coffee convo Hwilsin writing


Growing up in a prominent surf town, I’ve always had the privilege of being surrounded by some great surf shops. Most of the shops that are still around are so because they do well; they are busy. And if you ever have the chance to visit one of these distinguished stores, you might notice how large their boardroom is. They carry a lot of surfboards.

What happens to the boards that don’t sell? Surely among the hundreds that are in stock, there must be a few rejects. A couple of ugly, too heavy, unwanted boards that didn’t fit under the arm just right – where do they go? Do surf schools get them at a cheap discount for the learners? Do they get ordered online, overseas? Is there some secret massive warehouse full to the brim with brand new, unused, old model surfboards? Are they all sold on the black market? Do the shop owners and employees keep them for themselves? Are they gifted to friends and family? Are they ridden as demo boards? Does the shop team get to test them out before they get sold as used? Where do these boards go?

Of course this is all speculation. Maybe they do turn over every single board that comes into circulation. At least at one point or another. That green fellow that’s only been surfing “for a couple years” and is just now deciding to get his first new board, he won’t realize the Dumpster Diver he’s picking up was made in 2010. These people are getting paid to sell surfboards right? I recently read a story about Chuck Dent, who was supposedly one of the best surfboard salesmen in Huntington Beach. Recalling from the top of my head, someone’s father took them to buy their first brand new board. After visiting multiple shops on Main Street, the father never settled on a deal, after all he was a businessman. One way or another, the father and son made their way into the Chuck Dent shop, where they were greeted by the young shop worker who was not Chuck Dent. The end of the story was that Chuck and the father haggled back and forth with each other for about an hour before they shook hands and mutually agreed on a favorable deal for both sides. The grom left with his first official brand new surfboard, and a lifetime story to boot.

We still have a few signature characters lingering in and around our local shops. To name a few, Mark Reeder and the folks at HSS are always cool. Bud Llamas and the 17th Street Boardshop is about as core as it can get. Everyone at Katin is really friendly, plus you can find just about anything you need there. And if you want some laughs and a good time, you have to stop by FrogHouse. 

A great follow on Instagram is @ retro_surf_series. On this page you can always enjoy some amazing old time photos, stories, and history of local surf lore. It’s pretty rad. Another page worth following is @ building_the_revolution. These pages support the small, local businesses that the surf industry was created from, and the scene that we are so desperately needing today. The surf shop can not go by the wayside and fall victim to the online store selling cheap, mass produced surf products. This will be the end of the “surf industry” as we know it. At least the core side of the industry. Get out there and support local businesses. Give your shop a visit, even if it’s just to say whatsup and hangout for a bit. We love to hear surf stories. Feel free to share any of them here. And if you know what happens to all the surfboards, please drop a line.



Drew Stanfield

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