Eye On Orange County – San Clemente Surf Co.

San Clemente Surf Company

San Clemente

If you’re going to work at Lost’s San Clemente Surf Company you’d better have a sense of humor. Actually, if you’re even going to go into the place you’d better be quick on your feet.

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In the shop’s 22-year existence, San Clemente Surf Co. President Jim Nudo has molded it into a locals-only four-wall joint filled with smartasses. “Yeah, we get all the parolees, jailbirds, and M.I.L.F.s in here,” he jokes. “There’s nobody in town who competes with our customers, and vice versa.”

San Clemente Surf Co. is happy getting all the town derelicts because they still spend money (and have fun doing it). Overall business is “good and hard,” according to Nudo, but off compared to last year. Hardgoods account for about 60 percent of the pie.

The shop’s strongest category is surfboards, and that section is all about Lost. But that shouldn’t surprise anybody, because Lost manufacturers about 85 percent of its boards in an attached factory to the shop where boards are shaped, airbrushed, glassed, and sanded.

On the softgoods side, San Clemente Surf Co. sells Lost, Local Motion, and a bit of Amerikan. But Nudo doesn’t like to focus much on apparel because he says it takes away from what a real surf shop is all about. Apparel, however, does make up a good chunk of the business.

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If there’s something the surf industry could work on, Nudo says its finding ways to enlighten the kids. “Kids come in here and they don’t know what they want,” he says. “They don’t know anything about surfboards.” He blames part of the problem on the surf media, which he says, has become less informative and more like People magazine. “They’re all about who’s who, not what’s what,” he says.

Window Brands: Lost
Major Display Brands: Lost, Local Motion
Strongest Category: “Lost, Lost, Lost, and more Lost.”
Weakest Category: “Randall’s dental work and hygiene.”
Strongest Brands: Lost
Best Reps: Rick Hazard (Lost surfboards), Aaron Griffith (Lost clothing), Herbie Fletcher (Astrodeck)

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