Onboard Proves There’s Still A Place For Bricks And Mortar
For people who like to pick it up and try it on.
The online retail enlightenment’s been to bricks and mortar what the industrial rev was to shire horses, but it hasn’t wiped it out entirely. Thankfully, surfing continues to be a bastion of the tangible experience. Located in the epicentres of the southern hemisphere surf culture – Bali, Byron, and the Northern Beaches of Sydney – the three Onboard stores offer everything the serious surfer needs, void of the superfluous. Boards, hardware, selected clothing and accessories fit for the region; it’s a one stop shop for those who know what they’re after. And, you can’t get a coffee there. Another small victory for those opposed to unnecessary cross-pollination.
The symmetrical delights of Onboard’s new Balinese establishment.
While “designing” your own custom via plugin is convenient and novel, making you feel like a tech-proficient millennial, with the selection of shapers on offer in store at Onboard, there’s no need. Refined flyers: Merrick, Simon Anderson, beautiful alt crafts: Christensen, Hayden Lewis, all the models in a diverse range of sizes and literate.
Shapes and silhouettes for all preferences.
The Bali store especially, is a revelation. Boarding a plane boardless, with nothing but a duffel full of trunks and wax (a la the Endless Summer), then scooping up a dream craft at the other end is a reality in this day and age. No matter how refined your airport game is, dragging surfboards along the tiles is an ugly biz. Furthermore, if you’ve been through the trauma of a quiver crisis in indo in the dark ages (say, 5 years ago) then you know that racks full of the Onboard house brands (AM, SA, HL etc) as well as the regular hi-fi faves, could be a trip saver. Once, stuck on the Island of the Gods about to ship out to an outer island for the 21st “swell of the season”, I was forced to search the mucky streets of Kuta for a backup to my Haydenshapes Canon single fin that’d already been snapped and repaired post altercation with the, ahem, Canggu shorebreak. Aka the most embarrassing way possible to break a surfboard in Indo short of driving your Honda into a manhole.
Sydneysider? Pay your toll, opt for the scenic route over the Harbour Bridge and swing by the Manly HQ.
The best I could come up with was a used 6’3 Struder(?), which was by far and away the ugliest surf craft I’ve owned (it had a FarKing tail pad). Luckily for me we got completely skunked, trapped by a mudslide in a plastic-ridden village on the “shithole” island for a week, and the Strudel remained unridden, by me. Still, I’d wager that if I’d picked up something altogether more aesthetically pleasing, that fortunes may well have been different. No matter how streamlined our lives become, when it comes to surfing, there’ll always be a place for picking it up and trying it on for size.
Pop the lid and take a seat, the legs will thank you after an extended period encircling the store, caressing all that glass.
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