Month: October 2012

There’s a Storm a Brewing

Is it weird that I could sit and watch the weather channel all day? I have a feeling that I’m not the only weather nut on this planet. After all, they have a television channel dedicated to it, and the app is constantly running on my phone. The weather is one thing that as humans, we all have to deal with on a daily basis. Luckily, I work in an industry that helps protect people from the elements, and is some cases, lets them take advantage of inclement weather.

I’m writing this blog, and at the same time tracking Hurricane Sandy. It’s probably one of the last hurricanes that we will see this season here on the east coast. But this is absolutely no reason to take her lightly. This mama is BIG, and shes already got an attitude. east coast dwellers from Florida to Cape Cod are strong advised to watch this storm, as it could bring detrimental effects to all of us, depending on when it decides to hook into shore. As a surfer, I pray that the storm hooks out into the ocean around Ocean City Maryland. This would provide the southern hurricane swell that the Jersey beaches love to take on the chin. Big, clean periodic sets without all the messy wind, rain and destruction that we’ve come to know so well here in NJ. Different forecasts show the storm taking a few classic patterns, one of which includes slamming directly into us as a category 4 out of 5. Hurricane Katrina was a category 4 Hurricane.

When gearing up for storm swell, there are a few different things to consider. First off, the huge amounts of cold deep ocean water will be pushed out from the Atlantic and strait to shore, so it’s imperative that you’ve got a suit that can handle the sharp decrease in temperature. I recommend the Psycho 1 Zen 4/3mm Mens Wetsuit. The thick techno butter neoprene will keep you warm for an extended stay out in the water, while never constricting your muscle movement. The liquid taped seams won’t leak, and you’ll be able to last longer out there than most of the other guys. Next, you’ll need a board that can paddle through the crap if the wind makes it messy, but can also lock in on possible barrel rides if the swell cleans up. Yes, we get barreled here in NJ. Deal with it. I’d grab Kolohe Andino’s board, the Mini Driver by Lost. Short and stubby yet super quick down the line, this board got him through some massive surf in Indo, and would work just the same on some east coast bombs. Finally, we have to remember that it is almost November, and the temp is dropping every day. Be prepared for the harsh wind and rain with a Patagonia Torrent Shell. This jacket changed the game when it was released into the market almost ten years ago, and has been crushing it ever since. Amazingly lightweight with 100% wind blockage, AND its DWR coated, so you wont be getting wet when you’re simultaneously being blasted by sideways rain.

So yes, you can say that I am frothing at the mouth for what kind of surf that this storm could bring. Lets all hope that it hooks out to sea, so I don’t have to board up the windows of my shop again. Either way, people may think that only the summer is for surfing on the east coast. But no, no, no…. the FALL is when hurricanes hit, and the fall is when the locals have their fun.

Quality is the Name…

Quality is the Name of the Game

Looking in the mirror today, I can see the last hints of what used to be a very apparent sun glass tan. I try to bring my Oakleys with me everywhere I go, and it has kind of become my “look.” I don’t wear them for the brand popularity, or for the insanely talented surfing team that Oakley has assembled. I wear them because I understand the hand made frame technology behind them. I wear them for the ridiculously tough materials that withstand my daily carelessness. And I wear them because they have the best lens in the game, hands down. After years of switching from Flak Jackets to Half Jackets, and then to the Five squared……I have finally landed on the Holbrook. The pair that I own are polarized, with a grey lens and a matte black finish. I like that the lenses are coated in a layer of iridium, making it impossible to see my eyes through them. All told, they’ve got a throwback style, reminiscent of the big wave surfers of the North Shore and Mavericks, but at the same time they provide updated technologies that protect me from the sun’s rays.

I apologize if this came across as a plug for the Oakley brand. It was not. Recently I was asked which sunglasses I wear and why, and wanted to answer the question in the easiest way possible. Here at Kona we carry a ton of popular brands, each of which have their own positive qualities. I try to cover all of my bases when buying sunglasses for the shop, making sure we’ve got everything from the $10 “weekend warrior” shades up to the pristine and often imitated Oakley M Frames. We now carry youth-sized frames for the tiny groms, and whole display cases of female specific shades and accessories!

