Introduced in 2015, the SIMA Surf Shop Gold Wave Awards recognize specialty surf retail stores that have been in business for 50 or more consecutive years. Twenty of the nation’s longest-standing surf shops were honored at the SIMA Image Awards ceremony in February 2015 for their longevity, impact on surf culture and dedication to helping build surfing into the vibrant industry and community it is today.
“To honor surfing’s rich heritage in this way is exciting and important to the industry,” said Doug Palladini, SIMA President and Vans’ VP/GM North America. “These surf shops are instrumental in building the beach culture we love so much, the foundation of surf lifestyle since the 1950s and 60s. A surf shop is very influential to its local surf community – the hub of the local surf community in most cases – and these shops are legendary.”
These pioneer surf shops received a standing ovation as they took the stage to be honored at the SIMA Image Awards ceremony, with surf legend Shaun Tomson presenting their awards.
“Every single one of these shops honored tonight have changed lives,” said Tomson said from the stage. “If surfing is a religion, surf shops are the temples of stoke.”
Watch Shawn Tomson present the gold wave awards
Temples of stoke
(Shawn Tomson’s speech at the gold wave award)
50 years ago my father took me into the only surf shop in my hometown of Durban – it was called Surf Center – how about that for a name – the center of surf.
I’d been in the ocean since I could walk, and graduated from body surfing, to riding a little piece of wood called a dumper board, and then on to an inflated mat called a surf o plane. My cousin Michael, and brother Paul, would bomb down waves, and hang on for dear life – luckily the surf o planes had handles and we would shoot in, and go skidding up the sand. The ocean and beach were my life. Maybe today I’d be called a waterman but that would then put me in way too groovy a category.
Then it was time for a surfboard and Surf Center.
I walked in with my Dad, past the gleaming boards that stretched way up into the ceiling, past the photos of monstrous waves in Hawaii, past the gremmies hanging out in their Hang Ten shirts, and there against the wall was a little 4’6”, just perfect for a 9 year old boy. It was red and white, popped out of a mold, and called a Surf Rider. It was my first surfboard and my first surf shop, and I fell in love and I’m still in love.
Surf shops supply what surfers truly need – not what they want, but what they truly need – a great board, a wetsuit, some surf shorts, wax and a few accessories. Products designed around that existential experience of paddling out towards that open horizon, waiting and watching, and then swinging around, and catching that wave and getting stoked. Everything else is detail around this core. This entire industry, and every dollar every paid, is essentially to satisfy that need of being stoked.
If surfing is a religion, then surf shops are temples of stoke.
Every one of you stores that are honored tonight, represent over 50 years of stoke. Can you imagine how many young guys and girls, women and men, have gone through your doors, picked up a surfboard and had their lives transformed?
I was one of those young kids that had my life transformed by a surf shop 50 years ago, and to every surf shop out there – thanks for sharing the stoke!
With the greatest respect and thanks,
Inaugural SIMA Surf Shop Gold Wave Award Recipients
Atlantic Beach Surf Shop
Bert’s Surf Shop
Dive N’ Surf
Heritage Surf Shop
McKevlin’s Surf Shop
O’Neill Surf Shop
Surf ‘n Wear’s Beach House
Surf n Sea
West Coast Surf Shop
Atlantic Beach, N.C.
Redondo Beach, Calif.
Newport Beach, Calif.
Seal Beach, Calif.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Sea Isle City, N.J.
Dana Point, Calif.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Folly Beach, S.C.
San Francisco, Calif.
Ocean City, N.J.
North Hollywood, Calif.
Holmes Beach, Fla.
Check out some great photos of the shops original locations below