Surfshop saleman wisdom

I was looking at boards in a surfshop yesterday and one of the salesmen started talking to me. He gave me some pearls of wisdom - i thought i might share a few… “Suncure is only good for ding repair, not for glassing boards” “Styrene is what makes the resin strong” “Polyester resin is not plastic, epoxy is plastic” “Epoxy does not bond well to foam” Quite an intriguing conversion…

Ahhhh, yet more reasons why I ride my own boards!

Being from the New England the first thing I did was to check where you’re from. Hopefully California/Aus./Hawai’i/Florida has more knowledgable shop employees. But lets remember: they’re just shop employees probably more interested in bro deals for themselves and picking-up clueless chicks than knowing their product; AND almost any conversation about surfboards with non-Swayaholics will be just as amusing. So, what was your response to all this nonsense? Rob Olliges

Having run a surf shop for some thirty-odd, well, very odd years. The average surf shop ( and, come to think of it, surf camp ) employee is a halfwit who addresses everyone as ‘duuude’, uses terms like ‘gnarly’ and ‘air’ at every opportunity and has enough motor skills to surf adequately - and that’s about it. You’re more likely to find intelligent, informed discourse from a budgerigar. doc…

Use the opportunity to help educate the young lads and lassies. Good employers have good employeeees

So me and the wife are cruising mainstreet HB shop hopping checking out the shapes, mind you Ive worked in surfboards over 10 years and been with her for 8, she knows more about foil rocker profiles glassing etc than 90% of shop employees. So we cruise into sakal she pulls out a board eyes it like a pro nose on the floor feeling the concave absorbing the lines looking for flatspots on the deck, So Mr. Joe salesman is tring to pitch her on the board, explains what they are about etc. She mentions shes really liking the merricks, He proceeds to tell her that 90% of all Merricks are glassed in Mexico, I almost lost my ****, I fired right into this kid, “Thats a flat out lie” he looked stunned, I explained to him about 5 glasshops that do roughly 100 a week of merricks and proceeded to explain that merrick produces about 600 a week, so if those 5 american glassops are doing 100 a week, where is the 90%. I took it to heart that this kid was delibrately trying to slam another company to sell his own product plus underminding the 100 or so people who work in those glasshops such as moonlight, haakonsen,surfboard factory,mystery,morning glass, etc who do all that work, He proceeded to tell me that his Manager told him to tell people that. What A ****ed up crew.

From Moondoggies, SLO salesman (who wasn’t even born when I started surfing) to my question regarding a proportionately larger custom version of a board on the racks, “No way dude… you go longer, you’ve got to go narrower.”

In visiting the local shops I like to question the salepeople and owners to see how much BS they will pull. One of great comments I got was, if it was not built on the coast it could not be good. Knowing who is building what and where (Oregon). I explained that majority of the local boards they were carrying were build a 50-100 miles for the coast. The build on on the coast myth dies. I live 60 miles from the coast. Anthony

well this shop employee has actually probably been surfing since before i was born - I am 22 and he is probably mid-30’so its a bit different than you might think. i was not asking him about stuff; he just started educating me because he knew so much about board construction and how the boards they carried (lost, DHD, Merrick, Harbour, etc) were superiorly made. At first, i gave a few “well actually…” but then he would just start talking down (and wrong) about something else, so i just smiled and nodded until he was finished and i left. He did know a bit about the new DHP resin which was refreshing; he must have gotten a memo about it from harbour… just a funny shop story

From Rip Curl shop in San Clemente some years ago: I camped out at the Bluffs the night before in the back of my old but stylish 1985 Chrysler Le Baron Town and Country station wagon. Park in front, in eyesight of the entrance and hangers on. Camping gear is visible, as is my nifty 7’10" Morning Star hybrid thruster. I’m there to get a new wetsuit, cash in pocket, but I look like I’d been camping in Baja for a month. The two surfie shop guys look at each other and smile and one says “Ka-Ching” - pretty much to my face. He wanted to show me the “latest longboards”. When told I was there to buy a wetsuit, he lost interest. As in walked away. Perhaps the commission was higher for board sales. Perhaps I hadn’t seen his photo in the shorty mags. I walked away too. Best board comment: Around Y2K, from the owner of a good small shop, when I told him that my longboard was 8’7" : “That’s a girls board”. The guy is a good guy; I don’t know why he said that. Whatever. He has plenty of boards in that range on the racks now.