A follow up question that I usually answer a few times a year is: “But why would I spend all that money on a pair in the glass case when I can just get one of these pairs for ten bucks??” Well sir, you are logical in your thought process. You can easily purchase the pair in your hands with the sprayed on polarization. Although flimsy and machine made, they will get the job done if you are just looking for something to wear on the boardwalk for your vacation. But if you are serious about protecting your eyes and care about quality, you’re going to have to look somewhere else in the shop.

We offer stylish top-quality hand made acetate frames by Raen, and Ray-Ban. We’ve got water sport specific styles by Costa Del Mar and Maui Jim. We’ve EVEN got the best snow goggles in the game, by Dragon Alliance and Electric Visual! With an ozone layer that is depleting every day, we should never leave our houses without sunscreen and UV eye wear protection. Take some time to check out the huge selection on today! And if you have any questions, please feel free to shoot them my way, as well.

Snow Biz

They say that there’s no business like snow business. Even in our little slice of paradise here in southern New Jersey, we get dumped on if there’s a good storm. Two winters ago showed us record amounts of snow here on the east coast. Our small beach town wasn’t ready for the 20+ inches of snow that we received every week, and lots of our local businesses just closed up shop. On a positive note, the large amounts of snow equals dollar signs for some of my suppliers, as everyone and their mother rushes out to their local shops to pick up North Face Jackets, Volcom Snow Pants, and other assorted gloves, boots and beanies. We too try to carry all of the latest styles and whatnot when it comes to the snowboarding culture. What was once just a surf shop has turned into a year round Mecca for all sorts of surf, skate and now SNOW apparel and accessories. Kona Sports. We got it all.

Last winter was one of the warmest on record for the United States, and this was detrimental in a few ways. Large companies that depend on the cold weather suffered a great deal, with vendors calling up and canceling orders left and right. Without the cold weather, and very little snow, there was no need for all of the heavy clothing and accessories. I attended the EWSRA Snow show last January, and it was a somber experience. I got to speak to my Go Pro camera representative, and he told me that there are a ton of businesses that depend on the freezing of the Great Lakes. These lakes did not freeze last year. This meant that snowmobiling businesses, ice fishing businesses, and even generic ski shops never got the normal amount of income needed to thrive through the winter. Many of these locations had to close because of the warm weather. Its a shame, but a factor that we seasonal shops ALL have to deal with.

In the end, all we can do is hope for clear skies, warm water and good surf. Mother nature can be a cruel temptress sometimes, and there really isn’t anything that we can do about it. Rolling with the punches is something that Kona Sports has excelled at, and that is why we are going into our 43rd year of business. Hopefully we see some snow this year, along with sunshine. Check for the all the newest snow apparel and accessories from brands like Roxy, Billabong and Patagonia!

To Infinity and Beyond

Yesterday was a groundbreaking day for the action sports world, and mankind itself.
Felix Baumgartner became the first man ever to break the sound barrier, AND consecutively break the world record for longest free fall. This daring pioneer piloted a helium filled balloon 128,100 feet (24 miles) into the air, effectively putting him on the literal “edge” of space. This extreme feat put him well into the stratosphere of Earth, where he had to wear a NASA issued space suit just to stay alive. The insane drop took him 4 and a half death defying minutes, in which the wind pushed and pulled his body as he struggled to stay on course. After opening his parachute, he floated effortlessly back to Earth, even stylishly landing on 2 feet to the roar of a worldwide audience. Felix, you have done something that defined a generation, and for that, we thank you.

