August 29, 2013

Offshore Surf Shop

Offshore Surf Shop is a small but busy convenience surf shop in Carlsbad, CA.  Located a few steps from the entrance to Frazee Beach on Carlsbad Boulevard, it is only around 400 square feet big, but it feels a lot bigger because of its high ceiling, its displaying of merchandise on its tall walls, and its spacious patio area. Founded all the way back in 1970 by Barbie Baron, a young female professional surfer before the coming-of-age of women's professional surfing (or for that matter the advent of international professional surfing), Offshore Surf Shop is a very tourist-friendly and surfer-convenient surf shop.

Because of its close proximity to the beach, Offshore Surf Shop gets a lot of beach tourists for customers who need to pick up beach accessories.  When I was in there looking around and asking questions of Scot Tammen, a later co-owner, one customer came in to buy a pair of sunglasses and another to buy a pair of flip-flops.  When I called to ask some follow-up questions, Josh, a shop employee, politely answered my questions while at the same time pausing to deal with four different customers.

So if beach tourists need to grab something at the last minute, they can stop by the shop and pick up sunscreen, hats, sunglasses (Kreed and Crush brands), flip-flops (Vans, Reef, and Cobian brands), beach umbrellas, beach chairs, or boogie-boards.

Beach tourists looking for a surfing experience can also find what they need at the shop.  It rents soft surfboards, wetsuits, and boogie-boards by the hour or day.  Surfing lessons can also be booked there through their partnership with Surf Camps USA.

But Offshore Surf Shop is not just a run-of-the-mill tourist shop.  Surfers can conveniently pick up a lot of the surfing and surfboard accessories they need there.  It sells wax, fins, leashes, traction pads, racks, rashguards, and O'Neill wetsuits.  If they're looking to score a new surfboard, the shop carries Byrne surfboards, usually having about a dozen or so in stock.  If they want a Byrne but some customization is required, they probably can't go wrong there given that Barbie Baron's brother is a shaper at the Byrne company.

Both beach tourists and surfers alike can also find a nice selection of surfwear.  The shop sells apparel from Quiksilver, Billabong, O'Neill, and Vans.  It also has a wide selection of Offshore Surf Shop t-shirts.

Now it must be noted that the t-shirts sold by Offshore Surf Shop are template t-shirts designed and printed by Coastal Classics with Offshore Surf Shop's name inserted in various places.  I'm not the biggest fan of these kinds of surf shop t-shirts.  I like original and unique t-shirts, the kind that distinguish a particular surf shop and can't be found anywhere else.  However, I have to admit that Coastal Classic t-shirts tend to have really cool designs, the prints are usually fantastic, and the blank t-shirt themselves are high-quality.  So if you don't really care about running into someone with the same t-shirt that bears the name of a different surf shop (the odds of that happening are low anyways), these t-shirts are worth a buy.

The t-shirt I bought features a calm-inducing surf scene: a shore-breaking wave on a pleasant day with a lone surfboard on an empty beach in the foreground.  Along the oval border are some palm tree branches on the sides, "Offshore Surf Shop" at the top, and "Carlsbad California" at the bottom.  The print has a white base, which all dark t-shirts require to avoid the dulling of bright colors, and I'm guessing that the ink is water-based.   There is a slightly heavy hand to the print, which is customary to screen printed dark t-shirts, but it doesn't wear too heavy.  I'm also guessing that the t-shirt is a 6.1 oz 100% preshrunk cotton blank t-shirt.  After washing, the print showed no signs of cracking.

This design was just one of many available at Offshore Surf Shop.  The photo to the right shows just a few other designs you can purchase.  Offshore Surf Shop does have a website, which you can find at, but it doesn't have ecommerce capacity (it does have, by the way, a really cool beach cam if you want to check out beach and surf conditions before you head down to the beach.) If you want to pick up one of these t-shirts in person, you can visit Offshore Surf Shop at 3179 Carlsbad Boulevard.  Its summer hours are 9 a.m.-8 p.m., 7 days a week, and its winter hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m., also 7 days a week.  You can also order t-shirts, or almost any other merchandise, by phone by calling (760)-729-4934.

Written by Anthony Fuentez.  You can follow Anthony on Google+.

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