As one of the world’s major surfing centers, California is home to countless cool surf shops up and down the coast—stretching from San Diego County up to Orange County, L.A. County, Santa Cruz, and all the way to San Francisco. Iconic surf brands were started here, from Mr. Zog's Sex Wax in Carpinteria to Victoria Skim Boards in Laguna Beach and O'Neill in Santa Cruz.
Walk into a classic surf shop and you should smell surf wax and catch a whiff of neoprene from the wetsuit room. Your steps might crunch with sand underfoot that’s been tracked in from a beach so close that you can almost hear the ocean. And of course, there should be plenty of local surfers checking out boards and talking waves.
Even if you’re unlikely to take on Mavericks, many great surf shops have a little something for fans of surfing culture—be it swim-friendly board shorts, T-shirts, or a pair of classic Vans.
Read on to explore some of California’s classic surf shops, listed south to north.