Red Bull has always been known to push the limits of what we consider, “humanly possible.” What started as a small energy drink company quickly rose in popularity to become the economic and social powerhouse that we know today. After a year or so of gimmicky commercials featuring cartoons and such, they changed their marketing campaign to feature some of the world’s top athletes. Now this may come with a bit of confusion, as we look at the comparison between the athletes themselves and the overpriced sugary soft drink.

Athletes like Jordy Smith and Travis Rice are proudly sponsored by Red Bull. What was once thought of as a quick 7-11 source of energy has now become the worldwide symbol of pushing the limits. I personally find their campaign of pushing the envelope to be a great source of inspiration for the athletes of my generation. BUT, I’m jaded when it comes to the drink itself. It’s almost like Red Bull wants you to look the other way, and focus on their athlete’s accomplishments, as opposed to the overpriced 10 oz. can of sugar and Taurine. There’s just no way in my opinion that these finely tuned human specimens drink Red Bull on a daily basis, if at all. It has very little nutritional value, and is actually very bad for your heart in the long run. Travis Rice has made it widely known that he works with trainers every day, and tries to eat healthy. Jordy Smith, who is also sponsored by O’neill, practices yoga every day and wins surf competitions to prove his hard work and determination. There’s no room for the sugars and empty carbs in their hectic lives. THAT is my little health rant, for which I apologize.

All told, Red Bull has dedicated the last 5 years of their marketing campaign to raising the bar in the action sports world. Without them we wouldn’t have half of the amazing accomplishments that have happened in the last 5 years. World record shattering leaps like Felix’s are now commonplace for the company. And WE NEED teams and organizations like these to keep progress alive in our sports like surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and now even skydiving. So cheers to you Felix, and also to you Red Bull. May you keep blowing our minds with insane stunts, death defying jumps, and astronomical feats. Like it or not, this is now the world of Red Bull.

Energy of Mother Ocean

The Raw Energy of Mother Ocean

While I was watching the news last night, I caught the trailer for Chasing Mavericks. This is the new movie coming out in theaters that highlights the time in Jay Moriarty’s life when he first surfed one of the most famous waves on the planet. For those that don’t know, Mavericks is a wave off the coast of Santa Cruz, in Half Moon Bay. This phantom right-hand breaks off one of the cliffs a few hundred yards out. The wind is howling, the air is freezing, the water temp is creeping into the 40s, and there are school bus sized Great White sharks lurking jut below the water’s surface. Why someone would actively put themselves into this kind of scenario? Well you’ve got to ride one of these giants to really understand the rush that comes with big wave surfing.

This movie is releasing at a great time in the surfing world, as big wave season is now upon us! Places like Waimea, Sunset Beach and North Shore Oahu are all experiencing much larger than average surf due to the typhoons off the coast of Asia and the Hawaiian Islands. These storms push giant walls of water towards the islands, giving us these daily jaw dropping spectacles of mother nature’s true power. Recently, Billabong Pro Shane Dorian took to the break known as Jaws, and paddled into a 25 foot monster, barely escaping with his board, let alone his life. You can watch the epic ride and read more about it Here.

So what drives a person like Shane to want to endanger themselves like this? Multiple reasons, one of the biggest being respect. The Hawaiian surf culture is one of the oldest and most tradition driven cultures on the planet. They believe in respecting the local population, and the ocean itself. At the same time, the local hierarchy is dictated largely by word of mouth. Word travels fast on these islands, and a big wave story like Shane’s would travel like wildfire. His death defying act earns him a little more respect from his peers, and I feel for one that it is well deserved.

Be sure to keep a close watch on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds in the coming weeks. We, along with Billabong will be posting daily videos, photos and whatever big wave media that we can get our hands on. We’ve only got a short season when it comes to these giants, and every single wave counts. Also check our site regularly for discounts, deals and free giveaways!

