Jeff White opened the original shop (Owl Surfboards) in Summerland back in 1961. He soon moved to Carrillo Street in Santa Barbara where he opened “Surf N’ Wear.” Roger Nance started out as an employee in 1975 then bought in as a partner in 1979. Soon Surf N' Wear had stores in San Luis Obispo, Carpinteria, Thousand Oaks, Santa Maria and Goleta in addition to the Beach House, which has been at its current location since 1986.
"I like to think back to the '70s because of the sport's simplicity," Nance recalls. "It was an interesting era to surf through. We weren't making a lot of money but it was fun. But as far as numbers go, things have been best over the last five years... until the last six months."
Beach House is an 11,000 square-foot retail space located on State Street in the heart of Santa Barbara. Nance stocks over 150 surfboards, with Renny Yater's shapes holding a majority of the floor's real estate. Beach House also carries Fineline, Anderson's, Andreini's, Hobie, G&S, Firewire and other reputable brands. For the true connoisseur, Roger can put you in touch with John Eichert, the founder of the first surf shop in Santa Barbara… IKE Surfboards.
"We try and make it an experience coming in here," Nance says of his shop's vibe. "It's not just metal racks, everything we have in here is done by myself or the manufacturers. We have all the vintage surfboards hanging from the ceiling, my ukulele collection as well as artwork. It's more than just coming into a shop; it's an experience coming in and seeing a little history."
Thank you to Surfline.com for the fine description above.
I first moved to the Santa Barbara area in 1963. One of the first locals to make me feel welcome was Jeff White. Jeff was a fine man, and he left us way too soon. Since I got all my wetsuits and surfing accessories from Surf N' Wear, I met Roger when he began working. I still see, and chat with, Roger when I visit the store across from the pier. I enjoy looking at the well-preserved relics hanging from the ceiling that were called “surfboards” in my early days of surfing.
The store had seen a decline in traffic due to some major renovation and development taking place on properties around the Beach House. However, most of the work has been completed, and the remainder should be finished soon. Stop in when in Santa Barbara… tell him “Jeff at the Ranch” sent you… he’ll laugh.