Most surfers I know develop a sense of loyalty to a surf shop and it becomes their go-to source for all things surf related.
When Surfy Surfy came to Leucadia a few years back I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when they took over a portion of the space where the iconic Longboard Grotto resided.
I quickly warmed to the new shop and sensed I had a lot in common with their eclectic and somewhat quirky owner Jean-Paul St. Pierre (JP).
It did not hurt that he was connected to the killer Coffee Coffee but that’s a story I’ve already told.
After many years surfing here, one can still feel like an outsider among the local local’s who grew up in the area, yet JP always has a welcoming, easy-going vibe about him that keeps me coming back to this one-of-a-kind shop.
We had a conversation recently about food, music and surfing and here are some highlights:
You were born and raised in Encinitas, what were some of your favorite local places to eat growing up?
Growing up and surfing in Leucadia you become a child of the taco shop. My friends and I existed almost exclusively off Mexican food from Juanita’s, Raul’s and Karina’s. It’s affordable and taco shops don’t mind sandy feet. A deeply important place to us was breakfast at George’s Restaurant when Jane Schmauss owned it. Jane somehow tolerated our motley crew of scruffy starved out surfers and the George’s menu was good and the prices were friendly to our low budgets. I think we usually paid our bills with loose change and crumpled up dollar bills. If we couldn’t afford George’s or Juanita’s we would survive off VG’s donuts.
And now as a parent and surf shop owner, what are your current favorites?
Even now in my 40s I’m still hitting up the local taco shops a couple times a week. In our zone of coastal North Leucadia we have a nice selection of places to eat. Pandora Pizza has been great for the community and the staff is really nice. Le Papagayo has always been fun with the live music, lights and energy and Regal Seagull has been a cool addition to the neighborhood. I like the new Lanai spot that took over Haggo’s, and I dig Haggo’s new location. If the wife and I get a rare date night we will go to Priority Public House for dinner and back to Solterra for wine and dessert or visit Yu Me Ya Sake House, which is a great experience. I’m really impressed with the guys at Fish 101. To create such a successful restaurant in the deep, dark north section of Leucadia is a real achievement. At Coffee Coffee next door to Surfy Surfy we have Jose in the kitchen, who used to be at Miracles in Cardiff. Jose keeps me alive with this yummy breakfast and sandwiches.
How about your kids, where do they like to eat?
Our two boys are 6 and 8 years old and honestly they don’t like restaurants that much but they do like Hapi Fish. The wide-open space is kid friendly and they always see friends from school. When I was a little kid I loved La Especial Norte. I’m patiently waiting for my kids to embrace the chicken soup there.
I always notice the killer music mix happening at Surfy Surfy and your parties always feature someone spinning vinyl, how would you describe your tastes in music and what shaped them growing up?
My dad has always been hip when it comes to music and he would take me to Lou’s Records. My taste in music is a bit wonky these days, I got really into collecting old Hawaiian and Lounge and Exotica records at thrift stores for a few years. I loved going to punk shows, I stuck out like a sore thumb at those shows being a blonde surfer kid, but somehow I never got beat up. My favorite was attending shows at Iguana’s in Tijuana. Tyler Hanel later got me into electronic music. We’ve had some great talent play live in the shop during events. Boaz Roberts and his jazz crew are a staple. In the surf shop during the day I like to play mellow, groovy electronic music as background stuff. I constantly battle my streaming music apps and am currently musically frustrated.
What was your first concert and where was it?
I think it was Weird Al Yankovic at the Del Mar Fair and nothing else has ever come close to competing with that pure display of sonic mastery.
If you had a chance to produce a concert for a night with three bands from any era, dead or alive, whom are you booking?
Link Wray, Esquivel, and The Black Keys
You have access to all shapes and sizes of surfboards, if you could only surf one of them, which one would it be, and why?
I get asked this question a lot and honestly the concept of only riding one surfboard terrifies me. If I gotta pick one, I will go with a 6-foot-8-inch Egg hand shaped by Gary Hanel adopting the Campbell Brothers five fin Bonzer system. That board should work 300 days a year at Beacon’s.
Surfy Surfy has a very unique vibe, with a noticeable “Star Wars” influence, how would you describe your shop and that influence?
My family started the Moonlight Glassing surfboard factory when I was 9 years old. I ended up working there sanding and polishing surfboards for over 25 years. I was exposed to a very high level of handmade craft surfboards from the best shapers in the world. That influence carries on into the surf shop. I have always been a big “Star Wars” and sci-fi geek but always kept it secret. I slowly started putting “Star Wars” tributes into our logos; it was kind of subversive at first just to see if anyone picked up on it. But now Star Wars has come roaring back in our culture in a big way and it’s become socially acceptable to fly your geek flag. I think to myself, what do I like in life? I like surfboards, I like “Star Wars” and I like coffee, so let’s do that!
And finally, what would your last meal on earth be…you get a starter, main and dessert, your “last supper” so to speak?
Can I just slowly sip a nice hot cup of black coffee? That answer will probably make Foodies crazy but it’s the truth. Check out Surfy Surfy at 974 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, (760) 452-7687 or surfysurfy.net.
David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at email@example.com or (858) 395-6905.