Stab Magazine | Onboard Proves There’s Still A Place For Bricks And Mortar

Season finale of How Surfers Get Paid drops Thursday, 5pm PT


Onboard Proves There’s Still A Place For Bricks And Mortar

For people who like to pick it up and try it on.

hardware // Feb 21, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

1710 Onboard 0036

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.

1710 Onboard 0011

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.

On board manly

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.

ChannelIslandsShop 15 03 16 davidtaylorphotographer 79

Pop the lid and take a seat, the legs will thank you after an extended period encircling the store, caressing all that glass.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Take Stab’s 2023 Audience Survey, Win A 3-Board Quiver

Stab towels and Premium subscriptions also up or grabs.

Mar 21, 2023

Jessi Miley Dyer On The New Challenger Series Schedule And More

Did you know that you could miss the mid-year cut and still theoretically win the…

Mar 20, 2023


“I’m A West Oz Bogan For Sure, I Just Don’t Have The Mullet”

The first SEOTY entry of 2023 is ‘Into Dust’ ft. Jacob Willcox.

Mar 20, 2023

Warren Smith on New Welcome Rivers Range and Buying Jaguars on Facebook Marketplace  

Now available in the Antipodes...

Mar 20, 2023


Wavegarden Spills How The Sausage Is Made

BTS of their global air wave rollout ft. Yago Dora, Dion Agius, Reef Heazlewood and…

Mar 18, 2023

Minds, Machines, And The Magic Of Hands

How modern shapers split their time between designing files and hand-finishing boards.

Mar 18, 2023


Are Hectic Lefts The Final Finless Frontier?

William Aliotti is on the right-foot-forward fringes.

Mar 17, 2023

Watch: Luke + Eddie

A mostly unknown, on-duty lifeguard won the most prestigious big-wave event in history. How Luke…

Mar 17, 2023


A Pipe Master, Ryan Burch, And Some Pickle Forks On The Eastern Seaboard

This one ticks a lot of boxes

Mar 16, 2023

Brazil Has A Talent Problem

And three other things we learned from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Mar 16, 2023


Mick Fanning On A Unicorn, Bags Of Dicks, And A Shocking Script Read By Surfing’s Biggest Stars

Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet on their outrageous film, 'The Greatest Surf Movie In The…

Mar 15, 2023

Italo Ferreira Caught 63 Waves In An Hour

And other stats from our Stab in the Dark production.

Mar 15, 2023


Can A Freesurfer Go The Other Way? A Dakoda Walters Case Study

The 57-kilo Aussie has taken a Stab High approach to trad contest surfing.

Mar 15, 2023

Caity Simmers And João Chianca Fulfill Respective Prophecies Under Gaze Of Portuguese President

A very good day of competitive surfing.

Mar 14, 2023

Kelly And Steph Are In Trouble

What's a GOAT gotta do to make the cut around here?

Mar 14, 2023


“I Used To Only Surf Here With One Guy…His Name’s Henry, And He’s A Seal”

A contemplation on the frigid desolation of Iceland.

Mar 14, 2023

World #1 Carissa Moore Vanquished By Front Pad Toting Wildcard, Lucky Few Get Supertubed

‘Go hard or go home, innit’ 

Mar 13, 2023

Hungover Hold-Downs, Patent Feuds, And One-In-A-Million Malfunctions Involving 11x World Champs: The Story Of Surfing’s Inflatable Vests

These things changed the game.

Mar 13, 2023