Central California And North Report

Dan Swain, manager of Central Coast Surf Boards in San Luis Obispo, California notes skaters are buying into the surf image, not the other way around.

“Lately it seems like skateboarders have become more interested in the surf look,” says Swain. “For instance, Billabong baggy cargo pants seem to be popular with surfers and skaters alike.”

The younger generation has become increasingly attracted to the skate image, but Swain adds, “They’re not the ones with the money.”

On the west side of Santa Cruz, California, Arrow Surf Shop Manager Jake Finley says surf apparel is still going strong with surfers in the area. The surf vid No Destination is the shop’s most-popular¿unrivaled by any skate video.

“Crossover companies such as Counter Culture and Volcom have gained the most popularity in recent years¿especially with the younger generations¿but we still sell far more clothing and hardgoods from surf brands than skate brands,” he says.

Greg Slaven, manager of Nor Cal Surf Shop, located just outside of San Francisco in Pacifica, California, says it’s the surfer apparel and products that are gaining popularity in the region. Surf lines far outsell skate lines.

Slaven says the shop’s best-selling video remains The Mavericks Documentary. This big-wave vid of the nearby Half Moon Bay hell spot has been tops at Nor Cal since it debuted last year.

Says Slaven, “Most surfers in Pacifica still remain true to the surfer image and seem to be most loyal to the local surf companies and shop labels.”

At Sessions Surf Shop in Brookings, Oregon (located eight miles north of the Oregon/California boarder), Owner Russ Johnson says many local surfers cross over from sport to sport, but for the most part remain surfers.

Johnson says his best-selling clothing line has been Roxy, with the number-one video being Searching For Tom Curren. Johnson concludes that the biggest influence on surf retailers in Oregon isn’t skateboarding, but rather sports like wakeboarding and snowboarding.

“In Oregon, most reps and industry people are primarily concerned with the alternative inland sports and less with surf product,” he says. “There are only a few shops on the entire Oregon coast, so there isn’t a ton of demand.”

At The Board Room in Vancouver, British Columbia, Assistant Manager and Shop Buyer Geoff Andruik says the best-selling videos and clothing lines are produced by skateboarding and snowboarding companies¿although the number of surfers and demand for surf products has been steadily rising each year.

Andruik says in Canada the line between surfers and skaters is somewhat blurred, and adds that most people who surf often skate and snowboard as well.

“Since surfing is such a burly act up here, most surfers are crossing over from other sports, and their choice in gear and equipment usually reflects this,” says Andruik. “The real hardcore surfers are a bunch of hippies who live right on the coast and sport mostly hemp wear.”

¿Casey Macker