Hello Eric, you are the founder and owner of one of the first skateshops in France. HawaiiSurf has a huge selection of skateboards, longboards and other boards and this is a place you can’t ignore if you are looking to ride a board. We have four questions for you.
1 and 2 Why a skate and surf shop in Paris and how did it all start?
It started in summer 1976. I had missed my graduation. I was 17, I was on vacation in Biarritz where I rode my skateboard. I had to find something to do after the holidays. Studying was not for me. Meanwhile, I got more and more addicted to skateboarding!
Going back to Paris, I met up with an architect who worked with my father and it was here I decided to start my skateboard shop.
In the beginning it was called the Skateboarder’s House. In Paris and in all of France, it was at the heart of the skate scene. People rode for fun.
I preferred to offer more advanced products coming directly from the United States. These include mythical boards from Gordon & Smith or Ampul for example. We also manufactured our own skateboards.
And then, one day, I left my surf board at the shop. The customers liked it, so I decided to diversify products by offering surfboards, and even Speed Sail and snowboards! This is how the Skateboard’s House became HawaiiSurf. And it worked!
Paris is a hub and there is a very large community of all kind of riders: surfers, skaters and snowboarders. Hawaiisurf was the only shop to offer their toys for their passion! The only difficulty was to be located on the outskirts of Paris. We have invested a lot in advertising, leaflets and press. We were everywhere when it was about gliding and riding a board!
3- How does Hawaiisurf differ from other shops?
Passion – without hesitation! This is the kerosene of Hawaiisurf! In the shop everyone rides: surf, snow, skate, longboard and rollerskates. We’re bad brats and welcome bad brats! This is what makes us strong! The difference between us and the other shops is that we created the trend and instilled it in France! We always were there vanguard! We were the first shop to import boards to France and to manufacture them. We were the first to market Burton in France
We rummage around the world to find the pearls. These include trucks with a brake that are from Australia, or the Rio skates in England. The products come from all over and come to us before the trend starts. Our guideline is boarding makes you sweat. This is carried by human energy and external elements: nature and the street! We made our choices based on that and the passion that drives us.
4- What is your best memory at the store?
Undoubtedly, the visit of Tony Alva! He is part of the guys who inspired me throughout my youth. In 2009, Ray Barbee and Paul Van Doren went down to the “cellar Momo.” This is the place in the basement of the shop where I store my collection of skateboards and surf.
They were like children! Their eyes shined from all the product I had collected. They found a Dogtown board I customized myself and they signed it. A unique space and a good time with brats!