Versatility in Changing World

Versatility In an Ever Changing World

Happy October everyone. I hope this blog finds you well, in what is almost the holiday season. Pumpkins now adorn the front porches of my neighbor’s houses, and I’ve traded in my beat up Rip Curl walk shorts for a pair of Quiksilver jeans. I like these jeans because they have Quiksilver’s “Cool-max” technology incorporated into the denim. This makes them super light and stretchy, while still tough and durable, as jeans should be. The pair that I am wearing is designed specifically for skateboarding. it’s a fantastic idea, right? I mean, some of these skate pros are just as much athletes as the guys playing field sports. Launching themselves down ledges and stair sets, sweating for hours on end just trying to nail that landing, and all while looking good for the videos. I know it sounds cliche, but I can remember the days when a pair of jeans was just denim, yarn, rivets, pockets and cuffs. In today’s day and age, these apparel companies need to stay on their toes, always looking for new ideas and ways to rethink and reinvent their products to keep up with trends.

As I walk around the shop, I see more and more surf products that span a plethora of different genres, trying to breathe new life into board shorts and rash guards that we have come to take for granted. Nike now weaves their patented fly-wire technology into board shorts, making them more lightweight and stretchy than ever. This technology was taken from their football gear! It makes total sense to do this, as both the football player and the surf pro are stretching and contorting muscles in ways that not many of us can. Utilizing the fly-wire to help take their performance to the next level is a great example of Nike taking one sports genre, and translating it into another.

It is ideas like this that drive the action sports industry. Constantly reinventing yourself is something that can never get old. Another example of this, is the Rusty wired rash guard.
The thought process behind this is simple. We just want some tunes while were out in the lineup, waiting for the next set! This idea also translates well to the Stand Up Paddle world. Lengthy trips on a SUP board can b the most fun in the world, if the conditions are right. This is why Rusty made a lightweight, SPF coated long sleeve rash guard that repels water, reflects the UV rays, AND has a waterproof pocket for your mp3 player or Iphone. Now you can paddle all day with your favorite recording artist to keep you company.

So in conclusion, I just want to say that I am constantly blown away by what the designers are doing behind some of our top surf lines. Taking a hardcore, deep jungle surf trip has never been easier thanks to companies like Dakine, Reef and Patagonia. SO feel free to shop the site and see what I am talking about. No longer is it commonplace to buy just a pair of board shorts. No, we in the surf world want you to have confidence in the technology of your purchase, and we want you to use it.

Listening to the Vibrations

In life, there exists a rhythm that we all can hear, when in the right mind set. For surfers, getting in tune with this natural rhythm comes easily. All we have to do is focus on what we love. WAVES. This natural progression of the tide, the ebb and flow of the currents, the lunar cycles of the moon, all play a part in the soundtrack that we call LIFE.

For some, it can be difficult to relax and find this natural rhythm that the ocean provides so generously. And for that, we look to technology. Products like the House of Marley Trenchtown Rock make it much easier that it usually might be to truly focus on what we feel is important. Throughout my youth, music has played a huge part in who I am, and what I have become. These days, its easier than ever to find new music that speaks to us, which we can then download at the click of a button. This is all well and good, provided that you have the proper vessel for listening to this music. It can be overwhelming when trying to chose the proper pair of headphones to buy in this day and age. There are so many choices, that one can get lost without even scratching the surface. Luckily, I’ve got a few pointers that will hopefully help you narrow the selection down to what really matters.

1. FIT. the proper fit is absolutely necessary when choosing something that will be on your ears for extended periods of time. On-ear headphones should fit snugly on your head, and cup your ears with a moderate amount of pressure. This ensures a secure fit, which in turn helps cancel out noise from the outside. the Skullcandy Aviators are my go-to for long flights, or just relaxing on my deck.

2. SOUND. This should be obvious, right? These days, there is a ton of companies that are jumping on this headphone craze, and some are clearly doing it just to ride the wave of popularity. Be wary of a brightly colored, ill-packaged product that still might be high in price. Some companies are cranking out shoddy products that may LOOK flashy, but in reality sound less than favorable. If you’re serious about purchasing a quality product with good style, I recommend the SOL Republic Tracks HD. These babies thump with rich bass, but also have a modern style that is functional AND aesthetically pleasing. Out of all of the headphones that we carry, I feel that these have the best sound quality for the price.

