What It’s Really Like Inside the North Shore’s Exclusive Volcom Surf House

Longhaired young surfers? Striking, sun-bronzed girls? Maybe a yard littered with red Solo cups? Think again. As surfing evolves into a multibillion-dollar industry, the legendary North Shore surf houses are changing to fit the times.


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This story was originally published in the December 2014 issue of HONOLULU Magazine. 

When the waves are hitting, there are two ways to watch: in the crowd on the beach, or from the lānai of an exclusive surf house. Writer Amanda Whiting got to do the latter (center of photo below).
Photos: Courtesy of Volcom

 

Last year, at the height of surf season, we sent writer Amanda Whiting into one of the most exclusive spots on O‘ahu’s North Shore: the Volcom surf house. The place is the stuff of legends, and we wanted an inside look to find out if all the stories were true. Here’s what Amanda found out.

 

 

Seven years ago, the apparel company Volcom purchased one of the most famous properties on the North Shore, a three-story house with a long history, at least in the annals of surfing. The company has multiple uses for the 3,000-square-foot home. On the evening I arrive, it’s serving as headquarters for Volcom’s team riders, the athletes paid to surf Banzai Pipeline in Volcom board shorts for as long as the winter swell lasts. There are at least 25 people milling in the backyard, 50 eyes focused on the waves in the distance. It’s growing dark, but the lineup is still packed.

 

I shake various hands in the shadow of the Volcom Stone, a 5-foot-tall plywood-and-paint rendition of the brand’s logo that was hung from the first floor lānai on move-in day. It’s a crush of hellos, all men, all wearing identical camo-printed Volcom truckers. “We need a hat,” someone calls, and pink promotional hats instantly appear. That someone turns out to be Dave Riddle, the Volcom team’s Hawai‘i adviser. Everything Volcom on O‘ahu runs through Riddle. “You’re gonna be nice to us, right?” he asks, laughing.

 

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