Riding the Waves

Riding the Waves

Manhattan Beach, nestled along the picturesque coastline of Southern California, has long been a haven for surfers seeking the perfect wave. The city's rich history in surfing dates back to the early 20th century, and over the years, it has become a hub for surf culture, attracting enthusiasts from around the world. This article explores the fascinating history of surfing in Manhattan Beach and highlights five iconic surf shops that have played a significant role in shaping the local surf scene.

Early Days:

The origins of surfing in Manhattan Beach can be traced back to the early 1900s when legendary waterman George Freeth introduced the sport to the area. Freeth, known for his exceptional skills in surfing and lifeguarding, played a pivotal role in popularizing the sport along the Southern California coast. As the decades passed, Manhattan Beach evolved into a surf mecca, with surfers flocking to its shores to ride the waves and embrace the laid-back coastal lifestyle.

Landmarks and Surf Culture:

One of the most iconic landmarks in Manhattan Beach is the Manhattan Beach Pier, which has witnessed countless surfers mastering their craft over the years. The pier's proximity to consistent swells and favorable surfing conditions has made it a favorite spot for surfers of all skill levels. As the surf culture flourished, the city became home to numerous surf shops that catered to the needs of the growing surfing community.

Five Iconic Surf Shops in Manhattan Beach:

  1. Spyder Surfboards:

    • Established in 1983, Spyder Surfboards has been a cornerstone of the Manhattan Beach surf community. The shop offers a wide range of surfboards, wetsuits, and accessories, and its knowledgeable staff provides expert advice to surfers of all levels.
  2. ET Surf:

    • Since 1972, ET Surf has been a go-to destination for surfers in Manhattan Beach. The shop not only sells top-notch surf gear but also hosts events and competitions, contributing to the vibrant surf culture of the area.
  3. Becker Surfboards:

    • Founded in 1974, Becker Surfboards has been an integral part of the local surf scene. Known for its high-quality surfboards and apparel, the shop has played a key role in supporting the surfing community through sponsorships and events.
  4. ZJ Boarding House:

    • ZJ Boarding House, established in 1988, is a renowned surf shop that caters to surfers, skateboarders, and snowboarders alike. The shop's commitment to providing top-tier products and fostering a sense of community has made it a beloved fixture in Manhattan Beach.
  5. Dive N' Surf:

    • With roots dating back to 1953, Dive N' Surf is not just a surf shop but a historic institution in the Manhattan Beach community. Originally a dive shop, it expanded to include surf gear and has been a reliable resource for surfers seeking quality equipment and expertise.


As the waves continue to roll into the shores of Manhattan Beach, the city's rich surfing history remains intertwined with the vibrant surf culture that defines it. With iconic landmarks, a welcoming community, and a legacy of surf shops, Manhattan Beach stands as a testament to the enduring allure of riding the waves along the Southern California coast.

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