Waterfront

Where to Get Wet This Season

Your Guide to Paddling and Surf Shops, Camps and Lessons
By JON COEN | Mar 23, 2018

There were plenty of times this winter when maybe you dreamed about your favorite pancake spot on Long Beach Island. Pancakes are certainly not hard to come by anywhere, nor are they seasonal. But there’s something about the specific breakfast you get at that specific spot, specifically in the summer on LBI.

The same can be said about your favorite Island bike ride, your favorite arcade, and all those other traditions your family holds so dear from June through August.

For the locals and visitors who don’t surf through the icy winter, there are those who dream of summer – the smell of wax at the beloved surf shop, those ephemeral morning sessions, or the friends they made last year at surf camp. For summer surfers, it’s not too far off now. The Island surf shops, surf lessons instructors and camps are well prepared when you want to hit the water.

LBI’s surf shops and camps each work hard to cater to a particular niche, because not every family or surfer wants or needs the same thing. We’ve compiled a list of all the watersports-based businesses on LBI so you can decide what best suits your needs.

FARIAS SURF AND SPORT

The Farias family began with a single store in Surf City selling beach toys and sundries. Today they have three Farias locations on LBI and three related shops, with a wide and progressive selection of both apparel and hard goods.

Today, the shops are run by the next generation: Brian Farias and his sister and niece, Stacey and Sarah Jordan. Farias has the biggest selection of surfboards and wetsuits on the Island, including Lost, Channel Islands, Christenson, Firewire and Brian Wynn. And when it comes to apparel, this is where you’ll find those names like Volcom, Vans, Stance, Patagonia, Hurley, Quiksilver, Reef, O’Neill and Jetty.

Farias is also aligned with Hammer Surf School. Sam Hammer of Lavallette is New Jersey’s most high-profile surfer. The school offers group and individual lessons for both kids and adults, and also advanced lessons, out of the Ship Bottom shop.

Farias has three locations: 28th Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom, Fifth Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City, and Taylor and Bay avenues in Beach Haven. It also has the Farias Kids store with gear for groms on 28th Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom, across from the flagship store; and the Five O Six Surf Boutique, which carries beach fashion for women, at Sixth Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City.

fariassurf.com, 609-494-7368

 

SOUTH-END SURF ’N PADDLE

For those who are most into the stand-up paddle game, South-End Surf ’N Paddle is your spot. This shop runs almost exclusively on the boundless energy of Ken (Ken “Brah” to those who know him) Gallant, who has been surfing LBI since the ’60s and was an accomplished outrigger canoe racer before bringing a strong SUP presence to the South End.

South End carries several brands of SUPs including Riviera, Ron House and Red Paddle Co., and has every accessory imaginable. It has the gear and knowledge for any kind of SUP, from stand-up paddle fishing to racing, wave riding, or just general boards for family fun in the bay.

It does have a selection of surfboards, mostly geared toward longboards. Check out its shop label, Queen City Surfboards, and many boards shaped by hand locally. During the summer, the shop is a hive of activity, hosting movies, live surfboard shaping, and even ukulele lessons in the evening.

The shop is two blocks from its bay launch spot at Pearl Street, where staff take groups out several times each day. It also has a spot at Bayview Park in Brant Beach for lessons, tours and rentals.

South-End Surf ’N Paddle is located at 220 South Bay Ave. in Beach Haven.

220 South Bay Ave., Beach Haven

southendsurfnpaddle.com, 609-492-8823

 

LBI SURFING

Location, location, location. The thing that LBI Surfing has going for it is four locations, so no matter where you stay on LBI (or even the mainland), you’re never that far away.

Owned and operated by surfer Jeff Santolocci, this outfitter has over a decade of experience in getting families into the ocean and bay. It now has locations in Harvey Cedars, Brant Beach and Beach Haven.

Santolocci has created experiences for all levels, starting with the Intro to Surf Camp, which is every Monday and Wednesday, a full day where kids get one-on-one instruction in the water while the rest of the group plays beach games. The LBI Surf and Fun Day is a three-day camp. The Junior Surf Camp is for kids ages 8-15, and there is the Weekend Adult Surf Camp. If you’re really serious, you can do a full-day private or semi-private lesson. It also offers a skimboard camp, group SUP excursions, and rentals.

LBI Surfing is located at Bayview Park and also the 31st Street beach, both in Brant Beach; East Burlington Avenue in Harvey Cedars; and its headquarters ,at 13th Street and North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven.

lbisurfing.com, 609-494-7873

 

SURF UNLIMITED

A classic surf shop, Surf Unlimited is one of LBI’s originals, with a history that goes back to the 1970s. Owner George Gales puts an emphasis on local; much of his inventory has roots on LBI and the East Coast.

Among other wetsuit lines, Surf Unlimited carries O’Neill and notably Body Glove, which has become one of the premier rubber companies. It stocks Steward and Sharp-Eye Surfboards, too, as well as East Coast-based Wave Riding Vehicles and New Jersey-based Rozbern Surfboards, with handmade hand planes from Papa Planes. This season, a lot of the gear and apparel will also be ecologically sustainable.

Surf Unlimited does private and semi-private lessons from the shop, plus SUP Ecotours. This summer, it will also be the first on LBI to do two-hour “downwinder” paddles, meaning that you paddle with your instructor with the wind and get shuttled back to your car.

Surf Unlimited is at 19th Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom.

surfingLBI.com, 609-494-3555

 

BRIGHTON BEACH SURF SHOP

Surf shops have a proven model all over the world. They are the place where folks go to buy surfboards and wetsuits. However, shops actually make all of their money selling cool surf apparel.

