On my trek back from San Diego to Los Angeles I decided that I would make a day out of checking out the surf shops from Torrey Pines to Oceanside, ending at California Surf Museum. Unsure how many stops I would have to make and how much time it would take I started my journey.
Now Torrey Pines actually doesn’t have any surf shops. My quick drive through was only to put me on the correct road, S21 also known as HWY 101. I continued through Del Mar which is also surf shop free and into Solana Beach where my first stop was a chain store, Surf Ride. They had this book, Everything I Know About Dating I Learned Through Surfing, which I thought was super cute, funny and just made me smile. I left after purchasing some Zinc for my trip in a couple weeks and continued on my way.
My next stop was Mitch’s Surf Shop, which has been around since 1967. This is the kind of shop I was interested in seeing. Something local. The inside was pretty packed and they had strung Christmas lights around which I thought was pretty unique. I found a surf movie that I had been searching for for a while, Dear & Yonder. I thought about purchasing it, but decided against it. I was on a journey to explore the surf shops, not purchase something from each shop.
The following stop was Hansen Surfboards which was a huge chain store that had almost everything you could think of. It had two stores, one for just surf stuff and another for clothing, skate and ski and snowboarding stuff. In the back of their parking lot they also had an outdoor ski and snowboard area where you could take lessons.
I continued into Encinitas and immediately ran into Encinitas Surfboards. This place was super small and so packed I could barely move. The employees were actually the nicest out of any store that I came across that day. He asked me if he could help and when I told him I was just looking he gave me space and told me to find him if I needed anything. I felt very respected.
Then there was Bing Surfboards, which didn’t have much inside. I think they actually make custom boards. The employee and another customer were talking about the way one of their signature boards feels in the water. I eavesdropped for a bit and then headed on my way.
Surfy Surfy Surf Shop was next. The employees in this shop were also very nice. They had really cool surfboard art work, lots of open space, and I think they even might do repairs as I saw one of the guys outside in the back working on a board as I walked around the building and into the store.
I missed Progression Surf so I back tracked to check it out. It looked just like every other surf shop by that point and I was in much need of a break as checking out the different shops was becoming less and less appealing as the day progressed. Interesting pun there!
I stopped at San Elijo State Beach. There were some wooden stairs to climb down to the beach, people along the shore, and surfers out in the water. I decided to stay up top for a bit and then continued down the road to another spot. At that spot I sat down and listened to some music. I watched the birds cruise along the coastal bluffs and watched a lady feed the squirrels that lived there some food. They were so cute, so gentle, and some were more cautious than others. It brought back memories which made me smile a bit and then a little sad. I sat there a bit longer and then decided to head on my way.
My little break rejuvenated my spirit and I headed to Carlsbad to see the last few surf shops along my route. First up was Carlsbad Pipelines Surf Shop. There wasn’t much to see here. Reminded me of a beach shop with some added surf shop. However, the employees were friendly and nice.
I continued my journey to Raw Skin Surf Shack, which had surf and bike rentals. They also had these super cute rock art cards which I couldn’t help but wonder who made them and where I could get some other than there. They used rocks in the sand to make paw prints and also had rocks balanced on other rocks spelling out words such as love with the ocean crashing behind it. They were very inspiring.
I moved along to my final surf shop stop, Real Surf Shop. This shop was quite interesting. They were the only shop that I found that actually allowed you to take out the boards for sale and try them before deciding to buy them. I thought that was just a great idea! I think almost every surfer loves to try out a new board before they decide to buy it. See how it works, feels, moves in the water.
I got back in my car and made my way to my final destination, California Surf Museum. Turns out it closes at 4pm and I just missed the cut off, arriving a little after 4. Instead I headed to the pier. I watched some more surfers, saw a huge pelican, and walked to the end of the pier where I waited to see if any of the fishers could catch anything. They got nothing, so I headed back to the car. It was a nice day of exploration, next time maybe I’ll check the museum’s hours before I head that way so I don’t miss them again.