“It’s kind of like performance art, where you go in and you’re part of it,” Rule said. People ask me all the time, ‘Are you one of the artists?’ I’m not, but what I tell them is the whole place is kind of my art.”
The two-year-old business itself is essentially an extension of Rule. It starts with the name, which Rule came up with by reflecting on himself — an avid surfer and a fully enrolled member of the Chickasaw Indian tribe in Oklahoma.
“So I’m a surfer and I’m Indian, and I kind of put the two things together and I was like, ‘Son of a gun, there it is,’” Rule said. “And it stuck.”
The name stuck, as did the store itself, despite opening in the summer of 2008 just before the start of the economic recession. In two years, Surfindian has gone from simply surviving to totally thriving.
“I’ve grown consistently in terms of inventory and the network but I’ve grown it in little bitty steps,” he said. “I’ve tried not to grow it too fast because it was tough times.”
Currently located at 4658 Mission Blvd., Surfindian will expand two doors down to 4652 Mission Blvd. on May 22. When that happens, the original space will be an art and gift store and the space formerly occupied by Star Surfing Co. will become a surf shop complete with boards, gear, duds — and a couch for visitors.
“My idea is that I want people to come in and have it be an experience,” Rule said. “You want to come in and relax, have a glass of water, read a surf mag, hang out for a little bit, chat it up. That’s what I’m all about.”
The joint art show and store grand opening from 6 to 10 p.m. on May 22 will celebrate Surfindian’s new frontier, and feature an art gallery from Japanese surf artist Koji Toyoda. That evening will also launch the full surf shop, whose crown jewel will undoubtedly be a cherry-red Skip Frye longboard — a rare new board from the local surf legend.
“I’m honored and flattered that he is willing to do it,” Rule said. “For me to be able to come out here and do this and have someone who is as much of a surf legend as Skip to want to participate in this thing that I’m doing — it’s mindblowing.”
In addition to selling surf art, gifts, DVDs and gear from companies such as Captain Fin and Ando and Friends, Surfindian also has its own clothing line that Rule is working to develop. Hats with the logo are sold across the Pacific in Japanese department stores and the most popular items in PB are the artist series T-shirts, which feature designs from artists that have previously shown their work at Surfindian.
“I’ll work with them and I’ll get a piece of their art and we’ll make a T-shirt out of it,” Rule said. “Those are really popular. I’ll do them as a limited run and people dig that stuff.”
Rule admits that Surfindian is still a work in progress. That’s okay with him as long as the shop stays as unique as he is.
“I hope we can surprise and inspire people when they come in,” Rule said.
Surfindian is located at 4652 and 4658 Mission Blvd. For more information, visit www.surfindian.com.