San Diego Retail Tour: Surf Ride

Surf Ride
Oceanside, California

As one of the biggest shops in San Diego, Surf Ride in Oceanside has the advantage of carrying just about everything under the sun. From hundreds of surfboards on display and an entire wall of shoes to a dedicated rack for nearly every apparel brand carried, Surf Ride is truly a fishbowl for what’s out there in the industry.

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The bottom floor of the two-story shop is where most of the biz goes down. Lining the front windows are hundreds of surfboards from the major labels: Channel Islands, Rusty, HIC, Byrne, Local Motion, et cetera. On the left side of the shop stands a healthy juniors’ department. Dozens of skate shoes line the back wall.

But the bulk of the business happens in the shop’s massive men’s apparel section, which dominates the north half of the lower floor. Planet Earth, Billabong, Volcom, Alphanumeric, Rusty, Counter Culture, Hurley, Tavarua, HIC, and Quiksilver all have their own displays. Surf Ride’s private-label collection also has its own section.

Manager Sean Mattison, who also oversees Surf Ride’s Solana Beach location, says Volcom is the store’s hottest brand. “Some kids go right to the Volcom display and don’t even check out other brands,” he says. In addition, Mattison reports that Planet Earth and Tavarua are gaining momentum.

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Overall, however, Billabong, Quiksilver, and Rusty are the shop’s best-selling brands. Mattison says it’s because these brands have broad appeal.

On the juniors’ side, Roxy is number one. “They cover the entire category,” says Buyer Nadine Eisenkerch. “Their stuff isn’t so girlie anymore.”

Even though juniors’ sales are down compared to last year, the section is still strong. In addition to Roxy, other brands like Volcom, Billabong, Rusty, Hurley, and O’Neill are strong. “We have 100-percent sell-through on Volcom,” adds Eisenkerch.

Upstairs, the skate section is squeezed into a large wetsuit selection. But that will all change this fall when Surf Ride opens up a dedicated skate shop in a vacant space adjacent to the store. It will give needed breathing room to the jam-packed wetsuit racks that are practically busting at the seams.

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Mattison was hesitant to point out any reps, but he did offer some advice: “The best reps are the ones who don’t take any of the employee’s time — the ones who aren’t the main attraction when they come to the store.”

Window Brands: O’Neill, TSA
Major Display Brands: Planet Earth, Billabong, Volcom, Alphanumeric, Rusty, Counter Culture, Hurley, Tavarua, HIC, Quiksilver
Strongest Category: Sandals
Weakest Category: n/a
Strongest Brands: Volcom, Quiksilver, Rusty, Billabong
Best Reps: Jeff “J.D.” Devore (Electric)

Shop Location