Photo Credits: Ryan Longnecker
Huntington Beach’s surf shops, dating back to the 1950s, now offer hundreds of boards in all shapes and sizes in their current inventories, as well as unlimited custom options made by local pros. Each downtown shop is owned and staffed by expert or professional surfers. While serving as mentors to Huntington Beach’s junior surf teams, these awesome board shops promise VIP service whether you’re a rank beginner renting a softboard to splash in the waves, or a visiting pro from Australia demo-ing a high-performance short board.
After assessing your preferences, each store’s surfing staff will help you select the right board for you. in many cases, customers can rent a surf board as a demo before they buy; or, test out the waters with a good choice of used boards, at less than the half-price of new. There are multiple criteria that will affect your selection, starting with your past experience, where and how you like to surf, your body size (volume), and personal preferences for length, width, thickness, rails and type of fins.
Each downtown shop carries a selection of soft, short- , mid- or long boards, and fins from two manufacturers, Futures or FCS (Fin Control System), that can be set up in single-fin up to five-fin formations.
Most of the shops mentioned here are open daily, but the smaller shop owners say with a wink, “Don’t be surprised to find an ‘out-to-lunch’ when the waves are breaking big.”
Here’s a quick tour of favorite surf shops in downtown Huntington Beach where you’re sure to find the right surfboard for you.
Jack's Surfboard Shop is Huntington Beach’s oldest surfboard shop, opened in 1957 just across from the Pier. Walk across its Surfing Walk of Fame to enter the store, past the long racks of wet suits and surfwear, before ascending into its second story filled with surfboards.
One of nine locations, Jack’s downtown location stocks a full variety of boards; there’s CBC and Catch Surf soft surfboards for beginners, starting at $160, and short-, mid- and longboards ranging from $350 to $1100. Brands carried include from Dustin Strong, a wide selection of Channel Islands’ various board styles, and Pizzel boards from Hawaii, which earned “2017 Board of the Year.” The shop also carries Stewart and NSP long boards, and handles custom orders for Dewey Weber boards.
Jack’s surfing staff are very helpful about helping you select your board. One wise tip: “Be upfront about your surfing experience. You don’t want to over-estimate your ability, or you’ll find yourself with a board that makes it too hard for you to catch a wave.”
Huntington Surf and Sport is a family-owned surf shop now marking 30 years in business. Go ahead, take a selfie with the statue of surfing forefather Duke Kahanamoku out front, and put your feet in the prints of Kelly Slater, Brett Simpson and Margo Oberg in the shop’s Surfing Hall of Fame before heading into the rows of boards.
HSS carries hundreds of soft-, short- and longboards in stock (including its second shop at Bella Terra). Check online for its current inventory which features some 20 brands including Fire Wire, Channel Islands Surfboards by Al Merrick, Go Fish, JS Industries, Air 17 by Julian Wilson, Spartan and Jacobs, in a full range of lengths and thicknesses.
Store manager Kelci Shokoufi says customers love the local family vibe at the store. She points out the photos of its sponsored surf team and pro customers above its candy-colored display of Futures and FCS fins. “We are all about customer service and giving the VIP treatment.”
There’s hot coffee brewing and fresh bagels ready for sale when the store opens at 6 a.m. “because that’s when the surfers are heading out.”
Billing itself as “one of the last hardcore surf shops in California,” Rockin Fig Surf Headquarters has been selling custom surfboards in downtown Huntington for 26 years. Although his shop stocks a variety of t-shirts, shorts and sunglasses, owner/surfing pro/local celebrity Rick Fignetti says, “We’re the surf shop that wants to sell surfboards – not clothing.”
“Rockin Fig” is well known in national surfing circles, having won West Coast Division surfing championships 19 times and three national championships. Locals quickly recognize his iconic voice as the past announcer for Los Angeles radio station KROQ, and for his 20 years announcing the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach. The champion surfer is featured on both Huntington Beach’s Surfer Hall of Fame and Walk of Fame in front of HSS and Jack’s Surfshops.
Fignetti says he works with five different shapers to build custom boards for all different kinds of riders and styles. “We have board shapes ranging from short-board high performance to classic long-boards, extra-long and super stable for those who like to do fancy foot work. Each board is hand-shaped, airbrushed, and glassed to perfection. Our patented designs will give you the performance you need to get a step above the competition.”
Each board is fully customized, including full-color artistic graphics created by local artists. Fignetti says his Rockin Fig boards can be ready in as little as three weeks; prices range from $400 to $700.
Another multi-generational family business, Sakal Surfboards has been around since 1984, selling boards designed and hand-shaped in the store's own factory.
Patriarch Ed Sakal began surfing as a young teen in the ‘60s, competing in Western Surfing Association (WSA) contests, riding for the Greg Noll surf team. He soon learned to build and shape surfboards, working with Greg Noll, Mystic Surfboards and Lightning Bolt in Hawaii, and later returning to California to work for ET Surfboards in Hermosa Beach. After marrying and starting a family, he launched his own glassing/shaping factory, and later his surf shop in Huntington Beach.
Like father, like sons and daughter. Sakal taught his children how to surf and shape boards. His sons Tristan and Ryan surfed competitively, and Ryan started his own brand, Ryan Sakal Surfboards. Daughter Shawna now manages Sakal Surfboards shop.
The Sakals say they strive to provide customers with surfboards “built 100% based around you, for the waves that you surf.” They back up their promise by offering a two-week guarantee on all stock boards and most custom surfboards. “Every surfboard is built in house, using the highest quality materials. We believe that getting the right board for you is ideal for having the most fun.”
Another fine place to buy a surfboard – with an ocean view – is Rip Curl's Surf Center located on 5th & PCH. Look past its branded clothing to find an inventory of one hundred plus boards – soft-, short, mid- and long. Top brands featured include Al Merrick, Campbell Brothers, Lost-Mahem, Channel Islands and JS. As you browse, take a gander at the prized surf memorabilia overhead – like the signed surfboards of champion Kelly Slater, Tom Curren and Micky Munoz.
Quivers, which also sells new and used boards, offers a unique concept – a membership program that allow surfers to try out as many boards as they want. Owners Roland Verdugo and Steve Connolly sum it up: “Let our quiver be your quiver!”
Quivers opened in 2014, targeting visiting surfers who don’t want the hassle and expense of transporting their boards, only to find they have the wrong board for the conditions. Their solution? Offer visiting (and local) surfers a membership plan that allows unlimited demo-ing of “a quiver of boards.”
“Every wave is unique and finding the right board for that wave is a feeling only a surfer can understand. We have a large selection of shapes and sizes from top brands in our showroom, all available to ride without purchasing,” Verdugo says. Surfers can swap boards out as often as they like to find exactly the board that’s right for them.
Short- and long boards featured in Quivers’ membership program include Fire Wire, Spectrum, Voodoo Child, Lost and Hayden Shapes. While they have some loaners, customers are advised to bring their own fins.
Membership are $39 for the day and $99 monthly. The shop features only short boards for sale, ranging from $250 to $650, as well as some used boards