Thalia Surf Shop is a family-run business. Can you give us some insight on how it started and what your vision for the shop is?
Jim Cocores, Nick’s father, started Thalia Street Surf Shop so Nick grew up working at the shop and learning the trade. When the time came in 2001, Nick took the reins and began Thalia Surf Shop a few doors down, but on the same street corner. An art gallery opened next door soon after, making opportunities to host for Laguna’s art walk and to bring the community together around the shop. In 2010, Thalia Surf teamed up with Vans and began one of the only few partnership stores that is still going today. The vision of the shop has always been to create a classic but modern surf experience.
Thalia focuses on smaller, niche brands rather than the bigger ones. When did this get started and how has it made you stand out from other surf shops?
The smaller niche brands are what we care about. These are the brands that focus on the quality of the product they are making, rather than the quantity and mass production. They are also usually working with unique artists that bring charisma to the shop when the product hits our shelves.
We have always had this mindset when creating new products for the Thalia Surf label as well: Bringing in local artists, a local screen printer and manufacturers to pass along a true California-made product with a story.
” The vision of the shop has always been to create a classic but modern surf experience. “
You have some unique surfboards in your shop, including tons of locally shaped boards. What are the driving factors in choosing what shapes you carry?
There are so many great local shapers that have passed through our shop. Thankfully, they are aware of the history of surfboard building, where it began, and where it can go. We have many vintage boards hanging from the ceiling of the shop from Jim Cocores’ collection to keep us inspired. All the new boards that come in each month reflect the shaper who made them, and the history lessons they have learned along the way.
The surfboards we carry are models shaped and tested by the shapers who make them before we order versions of their crafts. We dig the shapes of the 60s, 70s, 80s and lean towards single fin or twin fin boards whenever we can. The driving factors in how we choose what shapes to carry has to do with whatever trip each shaper is on at the time, and the shapes they are making for the specific waves in each season.
You originally began screen printing your own shirts but then eventually partnered with Forward Screen Printing (FSP) for all your printing needs. Why is it so important to you to keep your screen printing local and close to home?
It always made sense to do it ourselves, the DIY spirit. Sean at FSP and Nick have been close friends since the beginning, and that was the next step in the growing process as a company. Expanding production to FSP helped Nick and the crew at the shop focus on other aspects of the company, in order to further tell the story of a local surf shop in Laguna Beach.
” The smaller niche brands are what we care about. These are the brands that focus on the quality of the product they are making, rather than the quantity and mass production. “
What’s the best thing about owning and running a surf shop?
The friendly and inspiring community, the everchanging interesting and totally cool staff, just being a block from the beach, and getting to chat about surfing all day.
When is the best time of the year to visit and surf Laguna Beach and the surrounding beaches?
Just before spring and just after summer. That’s when the crowds thin out, things calm down, and the weather is still heaven. If there is any swell, a medium tide is best for behind the shop out on Thalia Street Beach.
What drew you to offering MANERA products in your shop?
We were looking for a quality wetsuit to sell year-round. We read about the 3-D pattern making of the suits and just had to check it out!
Can you tell us what your favorite MANERA product has been?
The Seafarer 3.2mm is ideal for California water and can essentially be worn year-round here, whether it’s a cold morning in the summer, or a nice warm day in the winter. It’s a very useful wetsuit. I also heard the hoods and gloves are rad too!