I like shops that are more like core shops. Boards, fins, accessories, wetsuits, trunks, and cool people who really know what they are talking about. I don't want tshirts, flip flops, skateboards and **** like that.
If you are serious about exploring a "local surf shop" business model I would suggest taking a trip down to the Space Coast where within a 20 mile stretch you can explore about 10 different shops that express just about the entire range of shop types. On one end you have the WalMart of surf shops, Ron Jon's (not one of my favorite shops but some of the hired hands are informed and can point you in the right direction). Down the road in south Cocoa Beach is the Neilson Surf Shop, a throwback to the days that a surf shop was really a board shop that carried their home brand, in this case, Neilson Surfboards. The workers are well informed, service is great and you have access to an excellent board builder, Tom Neilson. However, you won't find everything you might want in this small shop.
Nearby is another good local shop, Ocean Sports World, owned by Roy and Pam Scafidi. Two accomplished shapers work in the shaper's bay, one in the morning, other in the afternoon, and I believe one works with poly and the other EPS. Great people, a wide selection of stuff, and they can help you get what you need.
Down the road about 10 miles in Indiatlantic is a cluster of three shops: Longboard House, Skim City and the Kite and Bodyboarding HQ. The Longboard House is a must visit location, has a wide and deep inventory, and a range of imported and domestic boards. Books, clothes, fins, board bags.... wide and deep. And expensive. Up the street is Skim City, an excellent skimboarding supply house that does a combination of on-line and walk-up sales. Great guys in the shop--no bikini bimbos. Up and across the street is about the only place to find bodyboarding/prone rider's equipment such as bodyboards, swim fins, etc. Iconic shop that makes most of their income off of kite sales. The owner is a former bodyboarding tour rider, really excited about the sport, full of enthusiasm. Her boyfriend is a Borinquen so I usually stop by when in the area to shoot the sh*t and talk Boricua.
In between Ron Jon's on the north end of Cocoa Beach and the shops in Indiatlantic are a number of in-betweener shops. Some I have done business with in the past and others never depending upon my needs at the moment or what they might have in inventory.
Whoops, almost forgot Balsa Bill's (south end of Satellite Beach), probably the closest thing to an aloha surf shop. The last I heard he was still shaping some balsa surfboards out back (oceanside is outback).
Another throw back to yesteryears is the Austin Surf Shop/Board House in Virginia Beach, stocked with Austin's own boards, his own t-shirts/hats, resin jewelery, board bags, wax, fins.
Pretty much what some of you have already been saying, carry the local shapers' stock boards. I would pay the extra $ to support the local guys, but I've had better luck with boards that are not custom.
All the custom made by Local shapers I've ever owned were way less than brand name boards.......Is Ben Aipa makin your boards or what??? Even local shapes sold by shops are less than CI, Firewire etc....
I can never keep a handle on CB's rotating roster of various shops. It's not like the old days with The Cove--RIP.
Dude, I miss The Cove. Hell man, I miss seeing Jimmy. The Cove defined the role of what a local shop should be.
I was unaware that CB had a rotating roster of shops, other than X-Treme Surf Shop x-tremely failing and moving off the island. Have you checked out CB Surf Shop? Their board room will turn you into a school girl with their Bings, Hobies, Stewarts, Takayamas, Ricky Carrolls, Eaveys and more.
Uhm, surf shops are business's nothing more, nothing less. Don't get all caught up in the nostalgia and romanticism of it all. It is a business, man.
For the TLDR crowd, local shop gives me FCS key for free & SUPs suck (sorry)
I went into my local surf shop Saturday afternoon. I was there just to buy a bar of wax or two, I swear, but mixed in with all the shiny, brand new, plastic boxes of Futures and FCSes were these:
I could see some random dog hairs in the pouch, which originally said LokBox and had been taped over to read FCS. A piece of twine had been looped through the bag so it could be displayed on the wall. A set of clear, fiberglass quads were inside, somehow seducing me with their aura of perfection. These were the fins I'd been looking for, the board I'd been riding that morning had a five fin setup and I'd been running it as a thruster. I knew some quad fins were just what it needed to really open up.
"What are these?"
"OH Ho! Those are something special. Those are Jack Jensen's. 'The Fin Guy'."
"Oh." I didn't know who that was (I looked him up later and recognized him as some older, tall, skinny, handle-bar mustached dude I see killin it on a longboard every so often. Drives a classic, old, early 50's Chevy truck that looks perfect, all maroon and black and chrome. Small world surfin is).
G answers, "80 bucks."
"GYYYYYAAAAARRRR! 80$ bones! EeeeyyEEYAAH! Oh man, why do you do this to me man? Aaaaahhhh! I gotta have 'em man."
"AHAHAHAHAHAH" he cackles like a fisherman gaffing an 80lb yellow tail.
I didn't even try to haggle with him and they will there. He threw in two of the bars of the wax I like for free though. It's the hippy, organic crap and they all give me sh!1 for buying it and say I'm the only one who does and I still use sticky bumps as base. I think they stock it just for me.
Anyway, I go back to my old padski and finish packing the last couple of things and cleaning up. I've got FIL's truck and it's filled with bike's and BBQs, garage stuff, garbage cans and what nots, I figure there's no way in H E double hockey sticks I'm throwin a couple of boards on top. I figure I'll just come back South 2morrow, grab a board and surf here, then throw as many as I could on the Lex and come back for the rest next weekend (there's no such thing as too many boards). Fast forward to Sunday. With my life in boxes I can't find an FCS or an Allen key. No problem, there's gotta be a surf shop on the PCH open, maybe, at 9:00 Am on a Sunday. Hmmmm, yeah right. Drive all the way back to: SurfySurfy, right where I bought the quads!!! Yay! There's a giant peloton rolling down the road, so no way I can parallel park in front of the shop, so I shoot up Diana and down the alley. I end parking behind the nail salon. I run into SurfySurfy and G's there. "Hey G! Could I bum an FCS key off you, I gotta try out those Quads?"
"Yeah you do!" and he pulled the last one out of the little jar on the counter, hands it to me, no charge. Good thing, I couldn't find my wallet.
And I run out of SurfySurfy, the best surf shop in world. Back to the alley where I see some douche in a 'Burban has parked the Lex in, WTF!
"Hey man, didnjya see the sign?"
I look at the wall and see a cardboard and sharpie sign taped to it stating "Parking for Paddle Board Rentals Only!"
I laugh and say "kcuF No! I didn't see that sign. I was in SurfySurfy and this parking's always been for this whole complex."
"Well, it's not."
"Okay, whatever. You wanna let me out now?"
And he gets backs in and moves his truck. I pull out and say to him, "one more more reason stand up paddle board suck, huh buddy." dude didn't say a damn thing. Just gave me some stank eye and then looked away.
Those fins rock. Surfed mackin waves for the next 3 hours. Board Flies!!!! Just what it needed.
Not every place that sells or rents a board is just a shop. Some are Shops.
Last edited by zaGaffer; Apr 9, 2013 at 03:33 PM.