Bird’s Surf Shed is a San Diego surfing institution. Before I moved here from South Africa, I remember people telling me I needed to there and see the incredible surfboard collection. Although the store has only been open for five years, its owner, Bird Huffman, has been a fixture in the local surf community for more than forty. Today he bides his time between running the store, doing the surf report for one of the biggest websites of its kind in the world and enjoying the same waves he grew up riding. Yesterday, after finally visiting the store, I managed to ask him a few questions about when and how this impressive store came into existence.
La Jolla Blue Book: Where did the idea for the store come from?
Bird Huffman: About five years ago. I was surfing Tavarua (Fiji), pondering my future and coming to grips with my past relationship. I thought there’d be a better way to move into the future and embrace surfing more traditionally.
La Jolla Blue Book: Where did this immense collection of new, old and classic surfboards come from?
Bird Huffman: I started working in a surf shop in about 1970, when I was twelve. And I started collecting boards in about ’72 or ’73. And I kept compiling them over the years. There are personal boards, traded boards, and occasionally purchased boards. A lot of donation boards.
La Jolla Blue Book: Do you have any personal favorites?
Bird Huffman: They’re all personal (there are about a thousand here). But all of them combined tell the complete story and one or two could do it. Missing two or three could fragment that story.
La Jolla Blue Book: The shop is an amazing space and I’ve heard you host some events here, too?
Bird Huffman: Yes, we had the Malloys here last week, Shaun Tomson (legendary South African surfer), the San Diego Surf Film Festival – we’ve held that here for a few years. We also do private functions, graduations, community meetings. Pretty much whatever people want.
La Jolla Blue Book: What keeps the store exciting for you?
Bird Huffman: It’s always changing. I don’t have a definitive title for it. Some people call it a museum, but it’s not. I think it’s a basic surf shop, and yet it’s more than that. It’s a surfing community center and surf shop – a combination of those.
*Bird’s Surf Shed is located at 1091 W Morena Blvd, San Diego.