Suncoast Surf Shop
About the Shop
The Shop started back in 1966 when no other surf shops existed in the St. Petersburg, Florida area. Owner Joe was going to be an airplane mechanic, only they sent him home to get a haircut, never to return, hence the new job, surf shop owner. Suncoast started with $300, a few surfboards, 12 tee shirts, a bottle of red wine and some surfboard stickers. In the 60s things were a little different.
For starters we were not accepted, as we dressed and looked different. To make matters worse, when the surf came up, which is rare on the Florida Gulfcoast, it was against the law to surf!! (Before surf leashes.) If you lost your surfboard there was always a friendly rifle-toting law officer with a bullhorn in the other hand...needless to say we lost that battle for awhile. It took some time but we finally got our surfing beaches back!!
Gulfcoast waves are rideable 70-100 days a year. Waist-to-chest waves...and during hurricane season, sometimes head-to-overhead. There were not a lot of surfers back then, not a lot of money was made in the 60s and 70s. The icon t-shirt design you see today was from a 60s photo of Joe sitting on the front step of the ol' shop, with a few boards leaning around, and a sign that read: "Surf equip and weird posters."
Many of the local surfers here travel to the east coast of Florida, as well as travel to Costa Rica, Bahamas, Barbados and Puerto Rico. The 80s were good and Joe finally got to live the surf lifestyle, travel and work! (In that order.) But life has its ups and its downs...1995, May 20th to be exact. The original surf shop burned down, and lost were many memories along with the entire inventory. Only problem was, Joe had cut back on basics to fund more vacations etc., and had no insurance!!! Oh well. With help from friends, family and customers (our discount surf club), we were back with a new shop and ready to live that lifestyle again.