Howzit Doc, On one of my trips to Cal. I was doing a repair for a friend in Seal Beach and needed some S.A… Went to a long standing shop in H.B. where I had bought materials in the past. I was listening to the saleman run his sales rap to a mom and her son who were looking to buy a board. You would have thought this guy invented surfing from the way he talked. When he was done(no board was bought) with these folks I told him I neede some surfacing agent, He had no idea what I was talking about even though they had an on site factory. At least he had enough brain matter to go into the back and ask their glasser what it was and the glasser came out with some for me to use.Now when I visit a shop and am approched by a salesperson I tell them I’m a board maker checking the quality of their boards for an independent survey co… Most just walk away, but the few that stay and talk are usually fairly knowledgable.Aloha, Kokua

Yep the 12 years that l shaped for Pipedream, the sales crew at the shops where hopeless at taking custom orders, a couple of them could surf but new nothing about boards, they would write down these stupid measurements that they told the buyer is right for them, some of the ones that the girls wrote down where classic, l wish that l had of kept them to show you. Ahh bring back the good old days when you actually got to talk to the shaper and he actually shaped it and if you had the time you could watch him do it. Shit we even used to get more money for custom orders back then because of the personal attention given to detail. KR

Exactly! You get some joker who may have started surfing last Tuesday in the late afternoon, but he talks like he knows Everything! Me, I have an odd approach. I figure the more the customer knows and the more the customer has learned, the better. Example: Customer- “I wanna buy a board so I can learn how to surf” Old Bald Fat Man - “No you don’t.” C- “Huh?” OBFM- "Look, rent this one for a coupla days, then progress to something like this when ya can stand and turn and go down the wave on the first board. Try a lot of different boards and then come in and tell me what kind of board you want and why, okay? Then, you’ll be ready to buy a board. Otherwise, you’re stuck with that beginner’s board and ya don’t progress and I don’t wanna do that to ya. " I mean, I could be selling a whole lot of soft tops or molded things of one sort or another ( and believe me, I’d like to have the money my competition is making on these latter day popouts) , but I figure that if somebody is treated right from the beginning, they stay with it and I have a customer for as long as I want to stay in the biz. doc…

i got a young kid who was just starting out i had been lending boards to him for a while and he was thinking of getting a board off me! didnt dee him for a few weeks then he turned up at the beach with a 5’9" fish from a local shop sold to him by the best longboarder in ireland and this guy knows boards just wanted the fast money.

Richard, Was it last week that I made a statement about Show Room Monkeys?

A lot off shops are the same in that the people who work there know bugger all about boards, however it is not the employee’s fault more the employer as he should educate his employee’s on the product they are trying to flog. If they don’t then serves themselves right if they go broke.

Back in the early 70s Harold Iggy had a shop, a converted mom and pop store, just down the highway from where I lived. You’d go down there and he’d be the only one there. He was the salesman, shaper, janitor all rolled up in one. The room out back was the where he shaped and if you walked in the shop and no one was there, you knew where he was, mowing out foam. I watched him shape a board one day, but got a bit bored, as I wasnt into shaping then. Looking back I wish I had paid more attention as opportunities like that don’t come along every day. They don’t make surf shops like they used to.

The Beach House in Santa Barbara is the exclusive dealer for Yater, and carries boards by Steve Brom , Copper ,Duncan , W. Rich, and Andrini(sp). One of the employee/manager drowns is good friends with a board builder from the valley, in L.A., so consequently Fineline Surfboards are pushed hard because friends are friends and Finelines are CHEAP. Now all the shop rats are on Finelines, Yater’s and the rest are being undercut . The new Fineline display has grown, pushing Santa Barbara’s own back behind the fucking surftech McTavish pops.

I know it’s not just that i’m 48 yrs old !!This 18 -30 yr old surf crowd is just such sheep!!Sorry, it just makes me nuts!!!

I was visiting an old acquaintance on Oahu. He’s not much of a surfer, but I am, so after he got off work we went to the Downing shop to look at boards. They were close to closing time. No interest in buying anything other than a tshirt maybe. While looking around, George Downing came over to ask if we were interested in anything. I was momentarily starstruck, but easy conversation soon followed. As the shop was closing he said “c’mon, I’ll show you some stuff” so he took my friend and I in back to show us boards, photos from when he picked oranges in California in the 30’s, awards, momentos… He spent an hour with us. Pretty amazing.