Southern California rep had backed the store meant it was the real deal. Over its history, the store has acted as an incubator for some of the most talented pro surfers on the planet–and turned a profit every year since it opened its doors in 1982.  In 2000 the store opened its second location a few miles inland in Aliso Viejo that was more polished and apparel driven, however, this store has recently closed.  Back in the day, Laguna Surf & Sport had a strong vibe as a place grommets learned respect–sometimes with a good rousting.  The evidence is all over the walls with pictures of grommet beatings all over the place. The store prides itself on having the right guys working the store who know and love the sport.  Their main priority is to serve the community, in spite of profit sometimes, continually sacrificing in order to help their friends and customers.  Eric John hopes that people would be reminded why they got in the industry to begin with, to be reminded of the magic involved in their first job at a surf shop.

 

  • Infinity
    • http://www.infinitysurf.com
    • The first infinity surfboard was shaped in 1970 by Steve Boehne, a 7 foot balsa wood with a single fin. Boehne started surfing in the South Bay in 1959, shaping his first board at the age of 13.  He built hundreds of boards in his garage until 1968 when began to work for Gordie Surfboards.  Always willing to adapt, Boehne quickly took to the shortboard revolution, shaping about 50 boards a week for a variety of shops in Huntington Beach.  After crafting his first Infinity board in 1970, he married Barrie in 1971 who he opened the first Infinity Surf Shop in Huntington Beach.  He has been and continues to be heavily involved with the shaping in his stores; in the first 20 years of Infinity he shaped 500 boards a year.  He has slightly cut down making about 400 boards a year personally.  However, his shop in total has produced more than 40,000 surfboards, supplying many within the surfing community with the perfect board.

 

  • Killer Dana
    • http://www.kdsurfshop.com/
    • Killer Dana was opened on June 10, 1991 when Gary Wright scraped together the $11,500 necessary to open up the 800 square foot shop. The first shop had about 20 new boards on the rack, one case of surf wax, and some miscellaneous clothes.  Chris “Ralphie” Andrews joined Wright about a year later.  In 1996 Steve “Lounge” Price was added to the team to help with mail and new online orders.  Many of the employees at Killer Dana are second and third generation surfers from Dana Point, who take pride in their surfing heritage.  The original owners, Ralphie and Lounge, recently took back ownership of the store.  They are now seeking to focus their business solely in Dana Point, the city that gave them their start.

 

  • Hobie
    • https://www.hobie.com/
    • Hobie’s surf shop and subsequent brand have come to embody the surfer lifestyle transforming surf culture, industry, and local communities. This all began in the 1940s when Hobie got his first surfboard, or rather paddleboard.  For a year he rode this less than surfboard before running into Walter Hoffman.  Hoffman offered to swap boards for a couple waves before insisting that he either make a board for Hobie or tell him where to get the materials to make one himself.   Hobie took him up on the latter offer and built his first surfboard out of his garage that week.  From 1950 to 1953 Hobie made around 80 balsa and fiberglass surfboards in his father’s Laguna Beach garage.  In 1954, Hobie opened his first shop on Coast Highway in Dana point, building it from the ground up.  By the summer of 1955, Hobie experienced such an influx of orders that he was forced to hire his first employee: Gordon “Grubby” Clark.  This partnership would radically change the surfing world.  Hobie began to realize that balsa may run out and sought an alternative.  The summer of 1958, Hobie and Clark worked with foam in order to devise a more sustainable and lighter substance for their boards.  These foam blanks would soon become the industry standard produced by Clark himself who split off from Hobie in 1961 to focus solely on these blanks. As his business continued to thrive, Hobie wished to expand his market and did so with the help of Dick Metz, the founder of Surfing Heritage and Culture Center.  Metz was a skillful businessman who helped Hobie navigate the changing markets and shape his inventory based on clientele.  Hobie’s interests did not lie solely with surfing as he also invented the popular Hobie Cat and a variety of other waterman products.  Seeking to shift his focus from his shop, Hobie licensed his name allowing Hobie products to be sold in places like JC Penney and Sears.  In the same period he sold Coast Catamarans to Coleman and allowed his sons to take over licensing, brand management, and marketing for the Hobie company.  His final step toward retirement came in 1989 when he licensed the surfboard businesses to San Clemente-based Stewart Surfboards with Terry Martin as a shaper.  Even though Hobie was out, his name would remain a stronghold within the surfing industry.  As a constant within surfing, Hobie surf shop and brand promotes a distinct lifestyle that began with surfboards in a garage and now thrives throughout the world.