Brighton Beach Surf Shop takes the model and turns it on its ear. Brighton Beach doesn’t do fashion. It sell sgear for waveriding and beach fun, focusing on its historic Matador Surfboards, which go back to the 1960s.

One of LBI’s first shops, its roots go back to Brant Beach Surf Shop, opened in 1966 by Richard Lisiewski. That became Brighton Beach Surf Shop, at its current location. Today, it’s run by son Michael Lisiewski.

The shop board labels, Matador and Boneyard Surfboards, are made on the East Coast, with durability in mind. The shop is also a living history of surfing, with a large selection of rare and vintage boards.

Brighton Beach has long been the spot where families can get a first surfing experience without feeling intimidated. Kids take lessons and eventually buy beginner boards. Then Dad or Mom buys a board. Then the family gets wetsuits. Then as they progress, they buy more performance-oriented boards, selling the older boards, which are still in good shape. They trust the shop and they keep coming back. You won’t find trends or expensive.

Lisiewski puts a lot of emphasis on lessons. He offers both private and semi-private surf and SUP lessons. The shop also has the most extensive rental operations, being one of the few places you can rent wetsuits and accessories. Try before you buy, right?

Brighton Beach Surf Shop is at 86th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, Brighton Beach.

brightonbeachsurfshop.com, 609-492 0342

 

DAVE WERNER SURF LESSONS

Personalized instruction and surf experience are what you get with Dave Werner. He is a lifelong surfer and has been giving lessons on LBI for nearly 15 years. He is a respected local waterman, and surfs competitively with the Jetty sponsorship. For those who are already comfortable on a board, he does intermediate lessons to help them improve.

Werner offers private and semi-private lessons, usually in Ship Bottom, but he will drive to your beach house if that works better. He has assistants for when he has to do group lessons. Some packages even include lunch.

facebook.com/davewernersurflesssons, 609-713-0159

 

WAVE HOG SURF SHOP

This is the younger brother shop to Brighton Beach, located near the Ship Bottom traffic circle. Opened over a decade ago, it operates on the same lines as Brighton, with the same ownership. Kids come through the door for buckets and Bang Snaps – and wind up curious about surfing.

Like Brighton, Wave Hog has a reputation for selling well-made boards that last and catering to entire families.

Wave Hog carries a good selection of skateboards and Hyperflex Wetsuits, a less expensive, New Jersey-based company.

It offers both private and semi-private surf and SUP lessons. It also has the most extensive rental operations, being one of the few places you can rent wetsuits and accessories.

Wave Hog Surf Shop is at Seventh Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom.

wavehogsurfshop.com, 609-494-1040

 

ISLAND SURF AND SAIL

Surfing LBI is awesome on summer mornings, but the sea breeze normally kicks in around 10 a.m. and junks up the surf until evening. Or some days, there are no waves at all.

If you’re the all-around waterman type, Island Surf and Sail has you covered. What began as primarily a sail shop in the 1980s became the shop that is on the cutting edge of each new watersport. It was the go-to shop for sailboards, then later wakeboarding, kiteboarding, spearfishing, outrigger canoeing – and the first on LBI to offer stand-up paddleboards. It’s also the only Island shop to offer snowboards.

Island Surf and Sail is a dealer of Lib Tech Waterboards, the surfboard line developed by Lib Tech Snowboards, with completely new materials for sustainability and durability without sacrificing performance. They’ve become quite popular here.

Island Surf and Sail offers SUP and surf lessons and camps. The building was raised in the offseason so it can better serve you for the elements, without having the elements in the shop on every storm.

It’s located on 33rd Street in Brant Beach.

Islandsurf-sail.com, 609-494-5553

 

LBI SURF GURU

One thing that Joe Aji of LBI Surf Guru figured out as a surf instructor is that folks like when they don’t have to get in the car. While they’re down for vacation, they’d much rather not sit in traffic or get their vehicle sandy on account of a surf lesson.

So Aji, aka LBI Surf Guru, brings the lesson to them.

He was an instructor for another shop for five summers, and then decided to start his own business. He finds folks really appreciate when he comes to their beach or house anywhere on LBI. He offers group, semi-private and private lessons, with the highest student/instructor ratio being 3:1.

LBIsurfguru.com, 856-630-4437

 

RON JON SURF SHOP

It’s one of the most famous names in all of surfing, with over 15 locations in the U.S. and the Caribbean. And it all started right at the Ship Bottom circle with Ron Dimenna’s trailer back in 1966.

Today it’s the pastel castle that welcomes visitors to LBI. Ron Jon does offer the big surf brands like Billabong, Hurley and Volcom, as well as coastal brands like Salt Life and Guy Harvey. But it’s best known for Ron Jon-branded apparel and souvenirs. Folks get into those Ron Jon wine glasses and keychains.

Ron Jon doesn’t have a surf camp, but it refers customers to Paul Boardman, an expert waterman from Barnegat Light. It also has a full fleet of rentals.

Ron Jon is located at Ninth Street and Central Avenue in Ship Bottom.

ronjonsurfshop.com, 609-494-8844

 

SURF WITH NICOLE

Nicole Pratt started Surf With Nicole back in 2006. She’s originally from California and started her camps in the surf mecca of Huntington Beach, but expanded to LBI a few years ago.

Pratt and her instructors offer two-day adult surf clinics, three- or five-day surf camps for kids, and private, semi-private and group lessons.

All lessons and clinics are held at the Nelson Street beach in Beach Haven.

surfwithnicole.com, 619-398-7437

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