The favorite shop of Texas surfers
Surf Specialties Cp was established in 1985 by James Fulbright. With starting capital of $1,000.00 and ten used boards, it began simply as a ding repair and used board business operating out of James' garage. Since his building (home) was technically on a plot zoned (neighborhood services), James was able to legally operate out of his lower level,dirt floor 2-car garage with virtually no-overhead (ceiling clearance was only 6’6″ !! Get it..?? No overhead!! Ha-ha!!).
Garage operations continued for the next five years offering quality repairs (in-house) and used surfboards. As per customer requests, James would bring in a few accessories like wax and other surfing accessories. Word continued to spread quickly about this “underground” shop located on 37th Street. At that time, James was able to answer every surf report call personally, until it got so popular, James had to add a phone surf report on the now famous, but defunct, (409) 763-2115. Nowadays, since the advent of the internet, we upload a daily surf report online at surfspecialties.com. During that period, the shop grew organically, as products were requested. It became an instant hit.
During the period between 1987 and 1991, the surf shop formed a strong surf team that claimed “Texas State Surfing Champions” for FIVE years in a row !! A feat that has yet to be matched by any other Texas Surf Team !!
An old antique store was located next door to the shop located on the corner of 37th Street and Ave R. When the business owner suddenly died, my landlord asked James if he was interested in the property. Since he had long ago outgrown the confines of the garage location (600 sq. ft.), the first major move occurred in 1991: We moved six feet !! The building was painted bright blue, overhead was kept low and Strictly Hardcore Surf Specialties continued to grow for the next four years by staying true to it's “Hardcore” roots and giving personal service to the many loyal customers that had come to know the shop as their own little secret surf shop. We now boasted of having 1000 sq. ft !!
During the mid-90’s, after the demise of a couple of “beach front” stores, an opportunity arose to fill a void along the beach that had never been filled: A REAL surf shop catering to surfer’s first and foremost! This was a very risky proposition that hadn’t been accomplished since the 70’s. So, in 1995, we made our second move,this time to Galveston’s famous Seawall Boulevard!! Initially, (and with much hesitation), we could only justify paying for 1000 sq. ft, but within a year, we realized it wasn’t large enough, and expanded to 2000 sq. ft.!!
During those years, Surf Specialties carried between 60 and 90 surfboards at all times, and stocked more leashes, traction, board bags, wet suits and other surf accessories than any previous island shop had ever done. We had a complete skateboard dept, a “build your own” surfboard dept, as well as carrying a large selection of new and used CD’s by the most popular rock, reggae, surf and rap artists of the day. SURF-FASHION-MUSIC was our draw. That continued until 2008!
In 2008, one week before the now infamous "Hurricane Ike" we moved back to our original location on 37th & Avenue R and combined hand shaping surfboards and the surf shop retail operation, with the feel of the original 60’s surf shop concept…shaping in the back and selling surfboards and t-shirts in the front! Back to our roots we went.
Unique inventory, a convenient location, and a knowledgeable staff are just a few things we have to offer our customers of 3 1/2 deades, which are the main reasons they return, but now with their kids and grand-kids:) Come and find out for yourself why we’re still the local surfers’ favorite surf shop!
Visit us at 3702 Avenue R. or call us at (409) 763-5422
See ya’ in the shop or in the water!! Thanks for all the good memories.