Regional Report: Central Coast and North

By Intern Carson

Will Whalen, the manager of Marin Surf and Sport in San Rafael, California says his shop’s most recent and strongest addition is Hurley. He says they’ve also added The Realm, Counter Culture, and Bombora (a San Francisco brand with a strong local appeal).

“As for orders, we’re highly dependent on reps,” says Whalen. “Seventy percent of our ordering is done through them. We need the reps in here really hyping their product. Our guys can’t buy it if they don’t know about it.” The remaining 30 percent of Marin Surf and Sport orders are written at the ASR shows.

At Cleanline Surf Shop in Seaside, Oregon, Shop Manager Lexie Hallahn is quick to point out his shop’s laundry list of new arrivals include Volcom, Redsand, Billabong girls’ line, Hurley, and DC shoes.

Most of Cleanline’s ordering is done at the two ASR shows and other regional shows. Wetsuit ordering is done almost exclusively with reps in-store.

Mark Dramis, owner of H.M.B. Boardshop in Half Moon Bay, California has made Hurley his only recent addition.

Other than Billabong, Quiksilver, and Rusty, Hurley is the only company Dramis feels will appeal to the new “entry-level surge” he’s seen at his shop lately.

“The beginners recognize the big names” he says, “and Hurley definitely falls into that group.” He also repeats the maxim that quality is what sells. “It seems it’s the bigger companies that are providing a quality product,” he says. About 80 percent of his ordering is done at the San Diego ASR trade show and at the regional Santa Cruz show. “Fashion is pretty slow up here, it’s just the bread and butter of our business,” says Kevin Butler, manager of Santa Cruz Surf Shop. Rather than make orders with a new company, Santa Cruz Surf Shop sticks with companies that have stood the test of time.

“Fresh Jive and Katin have been around for a while now and are doing really well¿that’s what we like up here,” says Butler.

“Our shop’s private label brand is making up a good chunk of our business,” he says. “With the rest of the brands, it’s 50/50. Half of the orders are written at shows, the rest are written in-store with the reps.

“All our fill-in orders are coming from the reps,” continues Butler. “The show orders are coming mostly out of the regional shows such as the NorCal Trade Show in Santa Cruz.”

Even though he brought on Shaun Tomson’s new apparel company Solitude, Kirk Johnson, owner of Humboldt Surf Co. in Arcata, California, likes to wait to see how the brands develop before he orders them. “I watch the trends for at least a year,” he says. “People here are less swayed by the Orange County hype.”

Johnson says that 75 percent of his orders come from other regional trade shows. The other 25 percent is the reps or “strays” as Johnson likes to call them because of how far removed his surf shop is. “We’re the last surf shop for hundreds of miles!” he says.