The story of Jack's Surf Shop

August 9, 2022 | Surfing
Jack's Surfboards: America's largest surf retailer has its flagship store in Huntington Beach, Surf City, USA | Photo: Jack's Surfboards

Jack's Surf Shop was founded in 1957 by Jack Hokanson at the intersection of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, California.

It all started with a simple vision.

When Jack took his kids surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier, he realized all local surf shops were selling boards but not wetsuits.

And that was precisely what he needed at the time because his children were getting out of the water blue, freezing, and shivering.

So, the young Orange County entrepreneur Jack saw a need for a full-service, one-stop-shop catering to surfers.

While Frisbees were getting hugely popular and the Soviet Union was launching the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, the soon-to-be iconic surf shop was starting to sell all kinds of wetsuits, surfboards, skateboards, and clothes.

Jack's Surf Shop also pioneered the commercial release of Tom Morey's groundbreaking wave-riding: the Morey Boogie board.

The surfer business presented itself to the public via ads as "the first complete inland custom surfboard shop."

The Huntington Beach store quickly became an enormous success, and soon, Jack's Surf Shop opened its doors in Anaheim, the founder's hometown.

Jack's eventually entered the bodyboard and skateboard manufacturing industry before selling the business in 1974 to his friends for $180,000.

Jack's Surf Shop, 1973: founder Jack Hokanson supervises the sales | Photo: Jack's Surfboards

The Abdelmuti Era

The new owner, Mike Abdelmuti, alongside his nephew Ron Abdel, took Jack's Surf Shop to new heights.

The businessman helped establish the Surfing Walk of Fame (SWoF) with a handful of surfing enthusiasts in 1994.

The Surfing Walk of Fame is an initiative dedicated to the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku.

It features six induction categories: Surf Pioneer, Surf Champion, Woman of the Year, Local Hero, Surf Culture, and Honor Roll.

Mike Abdelmuti passed away on July 23, 2002, at 62, after a battle against liver and lung cancer.

The founding patron and benefactor of the Surfing Walk of Fame was still able to witness the inauguration of an old dream - the Gemzo Executive Suites building, a tribute to his Palestinian roots.

Over the years, Mike Abdelmuti donated over $500,000 to Surf City USA's historic landmark and its granite tiles, which pay tribute to surf royalty.

He was a philanthropist and a generous and dedicated citizen.

One day, Abdelmuti gave $10,000 to the Huntington Beach Police Department, stating that he wanted to thank officers for their hard work.

He would also be seen in front of his surf shop and his neighboring businesses cleaning the sidewalk with a steam-cleaning machine.

Mike Abdelmuti was buried in his beloved native Palestine.

Lutfi "Ron" Abdelfattah, the co-founder of Jack's and Abdelmuti's nephew, continued Mike's work and was also inducted into the SWoF in 2021.

Original founder Jack Hokanson was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in 1995.

Jack's Surfboards, late 1980s: the old brick shop on Main Street, Huntington Beach, during the OP Pro | Photo: Jack's Surfboards

Jack's Surfboards Pro

Surf City, USA, is one of the most important locations in surfing history.

The HB Pier and Jack's Surf Shop corner witnessed the inception of the United States Surfing Championships, the shortboard revolution, and the rise of champions like Kelly Slater and Tom Curren.

In 2017, the legendary surf shop sponsored the inaugural Jack's Surfboard Pro to celebrate the company's 60th anniversary.

"Our business would not be where it is today without the strong relationships we have built over many years and the support from the community," said Jamal Abdelmuti, son of Mike Abdelmuti.

For over 40 years, the co-owner of Jack's Surfboards has found himself part of the legacy that's been a cornerstone in Huntington Beach since 1957.

Jack's Surfboards' involvement with pro surfing reached the grassroots level by stepping in at the 2015 RVCA Pro Junior as a presenting sponsor but now come into the main sponsor role.

Abdelfattah and Abdelmuti family members continue to run the landmark surf shop, now renamed Jack's Surfboards.

The 16,000-square-foot flagship store in Huntington Beach is still the most famous Jack's surf shop, with hundreds of customer visits daily.

The "Times Square of Surfing" features over 500 surfboards and is probably America's largest surf retailer.

Jack's Surfboards have stores open in Surf City, USA, Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Dana Point, Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, and San Clemente.

The surf shop chain sells boards, wetsuits, sunglasses, leashes, traction pads, skateboards, and surf apparel.

The company has an estimated annual revenue of $64 million.