If location is everything, then Huntington Surf and Sport has it all. Its pier-side shop is on the corner of Surf City, U.S.A’s busiest intersection: Main Street and PCH.
The store is an attraction in itself. Each department is broken up into separate rooms. Rubber is in the wetsuit cave; rip sticks are in the surfboard safari room. There’s a cafe attached to the longboard shop, another area dedicated to juniors’, and an integrated Quiksilver Boardriders Club. You could literally spend hours weaving in and out of the rooms, checking out the thousands of pieces of merchandise.
Fortunately, most people don’t visit HSS just for the photo op — they’re there to buy. According to HSS’ Lyndon Cabellon, business is similar to last summer (which means it’s good). “The first three months of the year were really bad because of the weather,” he says, “but since then everything’s been good.”
HSS carries all the major surf brands. There are large displays from Quiksilver, Billabong, Hurley, Volcom, Rusty, Stüssy, and O’Neill. Its private-label collection of HSS softgoods has the best location, however. It’s the first thing customers bump into as they enter the shop.
[IMAGE 2]While softgoods account for the bulk of the business, HSS also does well in hardgoods and accessories. The safari room is stocked to the ceiling with shortboards from at least eight manufacturers, with Channel Islands, Rusty, and Xanadu having the biggest presence. Longboards are in a separate location (interestingly located about as far as possible from the shortboards).
Its sunglasses case is also impressive. Rather than using manufacturer-supplied fixtures, HSS has a wood and glass custom-built display that features all the brands. Each company is distinguished by a small logo on top of each column. (Oakley is planning to place its corporate industrial-looking touch on its section of the case, however.)
With skate flourishing, HSS has put a lot of effort into its separate skate shop, which is located a few doors down Main Street. Only a couple of the brands inside like Stüssy, Volcom, and Hurley have roots in surf. The rest are hardcore skate. “Every brand wants to be in the skate shop,” says Cabellon, “but only a handful are able to crossover.”
The look inside the skate shop is noticeably different from HSS surf. It feels more open (higher ceilings), less congested, and the displays are tight, clutter-free, and nearly void of P.O.P. Everything seems determined, precise, and there for a reason.
Along with its skate shop, HSS has another shop in Huntington Beach, plus one more across the Pacific in Osaka, Japan. HSS has one of the most recognizable surf-shop teams around. The list includes Jay Larson, Danny Nichols, Micah Byrne, Wyatt Simmons, and Brandon Tipton.
Window Brands: Billabong, Hurley, Rusty, Stüssy, HSS, Volcom, O’Neill, QuiksilverMajor Display Brands: Quiksilver, Billabong, Hurley, Volcom, Rusty, Stüssy, O’NeillStrongest Category: T-shirts, sandalsWeakest Category: n/aStrongest Brands: “We do the most volume with the established brands.”Best Reps: Greg “G.T.” Tomlinson (Von Zipper), Bobby Lochart (Billabong)