The Early Days of Surf n' Wear and White Owl Surfboards
The Original Owl Surf Shop in Summerland circa 1961
In 1961 Jeff White and Brian Bradley opened the Owl Surf Shop in Summerland, California, at 2320 Lillie Ave, next store to the Yater Surf Shop. Brian shaped the boards and Jeff glassed the foam blanks. The name was inspired by White Owl cigars and a few of the first boards were made with the cigar box owl cut out and glassed onto the deck.
1964 Owl Surfboard
Until 1963 the decal on the boards was just the text “White Owl, Surfboard, Santa Barbara.” In 1963 the current Owl logo was created by a UCSB student and from then on, they were just known as “Owl Surfboards.” The going rate for a board in the early 1960’s was $125. Jeff White would sell basic production boards nicknamed “poor boys” for $95.
Surf n' Wear's Pleasure Point Surf Shop in Santa Cruz
Surf n' Wear Surf Shops in California
In 1964 Jeff and Brian opened two more shops in Santa Cruz, the Pleasure Point Surf Shop at 23401 East Cliff Drive, which sold Owl, Yater, and Weber boards, and an Owl surf shop at 24 Front Street. The Owl surfboards for these shops were still shaped in Summerland and Santa Barbara and delivered to Santa Cruz.
Surf n' Wear's Carrillo Street Store
In 1965 Jeff and Brian closed the Summerland store and opened Surf n’ Wear in Santa Barbara at 209 West Carrillo Street. This was both a retail store and a board shop.
In 1967 the Santa Cruz shops closed and Jeff and Brian’s partnership ended.
In 1975 Roger Nance started working for Surf n’ Wear, and then partnered with Jeff White in the business in 1979. From 1975-82 they opened stores in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Goleta, Carpinteria, and Thousand Oaks. In those years, they also hosted many local surf contests, including the Rincon Classic Surf Contest, which they hosted from 1979 to 1999.
Surf n' Wear's Beach House on State St.
By 1987 all Surf n’ Wear stores with the exception of the original Carrillo Street location had closed. That same year Roger and Jeff opened Surf n’ Wear’s Beach House at 10 State Street. In 1992 the original Surf n’ Wear store on Carrillo closed and Jeff retired but still remained a partner until his passing in 2010.
After Brian Bradley stopped shaping for Owl in 1967 there were a number of other surfboard shapers who shaped under the label. Tom Hale shaped for a period after Brian. Mark Andreini and Bruce Fowler shaped most Owl surfboards through the 1970’s. Tom Roland and Phil Becker also shaped for periods of time. Marc Andreini has never stopped shaping for Owl and continues to carry on the legacy.
Come on down to the Surf n’ Wear’s Beach House to check out the vintage boards, and new Owl boards alike!