Best surf shop

Best of the Beach logoET Surf – Few material goods are more dear to beach city residents than their surfboards, skateboards and snowboards. Scratch their cars, piss in their yards, steal their bikes or cell phones and they get over it. But ding a surfboard, run over a skateboard or steal a snowboard and you will make someone very upset.

The boards are an expression of their owners. The young ripper trading in his old board for a new, smaller one and the old guy who asks for more length and thickness in his new board are revealing themselves with their purchases. Which is why the purchases are akin to a ritual and the stores that sell shrines to a lifestyle.

No one understands this better than the crew at ET Surf, where little has changed over the past four decades. Every corner is a tribute to the lifestyle. Foremost are the boards themselves, over 400 new surfboards, almost as many snowboards and even more skateboard. Al Merrick and Fireline surfboards can run up to $700. But $375 covers a custom board by ET’s Pat Ryan, one of surfing’s most respected shapers. The surf shop is one of the most popular stores here.

There are wetsuits from the eight major surf companies, including Quiksilver’s battery heated neoprene vests. Traditional camber bottom snowboards and the new banana rocker boards are available from Lip Tech, Gu and Burton. Over 20 skate deck manufacturers are represented.

The tall and skinny two-story building on Aviation is scheduled to expand next month into the adjacent, former auto repair shop. Manager Daniel Del Castillo said the new space will add a little breathing room and maybe make the moms who like things a bit more organized feel a bit more comfortable.

But Del Castillo insisted the vibe won’t change. The racks will still be made of used wood, the floors bare concrete and the walls covered with posters “brought up from the dungeon,” he said.

Overhead, floating among the rafters like the great spirits of surfing’s past will be upward of a hundred vintage surfboards collected over the decades by owner Eddie Talbot.

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