Celebrating 39 Years of South Coast

by Mandie on March 14, 2013

South Coast Surf Shops History

A Little History Lesson of South Coast Surf Shop

If you stopped into any of our stores lately, you’ve probably seen some changes! Our new girls shop in OB is looking great and our men’s store 4 doors up has undergone a facelift with a new wetsuit and surfboard section, as well as new vendor and footwear sections. In light of all these great changes, we wanted to give you a little history lesson of good ol’ South Coast!

Keep reading and you could win a South Coast hoodie!


At age 21, Rob Ard had a vision of expanding a local surf shop, Ocean Beach Surf Shop (no affiliation with today’s Ocean Beach Surf and Skate). In 1974, Rob took the name South Coast Surf Shop and opened his first location in Ocean Beach. 13 years later, Rob saw an opportunity to reach a new market: inland communities. With Rancho Peñasquitos identified as a booming area, South Coast’s second location was born. At the same, the Ocean Beach location needed expansion as well. Rob took the business to 5023 Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach and that location still exists today. The Inland community wasn’t producing the business Rob hoped for but he had his eyes on another location- Pacific Beach.

In 1993, he partnered with Eric “Bird” Huffman to create South Coast WindanSea, a bigger location from the original South Coast and 1/2 a block away from the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Erich “ET” Tramonti joined the partnership at that time as well. Rob thought all his angles were covered in the San Diego beach communities but 1 year later, when a new location opened up in OB, Rob jumped at the opportunity. South Coast Longboards honored surfing’s history and catered to longboard enthusiasts. Something was still missing though. Women’s fashion was quickly evolving and a standalone store was the ultimate solution. In 1999, South Coast Wahines entered the Pacific Beach community and was fully stocked with women’s clothing and footwear. 11 years after the opening of Wahines, longtime employees Heather Shields and Steve Cowan stepped into partnership roles after Bird stepped down to pursue his owns dreams. The success of Wahines was unimaginable and with two men’s-focused shops in Ocean Beach, the owners felt it was necessary to convert Longboards into another women’s location. In April 2012, South Coast Wahines Ocean Beach opened its doors. Today, South Coast Surf Shops boasts 5 locations including South Coast Closeouts (a discount surf shop) and men’s and women’s locations in Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach, as well as an online store.

Test your South Coast knowledge…

First person to get this question right wins a South Coast hoody!

Here is the question:

Where was the original South Coast location back in 1974?

Hint: It was NOT mentioned above! Good Luck!

Answer in the comment section below!

Meet Mandie

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Whitney p March 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

Santa Monica?

Mandie March 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

Nice guess but incorrect…

OB Mercy March 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Well, I’m pretty good at doing research and I couldn’t find anywhere on the Net where it mentioned what street it was originally on. So, I’m gonna guess Bacon?

Raleigh March 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I’ve worked for them for over 3 years and I don’t know!

Kurt Dornbusch March 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

Where Cow Records used to be – 5029 Newport Ave

Mandie March 15, 2013 at 9:28 am

YES! Good Job Kurt!!! You win a South Coast Hoody! We’ll get that for you today :) Thanks everyone for participating!!

Mary Dornbusch March 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Yeaaa…big daddy won me a hoodie

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