Best Surf Shop Orange County 2010 - The Frog House
6908 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Since 1962, this dinky shop on the grubby (in a good way) far-west side of Newport Beach has been hawking surfboards, wetsuits and clothing. It was one of the first places anywhere to get a wetsuit after whoever invented wetsuits invented wetsuits. It's not unusual to be plowing though a row of suits to see if one from that first year is still hanging and hear, "Excuse me" from a dripping-wet, sand-encrusted surfer trying to get to the back, where the demo boards are stacked. Or maybe it's a staffer fresh from his break (a.k.a. "the break"). A thing about those staffers: They tend to leave you alone at first as you check out the impressive mix of new and pre-owned merchandise. But as soon as you need help, they are there like a Mountie. One recent shopping excursion produced a detailed history of the Australian-made board's origins. These dudes know their stick—whether they are assisting in-store, over the phone or on the Interwebs. The shop also repairs dings, broken fins and other board maladies. And you've gotta love the little mottoes posted daily on the marquee out front—even the ones nobody gets. It was unclear as this issue went to press how much longer we'll get to enjoy those mottoes; zoning changes dating back to the 1970s could force the Frog House to close, although its owners can apply for an extension.