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When we started on this crazy journey in 2006 our goal was to do nothing more than create a part time income selling boards on Craigslist. We quickly learned however that there was a serious interest in being able to buy surfboards off the internet and that is where our story really began.
At the time, we were selling boards out of our 1 bedroom apartment in the University City area of San Diego. If you stepped into our place you would have found surfboards everywhere. The bedroom, loft, living room, kitchen, and yes even the bathroom had boards lining every wall. We had up to 97 surfboards in that little place at one point. One day, when having a serious discussion on whether or not to sell the kitchen table to make more room, we decided it was time to move this hobby turned business out of our house.
When your whole goal is to just sell boards, you kind of follow a “stack 'em deep and sell 'em cheap” philosophy. Our naivety had some unintended consequences however. We had created a business that was disconnected from those who had gone before us, an unfortunate reality that created more enemies in the surf industry than allies. There is so much history that comes along with surf culture, and admittedly, when we started, we were oblivious to that.
As with many things, with time comes understanding. Fast forward to today and the evolution of Degree 33 is very apparent. We’ve gone from building generic boards with little thought given to shape, design, and build quality, to teaming up with local San Diego shaper of 42 years, Bill Minard, to update, fine-tune, and design our shapes. Having a surfboard designed by a true master means that when you get one of our boards under your feet, it just feels right.
We now build all our fiberglass boards here locally in San Diego while all of our epoxy boards are built overseas like most board manufacturers, a fact few are willing to admit. Regardless, all our boards are built entirely by hand without the use of a shaping machine. This may or may not be a big issue for you, but we know it is for a lot of surfers. No one wants to see our industry outsourced to China, and even though the production process has made it nearly impossible to make epoxy boards here, we are building the boards we can in California.
We’ve gone from selling boards out of our apartment to a legitimate warehouse and showroom. Come on by and you’ll see surf videos playing on the wall, a couch for you to kick back on, and a showroom full of surfboards for you to check out.
We’ve gone from kooks Luc and Holly Stokes, to a team of competent life-long surfers who help with virtually every facet of the company. Every one of us was a beginner at some point. This is something we keep in the forefront of our mind as we help you out. We’ll treat you with respect regardless of your skill level or “kooky-ness”. :)
We're proud of some of the industry firsts we brought as well. We were the very first to offer a “Ride-It Guarantee” so that you can be confident that the board you invest in will be the right one. We also offer the rare opportunity to spread the cost of your board out over payments. This works like a layaway program, but you get to surf your board before it’s even paid in full, a concept never heard of in the industry!
Most of all, we encourage you to be yourself. We offer a place in the surf community to call your own where it’s safe to ask silly questions and look for guidance without giving you an elitist attitude. As you move through your journey as a surfer, newbie or ripper, we’re here to help in every way we can.
Do we have everything figured out? Na, not even close. As a company we are just starting to understand what our industry and culture are truly all about, who came before us, what they contributed, and how we can continue in the legacy they’ve left behind.
Our hope is that we do more than that. We aim to build boards that leave you lusting for your next session, a brand that you can identify with, and a family you desire to become a member of. We’ll never be perfect, but we promise to continue to learn, grow, and evolve.
Thanks for joining us on this journey. Welcome to the family.
-The Degree 33 Team