 

  • Bashams Factory & Surfshop
    • https://www.bashamsfactorysurfshop.com
    • Bashams has been around since the early 70s, in San Clemente. Three shapers call Basham’s home: Chris Kaysen, Maurie Gyenes, and Mark Ellis. Each has a line of boards and each his own approach, but between the three of them, they have all bases covered—a surfer at any point in his development can come in off Avenida de Los Molinos and get the design they need to attain the next level of progression. Rooted in the stretch of coast between Trestles and Salt Creek, the in-house shapers have made boards for virtually all of the area’s core surfers—everything from big-wave guns, to classic noseriders and fish.

 

  • Herbie Fletcher
    • http://www.astrodeck.com
    • “In rock and roll we’ve got Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger,” surf journalist Jamie Brisick wrote in 1996, “in surfing we’ve got Herbie Fletcher.” Herbie Fletcher began his surf shop in 1976 after his illustrious surf career took him across the world. The year he founded Herbie Fletcher Surfboards was the same year he returned to the spotlight after the shortboard revolution, gracing the cover of Surfer nose riding on a bright red longboard.  Herbie Fletcher Surfboards was located in Dana Point and filled with Fletcher-shaped longboards.  His company was centered around a campaign with him hanging ten and a slogan proclaiming “The Thrill is Back”.  In 1975, surfer Jim Van Vleck developed Astrodeck, a spray-on urethane non slip coating for surfboards; Fletcher bought the company the following year.  After he purchased the company he created a peel-and-stick version, and turned Astrodeck into the sport’s best-known accessory.  Its success was due largely to the fact he personally distributed the product to ever surfer. In the 1980s, Fletcher produced and starred in a variety of surf movies.  Herbie as of late has created a range of art exhibitions, showing off his versatility in talent.  Herbie Fletcher is still recognized as a surfing legend and pioneer within the industry.

 

  • T. Patterson Surfboards
    • https://www.tpattersonsurfboards.com
    • T. Patterson Surfboards was founded in 1980 by surfboard shaper Tim Patterson. The Patterson family has a long history in the surfing industry and Tim is the second generation surfboard builder from the Patterson family. His father, Ronald Patterson, and his uncles, Robert and Raymond Patterson, have been involved in the surf industry since its inception in the 1950’s Prior to opening T. Patterson Surfboards, Tim shaped at Hobie Surfboards in Dana Point, California. It was there that he learned the art of shaping from legends such as Dale Velzy, Chris McElroy, Mickey Munoz, and Terry Martin. He was involved with all the facets of the manufacturing process including shaping, laminating, glossing, sanding, and airbrushing. Tim is well versed in all phases of surfboard manufacturing and is considered an expert in design, development, and the hand shaping process.

 

  • StewartSurfboards
    • https://www.stewartsurfboards.com
    • In 1978, Bill Stewart started his own label “Stewart Surfboards” and opened the first shop in Laguna Beach. Bill hand painted, hand shaped, took orders, and sold airbrushed T-shirts & hats in his tiny Laguna Beach shop. As his notoriety in the surfing world grew, he put together a surf team that at the time included names like Mike Parsons, Pat Allen, Shane & Gavin Beschen. It was in the mid 80’s when Bill came up with an idea that would be the one of the greatest achievements of his distinct surfboard designs. He was after a longboard that would go faster and turn harder than what current longboard designs were capable of. The result of that search was the beveled rail Hydro Hull that had a distinctive single to double concave bottom and a 2+1 fin setup. To this day, the Hydro hull is still a proven design standard for the modern longboard. With the success of the Hydro Hull, Stewart Surfboards grew exponentially and Bill opened a larger shop in his favorite surf town of San Clemente. The shop has been at that same location for 28 + years. It’s just a short drive up the coast from San Onofre and Trestles.

