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Hansen Surfboards

Hansen Surfboards is located at 1105 S Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, CA. If you're looking to score a new board or some surfing gear, you've come to the right spot. With over 700 surfboards from of the biggest brands, you'll find what you're looking for to tear up the waves. Hansen's also carries surf and snow gear if you're just looking to update your wardrobe. 

Spotlight Article: Hansen Surfboards: A Surf Superstore With 50 Years of Shaping History

At 16,000 square feet and two (and a half) stories tall, Hansen Surfboards is the largest surf shop in San Diego and likely all of Southern California.  This family-owned business is a retail giant where you'll find boards, home decor, the latest surfy fashions, children's clothing, wetsuits - you name it, whatever you need for the slopes or the waves, this 101 staple has it.  The shop celebrated it's 50th anniversary a few years back, and it's not only part of the lifeblood of Encinitas, but it beats in the heart of the surfing industry as well.

There is a sandals room filled with 6,000 shoes, and a board area with surfboards - they stock over 500.  In the rows of sticks you'll find, as Josh Hansen put it, "the latest and greatest," but also classic shapes, like tree log-heavy, noseride-worthy Hansen original longboard models.  It's is a surfstitution with a storied past, and any surfer who knows how to duck dive will tell you - Hansen's is so much more than just a surf shop.

Founder and surfing pioneer, Don Hansen, falls into the same ilk as Jack O'Neill, the inventor of the wetsuit; Linda Benson, the first woman to ride Waimea Bay; and Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman, a.k.a. Gidget.  As a surfer myself, there are certain names you learn right away when you're 10 and riding white water at surf camp.  For me, Don Hansen was one of those names.

Don was raised working on farms in South Dakota and did not start surfing until he was 18.  He attended the University of South Dakota where he joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.  Two of his fraternity brothers were from Coronado, and they showed him some of the surfing films they brought with them from home.  Two weeks later, Hansen hitchhiked to Coronado and into surfing history.  He began shaping boards for Jack O'Neill, and later went on to shape boards for some of surfing's premier manufacturers, like Jacobs and Hobie, before he moved his family to Hawaii and started his own business.

In 1962, Hansen moved his base of operations from Kawela Bay to Cardiff-by-the-Sea.  Propelled by Don's tireless work ethic, it was only a few short years before Hansen boards were being shipped and sold worldwide.  Now, a classic Hansen's longboard is a collector's item, and could easily go for thousands of dollars.  At the heart of the operation is a family approach to the business.  Not only do Don Hansen's children manage much of the business, but they also have a solid staff that includes people who have been with them for decades.

INTERVIEW WITH JOSH HANSEN

What makes Hansen's different than other surf shops?  What makes it stand out? 

One, the size and offering we have.  I think we are probably the only surf, ski, and snowboard store in Southern California.  We do everything surf-related - we have a full selection of all the major clothing brands, but then we also have a full ski and snowboard sales and rental shop as well.  We kind of cover the whole gamut.  The second point would be just the experience you get.  We're family-owned.  We've been in the business for 50 years and when you come here, you're going to see many products that you can buy from many other retailers, but you'll just get a really good experience.  What separates us is the service.  

What are some of your secrets to success?

Service.  We put a real premium on our service.  We really try to make sure that each and every customer who comes through our doors has the best experience that they have had in retail.  That tends to bring people back.  Having the same employees, some of which have been around for almost 35 years now, those faces - people see them each and every year when they come out on vacation or just when they're shopping here.  It builds relationships and just continues to build on that good experience.  

Where's your favorite spot to surf in San Diego? 

Swamis. 

You must have come into contact with a lot of cool people in the industry over the years.  Do you have any favorite stories?  Or cool people you've surfed with? 

Two names kind of come to mind that are kind of related to our business.  One is a local kid, his name is Ryan Burch.  He actually worked at Hansen's and was a team rider of ours and now he's gone on to become a lifestyle waterman of the industry.  He surfs for Volcom, travels the world,  and he's just a really cool kid.  

Maybe a little more obvious, and he's a guy I haven't spent much time with, but a little bit here and there, is Rob Machado.  I've been out in the water and surfed around him and he's a good, super nice, salt of the earth, solid guy.  And obviously one of the best surfers in the world.  It's always nice when he paddles up, and says "Hey Josh, what's up?"  So that's kind of cool.  I'm a fan of the sport and he's a pretty big name. 

What's your favorite board to ride? 

A Hansen.  

What model? 

50/50. 

Where is your favorite place to eat in Encinitas?  What do you order? 

Swami's Cafe.  I get four eggs scrambled, cottage cheese, and black beans.

What has been the biggest obstacle Hansen's has had to overcome in starting the business? 

Our biggest challenge was probably about 30 years ago when we were originally a surfboard manufacturer and we manufacturing 6,000 surfboards a year - I think that was the biggest year for Hansen's.  We had dealers all around the country, and kind of overnight there became this new, garage-shaping revolution and guys started riding shorter boards.  The industry kind of changed overnight, and we were known for just shaping longboards and that change really was a challenge.  Don, my Dad, had to really scramble to keep business alive, but that was kind of the point in time when we moved from being a manufacturer into being a retailer. 

Hansen's, to me, is simply the best.  It's got the feel of a super store, and surf shop wise, the selection is unmatchable.  I purchased two of my boards (the only two I ride) at Hansen's because I know that not only will I get the best board available, but that the extremely knowledgable staff will direct me what kind of shape and style suits my needs.  Hansen's is such a success because they diversified.  At the root of their operation is the understanding that people who surf probably ski as well.

I love that when I go to Hansen's I know I'll probably come out not with just a new leash or wetsuit, but also a coffee table book filled with pages of surf photography from the 60's and 70's.  Whether you are looking to rent a board while on vacation with your family, or you're a seasoned surfer who needs a new stick, Hansen's is the place to go… dude.

Hansen Surfboards | 1105 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024 | (760) 753-6595 | www.hansensurf.com

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