3. PRICE. Finally, you want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. For some, a $300 pair of headphones just does not fit in to the budget. This is completely understandable, and most headphone companies have a less expensive option that still covers all of your bases. At $70, the Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 headphones Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 still packs a certified punch, but won’t completely empty your bank account.

All told, there is a lot of other aspects that go into purchasing a pair of headphones. I have just provided a few simple tips to hopefully ease your buying experience. Be sure to check out the rest of the selection that we have to offer at You can get any product mentioned here with fast free shipping if you act now!

The Soundtrack of Our Youth

Sol Republic

The Soundtrack of Our Youth

I’ve almost always got some kind of background noise in my life. As I’m typing this, it is quite loud in my office, as the UPS driver is doing one of his daily pickups for I give the man credit. He’s got his work cut out for him, lugging 75 packages out the door, and doing so twice a day, 5 times a week. Its sounds like this that I have become familiar with, and therefore find comfort in. The same can be said for some of my favorite bands, singers and songwriters. Aside from the normal hustle and bustle of the shop, I almost always have my iTunes or Pandora playing something mellow in the background. To be honest, I tend to struggle in situations with complete silence. I by no means am a quiet person, and I tend to find comfort in more vibrant, stimulating scenarios.

With that being said, I have taken my buying plan into a different direction than some of my fellow surf shops, trying to focus more on the electronics that go hand in hand with the industry. These days, any professional action sports athlete has a footwear sponsor, an apparel sponsor, an most recently, a headphone sponsor. I will admit that I am jealous of these up and coming pros, who can be seen in ads and at contests proudly wearing their headphones for the world to see. This would definitely not be the case, were it 5 years in the past. Now you might say to yourself, “buy why would a pro surfer have a sponsorship from a headphone company?” Well, an obvious answer to that would be brand identity. Skullcandy wants their product to be associated with the up and coming youth of this generation, and a great way to do that, is to throw a pair of the new Skullcandy Aviators on Kolohe Andino. This way, as the kid is crushing heats and being carried like a champ out of the water, he can receive his over sized check while wearing a piece of very noticeable Skullcandy product.

The headphone craze has deeper roots than just sponsorship when it comes to action sports. Music ties into the sports of surfing and skateboarding almost as much as the athletes themselves. I would consider music to be one of the most important aspects of both of these sports, and they would not be at the popularity levels that they are, without the music driving them. Surfing videos have a foundation built upon good, thought out soundtracks. It would be tough to get as amped as usual after watching a skate video, if it was set to some sort of Beethoven classical type stuff.

Trust me. Without music, we as surfers would not be where we are now. I have personally witnessed Mick Fanning walk out onto the beach and begin his exercises well before the sun has risen. He does all of this with his headphones on, and never once takes them off. The music really does bring us to a mental state of focus, that can then help us reach levels of athleticism that we never knew possible.

Recently, we’ve acquired a few new headphone brands, some of whom are really blowing us away. If you get the chance, stop into our shop and give the SOL Republic Tracks a listen. We’ve got the display set up so you can plug your phone or mp3 player right into it, and listen to your favorite song on their top notch product. The tracks are super durable, too. I recently left my pair in the back of my friend’s Ford Ranger for 2 weeks. He plays in a band, and at the time, had no idea that my headphones were at the bottom of the truck bed. He said he threw everything from surfboards to giant guitar amps back there, without any sort of caution at all. When I finally found my pair, I just wiped the dust off and plugged them in, and they sounded as good as the day that I bought them. I highly recommend these to anyone who might treat their toys a little rougher than others.

Later this week I am going to highlight a few more aspects of this hugely popular accessory category, and hopefully persuade a few of us to get back into the groove that we know and love. the music is still out there, and with some of these products, boy it has never sounded better! Check out for a huge selection of headphones and headphone accessories today!