 

  • Donald Takayama
    • https://www.surfboardsbydonaldtakayama.com/
    • Donald Takayama was born in Hawaii in 1943, learning to surf at Waikiki Beach. At only 12, he was discovered by Dale Velzy at Makaha Beach. It was here Velzy offered Takayama a job if he ever got to the mainland.  Takayama bought that plane ticket to Los Angeles with all the money he had saved from his newspaper delivery route.  He began shaping and surfing for Velzy/Jacobs Surfboards, living in Dale Velzy’s Venice surf shop loft.  Velzy recalls that Donald’s only job was to shape boards and surf at 22nd St in Hermosa Beach, California.  Velzy would give him five dollars and a T shirt with the company logo on it.  When Velzy bought Jacobs out of the partnership, Takayama moved to Jacobs Surfboards.  Longboard Magazine named the 1965, Jacob’s Donald Takayama model surfboard “one of the most functional and aesthetically appealing boards ever made”.  Over his years working with Jacobs, Takayama created boards for some of the state’s hottest riders.  Takayama jumped to Bing for a short period of time, shaping the David Nuuhiwa Noserider in 1966.  Then he briefly moved to Weber where he and Harold Iggy created the Weber Performer.  Finally in the late 1970s, Takayama opened his own shop in Encinitas California called Hawaiian Pro Designs.  In the 1990s, when longboards made a re-emergence, Hawaiian Pro Designs produced functional and also collectible surfboards.  In 2002, Donald asked shaper Tommy Haus, laminator Wayne Hoshizaki and Tommy Haus’ partner to take over the day to day operations of the HawaiiAn Pro Designs factory in Oceanside. For the next ten years, Haus worked with Donald to help hone his craft to mirror the perfectionism of Donald.  In the wake of Takayama’s passing, Haus has taken over Hawaiian Pro Designs, continuing to produce high quality boards based on Donald’s designs.

 

  • SurfRide
    • https://www.surfride.com/
    • Surf Ride was founded in 1974 by twin brothers Bill and Richard Bernard. They started the business on Hill Street in Oceanside, originally a Hobie Cat Dealership that focused on all ocean sports.  As the original building started to deteriorate, the brothers decided to construct a new shop that would focus solely on surf.  In 1984 construction began on what is now Surf Ride.  As the business’ success grew, the brothers decided to open a second location in 1997 at Solan Beach.  Finally in 2005, Bill and Richard were ready to retire, leaving the business to the next generation of Bernard brothers, Dustin and Josh.  Dustin is the head shaper, while Josh is the active CEO of the company.  Surf ride hosts one of the largest new and used surfboard collections on the planet, supplying the people of San Diego with any board they could need or want.

 

  • Bahne Surfboards
    • Bill Bahne started shaping surfboards in the ‘50s, before foam and fiberglass entered the business. By the early 1960s, Bahne had a thriving surfboard business on his hands. It was at this time that Bahne expanded his business, starting Fins Unlimited, building quality surfboard fins for the past five decades.  Bahne was heavily involved with most action sports developing an early model of the snowboard in the 1970s and starting his own skateboard brand soon after.  His influence extends far beyond surfing, even being inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.  Today, many boards are outfitted with fins from Bahne’s own Fins Unlimited.

 

  • Encinitas Surfboards
    • https://encinitassurfboards.com
    • Opened in 1975 by Marc Adam and John Kies, Encinitas Surfboards is a mainstay in the North County surfing community and is known as one of the last “core” shops.

 

  • Sunset Surfboards
    • Sunset Surf Shop was located at the south end of Encinitas on Pacific Coast Highway, across the street from the old lumberyard and walking distance of Swami’s Realization Center and cliff line parking lot. A long standing and significant shop in the early years of surf retail in San Diego, it was one of the very first to carry Quicksilver board shorts.  Owned by Ed Wright, Sunset was the hub of a rapidly changing surf culture with multiple offshoots both in product and customer groups.  As the 60s became the 70s a spiritual hunger swept the generation of free and easy riders, North County San Diego was the epicenter of this back to land, getting in touch with nature and becoming more in tune with the nature movement.  Ed was a steady hand with a spiritual side as well as a deft hand with a planner.  The clothing business began to infiltrate the previously purely hard goods surf establishments, Ed fitted new product lines seamlessly with his eclectic customer base.  Most indispensable though, was his shaping bay– a place where surfer could come to collaborate on custom-designed surfboards, shaped by the owner himself.  Ed’s protege, Brian Fredrickson went on to become the owner of Sunset Surfboards.  Later, as clothing began to dominate the shop business, a crew of Sunset employees led by Peter St. Pierre would go on to spawn Moonlight Glassing.  In the glory days when Temples of Stoke were revered and semi-sacred entities, Sunset Surfboards was a shining sanctuary for the surfing culture’s faithful.

