We’re sure you’ve already seen it on TV, but here it is anyway…
Laguna Surf And Sport just might be America’s most famous surf shop. But it’s not for the obvious reasons. It’s not for its 23 years of hardcore tradition, serving every stoked Laguna bro from Mike Armstrong to Jeff Booth to Brandy Faber to Hans Hagen to Mikey Todd. It’s not for its deep selection of top-notch sticks, from Merricks to Pattersons to Xanadus. It’s not even because they can tell you how Brooks Street is firing on any given day. No, Laguna Surf And Sport is the world’s most famous shop due to one, teenage employee who worked there a couple of years ago. His name? Stephen.
Yes, that Stephen.
Sorry, Stephen died. HAHA! Just kidding!
There was a problem, though; the show was filmed the year before it aired. By the time the world had heard of Laguna Surf And Sport, Stephen had long since graduated and moved on. But the calls never stopped. It’s been abating lately. Now it only averages 20 per day. In the hour we’re there, five people call, all asking for Stephen.
The employees are sick of it. All day they put up with tourists from land-locked states asking about Stephen. “What was he like, what happened between him and JC?” “It’s bullshit,” they tell me. “This store has nothing to do with that.”
They point out the light boxes on the wall. “Everybody up there came from Laguna Beach: Boothy is up there, he was number four in the world at one point, and this was his shop.” The people from Idaho don’t care though, they don’t know Pat O’Connell, nor do they know Hans Hagen, Jon Rose or any of the other surfing careers this place shaped in its 23-year history.
They only know Stephen. And that’s why they come calling.