The term “surf shack” is slang for a hut or establishment used to provide service to people wanting to enter the ocean. These establishments include both public and private facilities which have been created to serve their customers’ needs in terms of providing adequate services such as parking, restrooms, changing rooms, rental equipment, and food.
History of surf shacks:
Surf shacks are present in many places worldwide but have their origins on the North American coasts. The only real difference between a surf shack and an “old school” surf shop is their size. Surf shops are normally bigger than surf shacks, so it’s easy to tell them apart.
The first known use of this term dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and was particularly common in California. Surf shacks were used as early as 1916 in Santa Cruz, CA, and were well established by 1920.
Purpose of establishing surf shacks:
The main purposes of these establishments were to provide a work environment for surfers and to store their boards when not in use. Their popularity began to spread through mainland America as surfing became more common throughout the years. In some areas, surf shacks have been passed from generation to generation within a family and have been modified or upgraded to meet the growing needs of customers
How do surf shacks work?
The customer first has a brief conversation with a salesperson/cashier where they give them information about their surf experience level. Surf shacks then offer them surfboards, surf lessons, or both.
Some surf shacks do not rent to anyone under 16 years of age due to safety concerns. There are many reasons the employees at these places require customers to have some experience before they can rent equipment or go out for a lesson. The main one is that they want to provide their customers with the safest experience possible.
Surf shacks will rent surfboards for all levels;
beginners, intermediates, and experts. Beginners are allowed to use soft-top boards (soft foam) while experts can borrow conventional hard boards. An exception to this rule is found in Costa Rica where they have implemented a universal rental of soft boards at all levels.
Surf lessons are conducted by instructors with varying experiences in the water. Some of them started out as surfers while others have taken formal training at schools that offer surfing courses.
Benefits of working or shopping at a surf shack:
Surf shacks provide many benefits to its employees including health insurance, paid time off, and flexible work hours. These benefits are not present in many other jobs and can be very valuable to the person who needs them the most.
Surfers who shop or work at these establishments receive a huge benefit because they get to use their equipment for free whenever they want. This is an excellent perk for people who need surf gear but cannot afford it.
Surf shacks are definitely an interesting part of the surfing community, but they are not necessary for everyone’s survival. For surfers, however, offer them many perks that cannot be found elsewhere and provide an opportunity to give back to the sport that has given them so much enjoyment.