Author: Mike

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!

Getting the Word Out


Getting the Word Out

As I was stopping by my local convenience store for coffee this morning, the amount of people purchasing newspapers really got me thinking. We STILL wait in a line of people to pay money for the day’s news in print. Don’t get me wrong…..I’m A-OK with this, as for most people it is a daily habit. Grabbing a coffee and the paper is a great way to get your day started here by the Atlantic Ocean. But for some of us, we’ve moved on to other methods for getting our news and general information.

I know people that still wait until the 5 o clock news to find out what the weather is going to be like in the next 3 days. Again, if this is your normal routine, then so be it. But with all of the modern technology at our finger tips, it was never easier to open up the weather app on your smart phone to check the forecast. I do this every morning on my iPad! I also use it to read stocks, world news, sports scores, and read everything else that someone looking to buy a newspaper would be looking for. It updates itself at midnight every night, giving me fresh material to thumb through while I’m doing my morning routines. This technological advancement has done wonders for the surf industry, and modern society alike.

This week I will be looking into placing ads for our upcoming winter and Christmas sales. It is never too early to get these ads started, as October and November are right around the corner. The surf companies that I deal with make it easy for me to advertise the sales that I am running on their products, so that we both win in the end. Recently, I “went halves” on an ad with UGG Australia that will be running in print and online in the Atlantic City Press. Every week, you can read the Press (either in print or on your digital device) and you will see a professionally made graphic telling you which are the newest styles and the best deals at Kona Sports on UGG Australia products. I plan on taking advantage of the same opportunities with high profile companies like Nixon and Oakley. Ideas like this are what drive the surf retail market, and global retail in general.

I feel that buying advertisement space on a local radio station, or local newspaper is slowly turning to a more global approach to marketing. With a website like ours, its easy to project our online retail site into the public eye, on sites like Pandora, The Huffington Post, and Surfline. These are the “new local radio stations and local newspapers,” for members of a more digitally driven generation. Sites like this make it easier than ever to get exactly what you want, with much less effort. With that being said, we are also working on an iPhone/iPad theme here for our site. This will make it a snap to shop and purchase everything that has to offer all from your mobile device! Be sure to sign up for our mailing list, enabling you to get the jump on special deals that we will be running before everybody else!

UGG Australia 10+ Years

UGG Australia Boots

As we head into the cooler autumn months, our foot traffic business begins to slow here at Kona Sports. We all take a collective sigh of relaxation, knowing that the busy season is now behind us. The sounds of summer here by the boardwalk in NJ begin to fade, and we start to get used to the silence that is winter-time in a mid Atlantic beach town. From a selling perspective, the majority of our footwear sales changes dramatically from sandals to close-toed shoes like sneakers and boots.

As I’m sitting at my desk at the shop, I can hear some of my sales associates unpacking one of our most recent Ugg Australia footwear orders. This is a familiar sound, being that we have been selling Uggs for well over 10 years now, and the brand is a staple part of our winter footwear sales. I am happy to report that we have a loyal customer base when it comes to Uggs, and people know that we carry all the newest colors, styles and trends that the company has to offer. We’re also not afraid to go DEEP into ladies and youth sizes, making sure that each and every customer gets the size that they need, no matter what month of the year it is.

The Ugg company got their start on the sandy beaches ofAustralia. The designers brought a product to the market that was completely new at the time. A hand-stitched sheepskin suede boot with a thick fleece lining that retained heat better than any other footwear available at the time. The style became instantly popular with the Australian surfers, who could put these on strait out of the water and stay warm and comfortable on some of those chilly mornings.

Over time, the Ugg Classic Short Boot became a recognized style, and grew a fan base that has now swept all over the globe. You now see everyone from surfers to celebrities wearing their UGG boots with pride. But as we know, this style does come with a price. Recently, the company made the decision to lower their prices back to the fall 2011-2012 threshold. This means that popular styles dropped ten to fifteen American dollars in price, while still offering the same durability and design that we have all come to know and love.

All told, I see this winter being another strong season for Ugg Australiaand Kona Sports. We’ve got shipments coming in every 2 weeks from now until Christmas. We will be stocking your favorites and old stand-byes, while also offering some of the newer more fashion forward styles like the Classic Short Sparkle, the Classic Mini, and the Opaline.

Check out the site every week to see what’s new in the world of Ugg Australia, and to see all of the new surf, snow and skate gear that Kona Sports has to offer!

Surf Expo 2012

Surf Expo 2012

Recovering from the Surf Expo

September came too quickly again this year and ended the most exciting time of year at the Jersey Shore. As usual all the “Shoobies” reluctantly packed up their boards and the kids left for school, the Kona Sports Team didn’t let the end of summer blues get them down. Recharged for the upcoming fall season, Kona packed up their bags and headed to the Orlando, Florida for the September 2012 SURF EXPO at the Orlando Convention Center.

Although the humidity was thick as usual in the Orlando air, the mood was light and fun for the Kona Crew who were all pumped for a few days of real SURF TALK and nights of SURF parties. We hit the ground running with a lot of new products and people to see.

