October 10, 2013

Main Street Surf Shop

You can find Main Street Surf Shop deep in the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, CA.  Located near the intersection of Main Street and Balboa Boulevard not far from the Balboa Fun Zone and the Balboa Pavilion, Main Street Surf Shop is a niche surf shop.  Although it carries a wide selection of brand name surfwear and surfwear  accessories, it has a rare retail angle involving a unique slice of surf culture, the sport of skimboarding.

Main Street Surf Shop underwent a peculiar development as a surf shop.  Originally, it opened in 1979 as a horticultural store called The Green Spot.  In 1980, it transformed into a beach tourist retail shop, and around the same time it changed its name to Main Street Emporium.  When the surfwear trend really started to take off in the early 80s, the shop joined the trend around 1983-84 and began carrying some of the major surfwear brands.  By 1986, it had morphed into a surf shop.

The shop's current owner, Brian Boyle, started working in the shop in 1981, and he was around for its early history.  In the same year Main Street Emporium officially became a surf shop, in 1986, he became the owner.  In 1992, he changed the name to Main Street Surf Shop.

Besides the name, Brian put his own personal spin on the retail and community aspect of the shop.  A skimboarder since the late 1970s, when low-tech wooden planks were still being used during the early commercial development of skimboards, Brian committed himself to making his shop a resource for the skimboarding community, which it is today.  It also didn't hurt to have strong shorebreaks perfect for skimboarding nearby on Newport Beach and Balboa Beach on both sides of the Balboa Pier.

Naturally, Main Street Surf Shop carries an excellent selection of skimboards, including the Exile, Victoria, Grape, and Slotstik brands.  It also co-sponsors, with Exile Skimboards, Oktoberfest, a major event of the United Skim Tour (the UST is both a year-long multi-event competition and a professional skimboarding association.)  Oktoberfest takes place every year in early October right next to the Balboa Pier.  The shop even sponsors its own professional skimboarding team.

If skimboarding is not for you, the shop still has a lot of high-quality surfwear and surfwear accessories that might interest you.  It stocks surfwear from Quiksilver O'Neill, Hurley, Billabong, Volcom, and RVCA.  It has flip-flops from Rainbow, Reef, Sanuk, Quiksilver, O'Neill, Cobian, and Volcom.  It sells sunglasses by Sabre, Hoven, Spy, Electric, and VonZipper.

In my case, I was most interested in the shop's own line of t-shirts when I visited.  Main Street Surf Shop does have its own line of shop t-shirts, which is basically made up of the three variations of the shop logo.  The original shop logo, i.e., from when it first changed its name to Main Street Surf Shop, is largely a text logo with a blue curling wave wrapping around the text on the right side.  A second logo, which is for the most part the official logo since it's used on the store sign and other promotional signs, is a totally text logo, or basically the original logo without the wrapping wave.  The third logo incorporates an image of a surfer who appears to be catching some air after making a sharp cutback with the shop name.

I chose to buy the surfer logo t-shirt in navy blue.  The shop's logo t-shirts are definitely screen printed, and my best guess is that they are screen printed with plastisol ink.  The surfer logo t-shirt itself is printed entirely with white ink, which for obvious reasons doesn't require a white base, and therefore has a soft hand.  For a soft hand, it is a little on the heavy side, which I think is due to a low mesh count, allowing a little more ink into the print than may be necessary.  Still, it is a very good print, and it held up well under washing.

If you want to get your hands on this particular Main Street Surf Shop logo t-shirt, you can actually order it, a different logo t-shirt, or brand name surfwear and surfwear accessories from the shop's website at http://www.mainstreetsurfshop.com, which does have a secure shopping cart.  You can also visit the shop at 105 Main Street.  Its hours are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. in the summer and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. in the winter.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment