Wave Riding Vehicles has been a standout surf shop on the Outer Banks for more than twenty years. And not only is it one of the original shops in town, it’s also one of the biggest.
A good-size chunk of the 6,500-square-foot shop is dedicated to the shop’s WRV line of surfboards. Not surprisingly General Manager Mickey Bednarek says the longboard department was one of the store’s busiest areas this past summer.
Although WRV is associated with the brand’s other two shops in Honolulu and Virginia Beach, each shop is in charge of its own buying so it can tailor its offering according to its local customers.
While WRV Kitty Hawk buys its own product, Bednarek says it can’t always get what would work best on the Outer Banks. Why? The manufacturers simply don’t make it. “They’re going to howl out west, but there’s only so much of a market for 23-inch inseam trunks,” he says. “The guys who come in wanting to buy trunks are not into universally across the board 23-inch, below-the-knee trunks.
“In this area that had a lot to do with boardshorts not selling this year,” Bednarek continues. “And yet when we say anything about it you’re accused of being an old geezer! Well, guys, the long-trunks, long-walkshorts issue is a real issue.”
Besides seeing a better variety of lengths in bottoms, Bednarek also encourages the surf industry to be more creative. “The surf industry is extremely stagnant right now,” he says. “The women’s product seems to be more on it. The men’s has been S.O.S. — same ol’ stuff.”[IMAGE 3]
But the shop is far from doom-and-gloom. Sales have been strong this year with skate hardgoods and softgoods claiming an even bigger stake in the shop’s bottom line. Juniors’ apparel is holding steady, and the shop’s private label has been as solid as ever.
Window Brands: Volcom, Roxy
Major Display Brands: WRV surfboards, Rip Curl, Volcom, Hurley Girls
Strongest Category: Hats, longboards
Weakest Category: Boardshorts
Strongest Brands: Quiksilver, Roxy, Volcom, Hurley Girl, WRV
Best Reps: Brad Williams (Rip Curl), Ken Hunt (Oakley)