Hermosa Beach is where Greg Noll and Hap Jacobs first sold surfboards, and where Surfing magazine cofounder LeRoy Grannis snapped that iconic image of Dewey Weber’s cutback off 22nd Street with a 35mm Pentax. Hermosa Beach, some argue, is California’s true surf city. E.T. sits in the middle of the 1.4-mile beach town and is two stories of controlled chaos. It was opened in the early '70s by Eddie Talbot, a shaping protege of Noll. Today, the place lacks the modern flourishes of more mainstream surf outlets. But what E.T. Surf may lack in polish, it makes up for in authenticity. It's beloved by loyalists, most of whom have been picking up their surf and skate necessities since buying their first E.T. Ripstix as kids. Just being in E.T. Surf, with rows of skateboard decks hanging behind the cash registers and photos of local surfers posted on the walls, gives you a sense that you are in an important place in LA surf and skate history.
Surfing in Los Angeles often gets a bad rap—and sometimes for good reason, with all the crowds and pollution and celebrities on longboards (though we do have a few favorite surf movies). But those who know surfing know that our city is a cradle of surf culture, a place steeped in history and bound by tradition: From the points of Topanga and Malibu to the beaches of the South Bay, LA is where surf culture initially exploded, leaving in its wake a legacy that can still be found today. Part of this legacy is the neighborhood surf shop. Our favorite surf shops have seen fashion trends come and go, competitors rise and fall and surfing morph from a niche sport into a corporate-fueled, multibillion-dollar lifestyle industry with markets in nearly every shore-hugging country in the western world and beyond. And amidst this exportation of Southern California surf culture, our beloved surf shops are still here, creating stoke for a new generation of surfers, just as they did when they first opened their doors.