Surf shop: still the best place to find surfing equipment and accessories | Photo: Shutterstock

Festively celebrated each year since 2019, Surf Shop Day serves as a tribute to independent retailers who are the backbone of the surf industry.

Their impactful contributions, both past and present, have fostered and continue to sustain this thrilling sport and lifestyle.

According to surf historian Matt Warshaw, "California surfboard shaper Dale Velzy is sometimes credited as the inventor of the surf shop, opening his first Velzy Surfboards outlet in 1950 in Manhattan Beach, California, not long after the city closed the board making operation he ran from beneath the municipal pier."

"Jack O'Neill, who would later make his name as a wetsuit magnate, opened what he called the 'Surf Shop' in San Francisco in 1952."

"Because O'Neill sold wetsuits as well as surfboards, it's been argued that this was the first true surf shop."

Celebrating Brick-and-Mortar Stoke

Since then, surfer-driven retail stores have grown and gotten bigger.

For most surf enthusiasts, they have often served as the threshold to their first surfing experience, the enthralling scent of surf wax, neoprene wetsuits, and resin from newly cured surfboards evoking that first thrill of surf excitement.

Surf Shop Day is not merely a celebration but an acknowledgment of the relentless spirit, dedication, and zeal that fuel the business.

The initiative kicked off as Board Shop Day in 2019 and was followed by the creation of Skate Shop Day in 2020 by longtime friends and skate industry entrepreneurs Scotty Coats and Chris Nieratko.

From the diligent shop owners and enthusiastic sales teams to the tireless sales representatives, every cog in this vibrant industry contributes to keeping the wave of surf stoke alive for customers.

The goal of Surf Shop Day extends beyond celebrations to fostering recognition and respect for surf shops within every community.

It's a day to honor those pioneering shops that set the industry's foundations and a platform to spotlight budding shops that bring fresh perspectives and zest to the traditional brick-and-mortar experience.

Stoked: Yes, We're Open | Photo: SIMA

A Global Initiative

Retailers and brands alike are encouraged to commemorate Surf Shop Day in their unique ways, each contributing to the broader mission of highlighting the rich culture, competitive sport, and burgeoning industry of surfing.

To invigorate this day of celebration, SIMA presents a series of exciting recommendations for shops, brands, representatives, and industry insiders to commemorate the very essence of the surf industry.

The celebration takes place on the third Saturday of May and extends to all independent surf shops and surf brands, not just within the United States but around the globe.

This unified campaign offers a unique opportunity to drive customer awareness, shine a spotlight on unique products, and fuel sales just ahead of the bustling summer season.

As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all surfboards.

Surf shops: the backbone of the surf industry | Photo: SurferToday

Tips for Retailers, Brands, and Reps

SIMA, the organizer of Surf Shop Day, proposes a range of ideas for different stakeholders to actively partake in this event.

For retailers, these include strategies like emphasizing their shop's branded products, launching a new seasonal t-shirt, arranging live music performances, and hosting professional surfer appearances.

Interactive activities like surfing contests at the local beach, social media promotions, and offering exclusive discounts to customers who visit the store on Surf Shop Day are also suggested.

Brands, on the other hand, can consider exclusive product releases in surf shops, arrange co-branded products, and encourage representatives to lend a hand in-store or conduct workshops with the staff.

Social media giveaways, professional exhibition sessions, and leveraging the presence of local pros for in-store appearances or morning surfs with shop staff and customers can further amplify the day's excitement.

The invaluable sales representatives can contribute to Surf Shop Day by offering in-store assistance, hosting product knowledge clinics, and conducting sales contests.

The power of social media can be harnessed by posting images of stores, showcasing newly arrived products, and thus extending the celebrations to a virtual audience.

Surf Shop Day embodies the enduring spirit and passion that defines the surf industry, offering an annual occasion to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate this vibrant community.

As we ride the waves of this celebration, let us remember that each surf shop, brand, rep, pro surfer, and customer plays a pivotal role in keeping the spirit of surfing alive.

Happy Surf Shop Day.

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