 

  • Hansen’s
    • https://www.hansensurf.com/
    • Originally from South Dakota, Hansen first discovered surfing in 1954 thanks to a Bud Browne surf film. The following year he decided to visit his friend in Coronado, originally planning to visit him for only a few months in the summer.  After that summer, he decided to stay in Southern California, eventually moving to Del Mar.  In 1959 he was drafted to the Army, stationed at Fort Ord in Northern California.  Almost every weekend he drove to Santa Cruz to surf.  It was here he met surf shop owner Jack O’Neill.  Hansen offered to shape for O’Neill so he could focus on his development of his wetsuits.  O’Neill gave him a stack of blanks and told him to get started.  Once he got out of the Army, Hansen decided to fulfill one of his life long dreams and go to the North Shore to pursue big wave surfing.  He brought a couple of his first boards with him to sell in order to sustain himself.  It was shortly after this in 1961 when Don Hansen started his small-time shaping operation in Kawela Bay on Oahu.  Returning to the mainland, he worked briefly for both Jacobs and Hobie.  In 1962, Don opened the doors to his shop on Coast Highway.  During the early years of Hansen’s, the main focus was board building.  In its heyday, the Hansen Surfboards label churned out 6,000 boards a year.  However, in the ‘70s they shifted their focus to retail in order to compensate for the shortboard revolution.  This was when Ocean Pacific was born in partnership with Bob Driver, Jenks, and Chuck Butner.  OP has since become one of the most successful clothing operations in the world.  Since then, Hansen’s has continued to expand its interests providing its customer with more than just surfboards.  Now, Don Hansen’s children are running the business with boards shaped by Craig Hollingsworth.

 

  • Mitch’s
    • https://www.mitchssurfshop.com
    • Mitch began his business how most did, in high school in an old house in La Jolla in 1967. At the beginning he would sell the board building materials and core essentials to the surfers of the Windansea and La Jolla area.  In the 80’s Mitch also worked as a wholesaler for foam blanks, stocking blanks, resin, and cloth near Solana Beach; this would become Mitch’s North.  His shop has fostered a wide range of personalities, acting as the original cultural hub for surfers in San Diego. Mitch’s works to create the best handcrafted surfboards for any surfer, striving to make surfboards accessible to anyone who shows an interest in surfing.   Mitch believes that surfing is “supposed to be a fun, carefree industry, not a stressful one”.

 

  • Rusty Del Mar and Rusty BoardHouse
    • https://www.rustydelmar.com/
    • http://www.rustyboardhouse.com/
    • Rusty Preisendorfer began his fascination with surfing in the 8th grade when he bought a $10 board at a garage sale in order to practice fixing dings. He loved building things, encouraging him to buy that first board. Starting shaping during the tumultuous shortboard revolution, created different influencers than many of the other surf shop owners.  His main influences were Mike Hynson and Skip Fyre.  He garnered his first serious exposure when in 1974 in Australia Rabbit Bartholomew purchased one of his boards.  In the ‘70s Rusty primarily shaped at Canyon Surfboards, gaining him a solid reputation in the community.  In 1985 he officially launched Rusty Surfboards.  His boards were ridden by more than half the world’s top 16 surfers, making him one of the most in-demand shapers.  By 1987 he had also launched a full line of clothing.  In 1992 Rusty BoardHouse in La Jolla was opened with Angie Preisendorfer, a marketing and retail guru, as Rusty sought to create a local presence in the town he grew up in.  They have been continuously serving the people of Del Mar and La Jolla ever since.

