Surf history often treads a fine line between fact, fiction, and fable. None of the stories may be more monumental, or well documented, than the early days on the North Shore of Oahu. Greg Noll and a small group of other surfing pioneers spent a few fleeting years basking in this remote paradise, living simply and experimenting with the art of big wave riding.
Visiting Noll Surfboards in San Clemente presents an unusual opportunity to touch history first hand, while catching a glimpse into the future of surfboard design that is being shaped by the next wave of the Noll Ohana (Hawaiian for “family”).
Boards used by Greg while living on the North Shore hang lazily from the rafters- as if patiently awaiting the next session of pumping winter surf- while the diverse mix of classic foam shapes, super-rare fine-wood recreations, and high-performance long and short boards that are currently being perfected by Greg Noll’s son Jed, himself a renowned shaper, line the walls of the shaping bays, gallery and shop.
The Noll Surboards sign is a welcoming sight in sunny Orange County.
Upon arrival we were met by Jed Noll (left) and Steve Thomas, as well as the rest of the Noll Surfboards team.
Note: Miki Dora’s trunks, stolen by Greg on the North Shore, hang on the wall behind the guys… history is everywhere in this shop.
This is where the magic happens. Shaping Bay #1.
“It takes 600 nails to piece this classic wooden paddle board together.” –Jed Noll
An unfinished balsa/redwood/koa masterpiece in the making.
Each of these one-of-a-kind Noll longboards is modeled after a different print from a series of board colors sketched by Laura Noll during the ’60s.
Jed explaining the evolution of the surfboard.
Steve tells tales as Gordon ponders the beauties at hand. Miki Dora– Da Cat, prowls overhead.
Greg Noll was the first shop-owner in the world to sell skateboards. Element’s line of throwback decks and trucks pay homage.
The Pipeline Board. Da Bull meets third reef.
Our day with Jed and his team was thoroughly fascinating. The team’s humble and passionate approach to every aspect of their craft made even the most minuscule detail a thing of awe. We look forward to watching the Noll Ohana continue to grow and inspire, and hope to work alongside them in the near future.