November 12, 2009 | 2:19pm
As quickly as Costa Mesa's Black Hole Surf Shop hit the scene, it's gone again. Sometimes cool things happen suddenly, and then they vanish.
Behind the Orange Curtain, tracking underground culture can be a bit like gofer-bopping. Except the gofers are disappearing on their own, and you're guessing which dark hole their little heads will pop up in next.
On Aug. 28, the shop opened its doors for an opening reception the likes of which Newport Boulevard hasn't seen in a long time. With live shows by Japanese Motors and Gantez Warrior, cheap beer and all-around good vibes, the party drew a large crowd of people ranging from the Costa Mesa PD to grungy kids from the local scene.
Families came out for the event, as did pro surfers, neighbors, local artists and musicians.
The Black Hole was envisioned by owner/operator Tanner Prairie as "the anti-mainstream surf shop," a place where local kids and underground types could come in and hang out.
It was a place very different from local surf megastores like HSS and Surfside, unusual compared with the trendy stylings of The Lab. Tanner Prairie shaped boards there, and the store carried a limited line of products.
According to Prairie, the shaping business continued to be the most profitable element of the Black Hole's business. "The only thing that was really selling was my boards," he says. "I don't know, maybe we bit off more than we could chew. But I learned a lot doing it." He says he'll continue to focus on his shaping, making boards under his name without the added burden of running a shop.
If you drive by today, you'll see a half-stocked, unorganized place bustling on its way out of business, or maybe even an empty shell of a storefront where (few remember) some really cool kids used to hang out...