Celebrate Surf Shop Day!
Today, in Australia, tomorrow in these United States of America is the third annual Surf Shop Day. That special time of year when we, as grumpy locals, come together and celebrate the most wonderfully grouchy places of all.
Your local surf shop.
Oh the magic, the perfectly curated magic held within a local surf shop’s four walls. I waxed poetic about in the international best-seller Cocaine + Surfing. Would you like to read?
I panic and run into the nearby Laguna Surf and Sport without thinking. To a place even more pressure filled than the mean streets, or at least a place that used to be. The California surf shop was once a bastion of all things cool. The boards, the trunks, the clothes, boardbags, magazines, VHS surf videos, Lagwagon soundtrack and especially shop workers. Grown up surfed out Orange County preteens who would mock hapless customers from behind glass counters filled with surf stickers and quiet derision.
I remember stepping through the doors and into the fog of sweet surf wax as an Oregonian youth on family trips down south. I would gaze lovingly, longingly at the at the merchandise that I couldn’t afford. I would run by hand along the rails of boards I could only dream of owning. Sometimes a shop worker would ask if I needed any help in the most laconic way possible, usually while flipping through a surf magazine and never with eye contact. My heart would always seize and I would mutter something and flee, trying not to gaze at the Sex Wax in the glass counter lest anyone caught me and think I was a blushing pervert.
And the shop worker in Laguna Surf and Sport asks me if he can help me find anything. He is standard surf cool and I feel the muscle memory of a kooky youth but swallow hard and make a panic impulse buy instead of running away. A red and black Laguna Surf and Sport trucker hat. He seems appreciative and probably is. The surf shop has fallen on hard times, even harder than the rest of American retail. Online shopping, changing habits, fast fashion, etc. have all cut into already slim margins plus the surf shop is tasked with selling the apocalypse. The Volcoms, Reefs, Quiksilvers and Billabongs that nobody wants to buy anymore.
The hat definitely won’t fit my skinny head but I feel happy giving a small drop of life support to my childhood nirvana and head back out into the perfect evening, check my phone and try to find a place to kill some time where the raddest ten year olds on earth don’t lurk. A neon light across the street advertises sushi.
Yes, Laguna Surf and Sport is very fine but my favorite, now, is Real Surf Shop in Oceanside. A crusty place with hollowed out surfboards hanging on the wall once used to paddle cocaine across the border, into these United States, from Mexico.
Only a local surf shop would display such a glorious artifact.
I also love Zuhg Life in Lincoln City, Oregon. Though I have never been, they once had many boards stolen by a methamphetamine connoisseur. Very fine.
Support your favorite today, in any case. March in and buy a t-shirt, sticker, towel, trucker hat then march outside and kick a VAL or at least heavily vibe one.
Let’s keep our traditions alive.