Designer wetsuits, package-free accessories, rows of monochromatic surfboards…
The surfboard shaper Hayden Cox and his new wife Danielle are a comely couple. Hayden is model handsome with a boyish face and when he smiles revealed are rows of gigantic snowy perfect teeth.
Danielle’s rock-star blonde hair is piled into an exquisite nest (I make a note in my pad that says “celestial radiance of her profile”) and in her Balmain leather boots she hits a little over six feet.
The pair, she, a marketing whiz, he, the designer of the most successful surfboard model of all time, the Hyptpo Krypto, enter the luxury surf shop and HaydenShapes HQ they just bankrolled.
“Well…what do you think?” Danielle asks.
Oh, reader, if I had the writerly muscle to do the joint justice. I’ll attempt a sketch.
You are in an industrial area on Sydney’s northern beaches, near the Australian outlet for Channel Islands, among boat and furniture factories, fast-food takeaways and a shopping centre that presents as a giant brown-brick cube. This isn’t Saturdays in SoHo or General Admission in Venice or Korea’s Surf Code. Where it is ain’t glamorous. But let’s walk through the door.
The ravages of hipster cliché are a mile away here. There’s no wood. There’s no pendant lighting. Nothing vintage. No motorcycles or coffee machines. Nothing that screams the buzzword “authentic!”
Instead, it’s wall-to-wall polished concrete with an asymmetrical counter of fabricated concrete shadowed by a large screen built into the wall showing black-and-white surf films of empty waves and occasionally Craig Anderson. Surfboards of matte and polished black, and white, hang from bespoke clothing racks.
There is a row of Saturdays Surf clothing and accessories, some Bassike and fins and wetsuit cleaner and so forth by HaydenShapes.
What steals my eye, apart from a semi-secret surfboard model that is the logical progression of the Hypto Krypto, is a small rack with wetsuits designed by Danielle. All made from three mm-thick Japanese Yamamoto rubber, with a fine internal lining.
You want to order a board?
Swing on over to the bespoke wood and leather couches and grab a Galaxy tablet. Hayden has developed a beautiful piece of design software called HSSTUDiO.
In real time, you can design your board, complete with 3-D movable pictures. Every time you tweak a dimension, your volume changes. Add a spray and it appears. Pinch and pull the surfboard image to investigate its curves from whatever angle.
When y’done, press buy and it goes straight to the counter.
If you’re tyre-kicking, strap on the VR goggles and take a tour of HS’ factory. See a board shaped. See a board glassed.
“You are in my design space with me among the dust, resin and tools,” says Hayden.
It’s a wild enough experience, a reminder, that for all the slickness and curvaceousness that surrounds, this is a surfboard shop.
About the store Hayden says: “I love the idea of being progressive and pushing the industry to evolve,” he says. “We wanted to do this differently to what people have seen before.”