August 15, 2013

Warm Waters Surf Shop

Named after a local Carlsbad, CA surf spot, Warm Waters Surf Shop is located on Carlsbad Village Drive between Carlsbad State Beach and Interstate 5 on the east end of the main shopping district. It's a little more polished and upscale than your average surf shop.  About 800 square feet big with high ceilings and cool A/C, it has hardwood floors, wood rafters, wood top display tables, and wood display cases on the walls. All the merchandise is neatly arranged and creatively displayed.  Whether you're looking for surfwear, surfwear accessories, surfboards, or surfboard accessories, you know when you walk into Warm Waters Surf Shop you are going to find some high-quality merchandise.  But it's also reasonably priced.

If you visit, more than likely you'll meet the owner, Chris Tardiff.  He was there when I walked in, and he was extremely nice and courteous.  We spent a good half hour talking about his shop, and he was more than happy to answer my questions about his surf shop t-shirts.

Owner Chris Tardiff
Chris has worked in the surf industry for over 20 years.  He has worked for a surfboard retailer, a surfboard manufacturer, and a surf apparel company.  He always dreamed of opening his own surf shop.  In fact, for Chris, Warm Waters Surf Shop is "a 20-year dream realized," having opened it on May 1, 2013.

If you're in the market for a new surfboard, Warm Waters mainly carries Roberts, Bing, Kunny, and Third World Exotic surfboards.  If you find one you generally like but it's just not exactly right, the shop can also fill custom orders.  If you need a wetsuit to go with your new surfboard, the shop mainly stocks Hurley and Nine Plus wetsuits.  It only sells this surfing equipment, it doesn't rent any of it, except it does have a supply of soft surfboards for rent.

A look inside Warm Waters Surf Shop
If you're looking to spruce up your surfwear wardrobe, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, and hats,  the major brands it sells are Hurley, Reef, Captain Fin, and Vans.  It also sells Vans shoes.

One unique service Warm Waters offers is a monthly photo shoot.  Announcing the day and time on his website at, Chris himself usually heads down to a local surf spot and takes photos of surfers, which he then posts on his website for free downloads

Of course, my main interest in visiting Warm Waters Surf Shop was to check out the shop's own line of t-shirts. Though future designs are on the way as the shop grows, for now its line consists exclusively of variations of its shop logo, three of which are displayed to the right.  The first logo variation, two stacked Ws with wave flourishes, is only used on the shop sign and cannot be found on any t-shirt.  The second, two side-by-side block Ws on a shield background, can be purchased on a t-shirt.

The third is actually the official logo, and it is also available on t-shirts.  I'm sure there's a technical term for the design (it could be considered an ambigram--readable both ways), but whatever it's called it's pretty cool.  At first glance, it appears to be two overlapping Ws.  Stare long and hard enough at it and you either begin to see one big W or no Ws at all.  It's one of those optical illusory images that plays with your mind.

The t-shirt I purchased had the official logo printed on the front chest.  It was screen printed using plastisol ink.  Because the logo is bright green in color and on a dark t-shirt, it required a white base.  However, there isn't much of a heavy hand to the logo because the background is transparent and the elements are either thin or small.  You can still feel the logo, but it doesn't wear heavy at all.

The t-shirt I purchased was printed on an Independent Trading Company blank t-shirt.  It was one of those soft, lightweight, fancy styles, made of a 3.2 oz/square yard, 65% polyester, 35% cotton fabric blend.  However, this blank t-shirt is being phased out by Warm Waters, and by the time you buy it, it probably will be replaced by a similarly stylish 4.3 oz, 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend blank t-shirt made by Next Level.  Furthermore, some Warm Waters shop logo t-shirts are available in a 6.1 oz 100% preshrunk cotton Port & Co. blank t-shirt, for those people who prefer a heavier and more durable 100% cotton t-shirt.

After a proper washing (turning the t-shirt inside out), the t-shirt I purchased maintained its color vibrancy and showed no discernible shrinkage.

If you want to pick up this Warm Waters shop logo t-shirt, one in a different color, or something else entirely in person, you can visit Warm Waters Surf Shop at 550 Carlsbad Village Drive.  It is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.  If you're nowhere near Carlsbad, CA and you want to get a Warm Waters shop logo t-shirt or other merchandise, you can call the shop (there is no shopping cart at its website) at 760-729-1153.

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

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