Since only the surf industry can attend the SURF EXPO bi-annually, we are stoked to report some of the HOT styles and trends that we were privileged to see and what we are excited to bring back as new arrivals with us! As for the highlights of what and who we go to see, we are happy to sum it up for you!

Our Quiksilver appointment was both educational and eye opening. We discussed the direction in which the surf industry is heading, which surprisingly is gearing more towards the technological aspects, and less about keeping up with the current fashion trends.

Freestyle let us take a sneak peak at their spring 2013 line, combining cutting edge technology, and timeless durability with up to the minute bright colors and styles. Freestyle is taking the initiative here and putting a free custom tide watch on every surfer competing in the Hurley Pro which is underway in California right now!

What did Arnette have to say at the Expo? Arnette is trending back to the sunglass styles that were popular 20 years ago and re-releasing old styles for a new generation of groms that are stoked on surfing and its roots.

What new brands are we pursuing? You might see House of Marley, Lifeproof electronics cases and G-Shock just to name a few brands coming to soon!

We ran into a lot of people at the EXPO, but some names you may know, such as Laird Hamilton, Corey Lopez, CJ Hobgood, and the RVCA V.P. of Sales, Eric Thomas!

Laird promoted his new Stand-up PaddleBoard line and YES…we loved it and one of the Kona team leaders was so impressed, he is buying his own to bring home to Wildwood soon too!

We also scoped out some cool moves too at the show. A great ping pong tournament, lots of Paddle Boards along with some girls showing off some insane Yoga moves on their boards, and some cool skateboarding tricks too!

Where did we go after the EXPO? Well most of the Surf Industry will tell you, “What happens in Orlando stays in Orlando.” We can leek a little of the behind the scenes fun though or else it just wouldn’t be fair! Friday night, September 7th, the Surf Expo sponsored the Industry Party with Sanuk at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon which was an awesome party with tons of surfers (which weren’t sore on the eyes in the water or out) and vendors that we all mingled with throughout the night.

Although not all good parties are worth playing hard at, this after party had a great cause and raised almost $13,000 for the Stokes Me Fundraiser, which campaign is the official fundraising event for the SIMA Humanitarian Fund which raises money for surf-related and non-profit organizations that improve quality of life, health and welfare of people. It was definitely a party worth joining the crowd to toast “Cheers” with and to cheer on all those who were surfing or sponsoring good will!

Overall, the trip, expo and after parties were all worth hitting and we will do it all again in January 2013! Overall we supported some great causes, made some new friends, and brought home some new knowledge and new products to share with our team and all of our loyal customers! We wish you all could have enjoyed our biannual Surf Expo trip, but we are happy to report all our highlights with you as usual! As for know, all the Kona Team members that went are still recovering from a great trip where we all worked hard and played hard!

Yoga Paddle Surf

Surf Expo

Surf Expo

Surf Expo

Surf Expo

Surf Expo

One For One

One for One

There is a culture within the classes where the shoes on ones feet reflect social status, or how a person wants to be perceived. But shoes are much more than a symbol of hierarchy. Shoes were originally invented to protect and comfort the human foot during a wide variety of activities. Cavemen wrapped their feet in animal skins, and now, through centuries of innovation and engineering there are countless footwear categories, brands, and styles covering every sport and activity imaginable. Although mass production has made shoes more readily available around the globe, unfortunately, not everyone in this world is privileged enough to own a pair.

That’s why these days it’s important to support companies that take it upon themselves to make a difference in the world around them through the fairness of their manufacturing process, and the structure of their business model. Companies like Patagonia, Billabong, and TOMS shoes take these extra measures very seriously, and we like to support them for that reason. Since 2006, TOMS shoes has implemented their One for One program. This initiative has allowed TOMS to give shoes to people in need around the world every time a pair is sold. This program has benefited people in over 20 countries and as of September, 2010, they’ve given away over 1,000,000 shoes. An exchange such as this is extremely crucial in developing countries, where soil-transmitted diseases are among the leading causes of illness. The shoes provided to these individuals helps prevent these diseases and the long-term harm they cause. Not only that, but in some cases lack of shoes prevents children from gaining admittance to school, reiterating that shoes put an individual into a different social class and prevent them from improving your life and stature within society.

TOMS manufacturing practices are essentially an open-book and exist in Argentina, China, and Ethiopia under a watchful, and always improving eye. Blake Mycoskie (TOMS founder) was on a trip to Argentina when he experienced the poverty and struggles of the area first-hand. Mycoskie recognized the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe as the best solution. He reengineered the design using recycled materials and prepared it for the US market with the mission to inspire a better tomorrow by taking action today.

I recently learned that TOMS also does “One for One” on their eyewear line, helping less fortunate people see. Every pair of TOMS glasses sold will provide one person around the world with medical treatment, or a pair of prescription glasses, or sight-saving surgery. And since most blinding conditions are not only treatable, but curable, this is yet again another massive movement for the for-profit company with a giving core.