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INSIGHTS is an online industry round table. We send questions to board shops around the globe and post their answers. Hopefully the Surf/Skate/Snow industry will benefit and grow from these insights.

Any closing comments that may help other board shops? Any closing comments for the industry in general?

Heritage Surf Shop (NJ) – Surf shops have to take on the responsibility of being a community center for their respective towns. Gone are the days that you open your doors and expect everyone that walks through them to open their wallet. The industry at large needs to be grassroots focused collaborating with shops in apparel, social media, and events. Unfortunately single door mom and pops are getting forgotten due to multi door stores that have buying power and usually better payables. The industry somehow needs to elevate those that have built this industry and make sure they are supported. I suggest we do a building the revolution workshop at Surf Expo with a combo of all the players and open an honest forum to make meaningful change.

Pit Surf Shop (FL) – I think that board shop owners are starting to jump on trends and try to capitalize on them, where as they should focus on growing their shop and shop brands rather than chasing what every big box store is chasing. Board shops should focus on their specific customer base and not try to make every penny they can.

Exchange Collective (CA) – All boats rise with the tide. Brands and retailers need to partner not just with each other, but with retailers with retailers and brands with brands. This means everyone getting behind the same cause, technology…etc. that will help the entire industry, not just one player.

Sunrise Surf Shop (FL) – I personally don’t love where this industry in general is headed to be honest. These companies that I grew up supporting are now bought and owned corporate entities and I don’t think that is something that will benefit surfing. We are also literally competing against the vendors who sell us their products so how can that be sustainable? I think that is directly driving our private label business up because these companies have saturated the market with their products. If you can get a Quik shirt through 15 different channels it loses its appeal i think. If you can only get Sunrise gear through Sunrise then well, thats a no brainer for us. Who knows, time will tell but we will continue to focus on what makes us strong and continue to adapt with the times and offer something that you can’t get on that soulless hell hole called Amazon. Cheers to all the board shops out there still going strong and doing their thing!

Surf Connection (CA) – If we all work together much can be accomplished but I also recognize that what may healthy/necessary for another store or a brand may not align with what my businesses needs are. That doesn’t mean one is right and the other wrong, the needs are just different. Respecting that as we work together is important as well.

Sweetwater (NC) – Keep surfing interesting and unique with core presence at surf shops still.

Fluid Surf Shop (FL) – Partner with a few great vendors and work out a plan that benefits both of you.

Victor Tilley (Former Owner of Red Herring Surf. Tasmania, AU) – Take the time to have a good hard look at your store, and not just once a year. The retail environment is changing rapidly and every six months you should be sitting down (outside of the store, with an external mentor/ friend/ or your accountant) and talking about your business. It doesn’t have to be a full figures look through, that comes every financial year, just ask your self where you are at, what is going on now, what you are going to do for the next six months and make sure you are comfortable with it all. Either commit or get out. As there are less bricks and mortar stores about it leaves those left with a better chance of surviving. Just aim to be the best you can every day from the moment you open the doors to the moment you shut them. The industry in general is always evolving, the recent sale of Rip Curl and possibly to a lesser extent Hurley gives smaller niche brands more power, and they will look to brick and mortar stores to build their brands ( until they get big and sell out, but then there will be another brand coming through).

Nova Fun Surf Shop (France) – Brands & companies shouldn’t have any shareholders and trust fund that make losing surf ethic.

Drift House Surf Shop (FL) – A word for the brands reading these articles – if you really want to help the brick and mortar segment, offer more aggressive shipping discounts and incentives for free shipping. With the INSANE amount of overhead we eat as a brick and mortar retailer, one of the ways brands could help us out big time is via better shipping incentives. Huge percentages of profits are eaten up just by shipping cost associated with receiving a brands merchandise to our store. We appreciate pre-book discounts to help offset shipping costs, but often times these are not nearly aggressive enough to solve problems associated with overhead. Providing ‘bakers dozen’ deals also helps, adding a few free items to a delivery that would sell at the value of the shipping cost is a great and cheap way for brands to assist in this arena. For other shops reading this, we send you nothing but love. We are proud to be owners and operators, members of the community, and living within the best lifestyle out there. Hats off to every shop out there pushing every day to keep this lifestyle thriving, and to the hustlers putting in the massive amounts of time and energy into their shops. A lot of people don’t understand the amount of work that goes into successful boardshops, we salute all of you for staying true and creating the culture!


Surf Ride (CA) – Just support your local surf shop.. If we go out of business you will be buying boards from Play it again sports and wetsuits from the Goodwill! Other shops should take a close look at their online sales and make sure that it is actually a profitable part of their business. We closed our online shop a few years ago and it has saved us! Also remember when you are advertising online, you are competing against all your brands your trying to sell…. Doesn’t seem right does it??

Gordon’s Surf Shop (NJ) – The “stock and they’ll buy it” retail mentality is over. Customers do not have to give you their money if they don’t like you or what you stand for. As an industry we must offer our customers what the instant gratification internet cannot offer.

Landmark Surf CO (CA) – We are at a high point for surf participation. We are at a high point in surfboard/craft innovation, the surfing being done in contests at wave pools (in contests at wave pools) is out of this world. The WSL is trying. Yet we are at a low point in surf as a trend. No one cares about surf brands and surf brands aren’t doing anything about it. No risk. No investment in the sport. No investment in the sports participants. No product innovation. No trend leadership. We may just be in a dark period and maybe the Olympics will pull us out.

Ohana Surf Shop – (FL) Good luck

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