 

  • Gordon & Smith
    • https://gordonandsmith.com/
    • In the summer of 1959, Larry Gordon and his friend Floyd Smith built a mold, bought the necessary chemicals (from Gordon Plastics, his dad’s family business) and started blowing foam blanks in Smith’s garage–and Gordon & Smith was born. Gordon was a chemistry student at San Diego State College at the time, providing him with the necessary background to work on such a project.  By 1961, Gordon & Smith had become the most popular surfboard brand in the San Diego area.  The name became widespread in the ‘60s and ‘70s as some of the world’s best surfers became G&S team riders, designers or shapers.  Mike Hynson’s Red Fin, the Skip Frye model and the QuarterSpeed were three popular models that come to mind from the ‘60s.  Greats like Hynson, Fyre, Dale Dobson, Billy Hamilton, Butch Van Artsdalen and Barry Kaniaupuni rode at one time or another for the G&S team.  Gordon & Smith are known as the inventor of the surfer t-shirt, when in 1961 Floyd invited local surfers to bring in their t-shirts, on which the G&S logo was screened–for free.  Floyd Smith moved to Australia in 1965 to start G&S Australia, while Larry stayed in San Diego to manage the store there, which was producing close to 4,000 boards a year.  In 1971, Smith decided to sell his interest in the business, while Gordon stayed on.  The business is currently operated by the second generation brother and sister team: Eric and Debbie Gordon.  Following her dad’s passing, Debbie Gordon said “The reason we keep making (boards) is for the love of surfing and the stoke it brings in giving people the best ride of their life.”

 

  • Birds Surf Shed
    • https://birdssurfshed.com/
    • Opened in 2011, Bird’s Surf Shed is owned and curated by lifelong surfer and San Diego local, Bird Huffman. More than just a surf shop, Bird’s Surf Shed is a San Diego destination. The Quonset hut’s 4,000 square feet is packed with gear, stoke-inspired swag and surf-history gold. Boasting a museum-worthy collection of new and eclectic boards, as well as everything imaginable for your paddle out, the Shed is the place for some of San Diego’s most epic events-film premiers, fundraisers, and community gatherings – superstar shapers hold hands-on clinics and board riders of all ages just come to hang. Often times Bird will let you pull a board right off of the wall or from his private stash above the shaping room to borrow and ride. Bird has been a part of the local surf scene for decades, and the Shed is his way of helping to keep San Diego surf culture alive and vibrant. You might want to swing by The SHED OB which opened two years ago and is located at 1963 Abbott street literally across the street from the ocean in South Ocean Beach. A condensed version of The Big SHED offering rentals and more typical at the beach items.

 

  • Surf Diva
    • surfdiva.com
    • Founder of Surf Diva, Isabelle “Izzy” Tihanyi, started surfing when she was only 8 years old.  She is a competitive surfer and began teaching surfing while in college. Her partner and twin sister, Caroline “Coco” also loves the ocean and shares her sisters passion to bring all women of all ages to the sport.  Started in La Jolla in 1996, Surf Diva offers competitive coaching to lessons for beginners. Surf Diva is considered to be the first women’s surf school. They were called “The Starbucks of surf schools” by Newsweek Magazine, acting as a pillar of women’s surfing in the action sports industry.  They offer year round lessons for women and men, girls and boys in La Jolla and Costa Rica. Surf Diva is involved with multiple charities from The Surfrider Foundation, Coastkeeper, Life Rolls on Foundation, Freedom is Not Free, Liquid Nation, and many more. The Surf Diva Boutique has also received multiple awards for the beachwear.  The school teaches thousands of women each year with one mission in mind: to lure as many females of all ages and sizes onto a board.

 

  • South Coast Surf Shop
    • https://www.southcoast.com/
    • At only 21 years old, Rob Ard hoped to expand a local surf shop known as Ocean Beach Surf Shop. In 1974, Rob took the name South Coast Surf Shop and opened his first location in Ocean Beach.  After about a decade of business, Ard began to expand to new locations in new markets, specifically targeting inland communities.  Later, in 1993, Ard partnered with Eric “Bird” Huffman to create South Coast WindanSea, a bigger location from the original South Coast and 1⁄2 block from the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach.  Erich “ET” Tramonti joined the partnership at this time.  With stores like, South Coast Longboards which honored surfing history and catered to longboard enthusiast and his other illustrious shops, many would think Ard would be finished.  However, he realized there was an untapped market in his stores, women.  In 1999, South Coast Wahines opened, stocked with women’s clothing and footwear.  Today South Coast Surfboards has five locations, the main OB location, South Coast Windansea, South Coast Longboards, South Coast Wahines, and an outlet shop.  With over 40 years in Southern California South Coast Surf Shops is one of the best places to get boards from shapers with years of experience, maybe even picking up your own custom board, their specialty.