So-Cal Surfshop report


Ah finally a Surfing post!!, and it comes from our dear member Nick Clements (the man behind Men's file) who was hunting last weeks around L.A in search of the vintage things...

The most misunderstood thing about revival style is that it’s actually progressive and not retro. Yes, inspiration can be found from the mid-century epoch, that’s why it’s called ‘revival’, but it’s the context in which designed objects are placed that determines their relevance.
Two great examples of the interpretation and repositioning of objects that draw elegance, dynamism and style from the 1960s and 70s are the coolest of all the Southern California surf shops: Icons of Surf in San Clemente (South Orange County) and The Captain’s Helm in Oceanside (North San Diego County).

Here in Europe at least, Surf retailing has been in a deep rut for the past twenty five years as they have changed from secret grottos containing hard to find polyurethane skateboard wheels, Val Surf t-shirts and rare Birdwell beach breeches to mainstream peddlers of boredom. Supermarkets with racks of Quicksilver, Billabong, Body Glove and O’Neill that have changed little since the 1980s. This is where your uncle goes to buy his Sunday afternoon bar-B-que outfit, this is where you buy your surf ‘uniform’ just to let the whole world know you DON’T surf.

Icons of Surf, San Clemente
Icons of Surf specialises in experimental surfboards ranging from displacement hulls and longboards that look like they have simply been cut in half, to re-makes of Bing’s famous Foil that was the bridge between the long board and short board in the late 1960s. Icons has a BSA Barracuda between the surfboard racks (designed and constructed by hot rod builder Brian Bent) and an original early 1960s keel fin Gordon and Smith long board out on display like a museum of surf. There’s also a full range of wetsuits based on those seen in archive images from The Ranch, Malibu or Rincon.

The Captain’s Helm
Thirty minutes south of San Clemente on the Interstate 5 freeway is the legendary surf zone known as Oceanside. When driving down the 5, take the Cassidy turn-off until you hit the first major street with shops, turn left and the Captain’s Helm is right there on the left side of the street. This store is perhaps even more advanced than Icon’s as it carries motorcycle helmets and accessories as well as their own range of vintage style wetsuits and clothing. There are also records, art and surfboards for sale. It’s also worth noting that their interior design was done by the same hot rod builder who did the racks at the San Clemente store.

Check the last pages of the actual Surfer's journal, you will find an incredible photo shot by Nick last year and featured in this blog there