For the Board Fetishist
Mollusk Surf Shop
210 Kent Ave., at River St., Williamsburg; 718-218-7456
Chris Gentile believes that surfboard shaping is a dying folk art, and his pricey boutique in Williamsburg (moving to a much larger space around the corner this fall) is, unsurprisingly, curated like a museum. Gentile stocks an ever-changing selection of rare and expensive boards by the scene’s most celebrated craftsmen—Michel Junod, Steve Pendarvis, Mark Andreini, Brian Bulkley—as well as a unique selection of surf movies; premium wetsuits from XCEL and Patagonia; and a sharp new line of men’s pants and sweatshirts.
For the Grommet on a Budget
Boarders Surf Shop
192 Beach 92nd St., nr. Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach 718-318-7997
Located within walking distance of the 92nd Street surf zone in Rockaway, the cheerful, casual shop caters to the starter surfer and has a well-rounded selection of moderately priced wetsuits and boards shaped by the venerable New Jersey company Matador. There’s a changing area in back, rental lockers for board and wetsuit storage, and heated changing rooms and showers for those arctic winter days.
For the Surfer of Waves and Street-Style Blogs
31 Crosby St., nr. Grand St. 212-966-7875
At first, certain surf purists bristled at the concept of this Soho emporium—a high-end clothing store–cum–café that also happened to sell hard-to-find foam boards from Tanner Prairie and Gato Heroi and wetsuits from Matuse. Turns out, though, the clothes—plaid button-downs (the de facto surfer’s uniform) by Crosby Plaid and Saturdays’ own brand of sweaters and fleece—are super-stylish, the La Colombe coffee is delicious, and their taste in surfboards is unimpeachable.
For the Uncommitted Renter
Long Beach Surf Shop
70 W. Park Ave., nr. National Blvd., Long Beach 516-431-5431
This Long Beach mainstay, just across from the Long Island Rail Road station, features a downtrodden selection of board shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops. However, LBSS also has the best selection of board rentals in the area and a healthy inventory of higher-quality boards for impulse buyers.
For the Intel Gatherer
301 W. Park Ave., at Laurelton Blvd., Long Beach; 516-208-3590
Mike Flammer and Len Valenti spent nearly fifteen years selling surfboards at Long Beach Surf Shop before hanging their own shingle here three summers ago. Though board-shoppers will be duly impressed by the hand-shaped boards from outfits like Campbell Brothers, Anderson Surfboards, and Bing, what you really go to Maritime for is the customer service. Flammer’s knowledge of board design and local conditions is second to none.
For the Aspiring Laird Hamilton
359 E. Park Ave., nr. Lincoln Blvd., Long Beach; 516-889-1112
Mike Nelson and Dave Juan, the proprietors of this no-nonsense shop a pebble-shot from the Lincoln Boulevard surfing beach, have been anchors of Long Beach’s surfing community since 1997. If progressive surfing—big hacks off the lip and huge airs—is your thing, then this is your store: Unsound specializes in high-performance surfboards with names like the Channel Islands Neck Beard, not to mention the area’s widest selection of wetsuits and sunglasses.