I’ve known J.P. St. Pierre for nearly as long as his parents have. I recall him eating sand and dirtying his diaper while his parents, Sally and Peter, took turns cleaning him up before paddling out to ride Cardiff’s south peak.
What? That was more than 30 years ago? A few years later I remember the kid’s obsession with dinosaurs, fossils and “Star Wars.” He grew up to surf well and follow his father (known to the surfing world as Peter Pinline) into the business of building surfboards. Of course J.P.’s boards were always the latest Bonzers by Gary Hanel or one of the original “Bonzer Brothers,” Malcolm or Duncan Campbell, all shiny in the hottest, coolest colors. He always rode them well, quietly carrying on the family tradition of being subtly artful in and out of the lineup.
J.P. is good with words and has written some classic pieces, once using the name of Dead Gecko, then his own name as things got too hot for publication and finally in his Leucadia Blog, where he has fueled some controversial topics. I always thought he would be the next big thing in surf literature (one of my favorite oxymorons, as most of us would rather look at pretty pictures of the waves rather than read about them). He veered off instead into what many called a dying industry, eschewing the ever-popular pop-outs and building surfboards the old-fashioned way, by hand for the company his father had helped build one board at a time, Moonlight Glassing.
Stopping by Moonlight you would see J.P. working alongside his talented father, while his mother ran the place, everyone involved in the craft of putting out the best boards imaginable in a serious environment that prides itself in taking care of its employees, functioning above board, and turning out an honest, high-quality product without the usual surf shop hangovers.
About a year ago rumors began circulating of a new surf shop on Coast Highway, at site of the old Longboard Grotto. Hearing that J.P. owned the place, I was, of course, interested. The shop was to be called Surfy Surfy, a name that sounded a bit hodaddy at first, but grew on me as I associated it with real surfers.
I was sorry to miss the Surfy Surfy opening May 1, something that reportedly had the Coast Highway locked up for miles. I did, however, walk to Surfy Surfy with Carl Ekstrom, just in time to catch Destination Surf’s John Smith walk in, and, click, gain Facebook fame, along with old friends in an environment that reflects all that I ever felt about the best of my surfing experience, an experience made better because of J.P. St. Pierre and his family.
To see real surfboards and talk to those who make them, visit Surfy Surfy at 974 N. Coast Highway 101, Leucadia in the old Longboard Grotto building.
Filed Under: Sea Notes