“We’re gatekeepers of this iconic surf shop in Pacific Beach,” said proprietor Ron Friedman, who co-owns the shop at 4320 Mission Blvd. along with wife Melody, a stand-up paddle board yoga instructor. “It used to be Bob’s Mission Surf. Bob’s still around. He has a stand-up paddle board shop.”
Noting Mission Surf has “changed hands a few times,” Friedman said there’s a good reason why the shop has survived half a century.
“We’re not a blow-out shop, not a tourist shop,” he said. “We have good products and we stand by them. We treat people right. That’s kind of our motto.”
Both Friedmans come from corporate backgrounds.
“I was on the brand side with Quiksilver,” Friedman said, noting he and his wife are happy to be doing surf retail now because “it fits our lifestyle.”
It also doesn’t hurt that their shop is located at a crossroads on Mission Boulevard, just steps from the beach.
“We’re surrounded by Ralphs and Starbucks, restaurants and bars like PB Alehouse, Firehouse, Shore Club and the new Waterbar,” Friedman said. “We get a lot of people criss-crossing here.”
Of the active-sports retail trade, Friedman said, “It’s very exciting, interesting.”
Add challenging to the mix. Friedman said competition from online retail has forced them “to focus on private label-branded merchandise,” which, he said, “helps us celebrate the heritage and history of this place.”
The bread and butter of Mission Surf, which also has vacation rentals upstairs, is equipment rentals and beach-boutique accessories.
“We focus on sunglasses, sandals, hats, backpacks, roller luggage, T-shirts and hoodies,” said Friedman noting he carries “premium brands that are quality, as opposed to cheap throwaways.”
Some of Friedman’s stock of T-shirts, hats and Baja hoodies is handmade in Mexican villages.
Brands carried at Mission Surf include Oakley, Ray-Ban, SPY, Olukai, Rainbow Sandals, Reef, Salty Crew, Sector 9 and Carver. It’s a one-stop surf shop carrying everything from a bar of wax to the full kit: shades, flip flops, board shorts and a tank top.
Sunscreen is another popular item sold by Mission Surf promoting two local brands, Headhunter and Sun Bum. “They’re all-natural, reef-safe and the sunscreen stays on you in the water and protects you,” Friedman said.
Friedman’s clientele “runs the gamut” of ages, backgrounds and origins.
“We’re basically on an island,” he said. “We’re not in a mall. We’re in a high-density tourist area, so we get people coming in for the impulse buy, flip flops, shades, or a trip memento or T-shirt.
“But we still have a big local clientele. People who come in here to get their surf wax, a leash, ding repair kits, those types of items the same as they have for 50 years.”
Where: 4320 Mission Blvd.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily,
open later in summer.
Info: missionsurf.com, 858-483-8837.