Houses of the Holy

The surf shop was a clubhouse and salon as well as a factory-retail outlet. A hot local surfer or two could usually be found on premises, either making boards or working the counter; gremmies dutifully shuffled in after school or on weekends as much to be in the presence of greatness as to check out the new merchandise.

The late-'50s surf shop was an exercise in minimalism: a wood countertop and a few boards in a bare-walled “showroom” attached to a fumy garage-sized workspace stocked with a drum of resin, a roll of fiberglass, some cardboard mixing buckets, and two or three sets of boardmaking racks. This was all reconfigured during the boom. By the mid-'60s, surf shops were mostly clean (if never fully sanitize...

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