While other local Patch sites across the nation polled readers for their favorite sporting goods store this week, our Patch chose to do it Ocean City-style: with surf shops.
The topic was hot — with 1,481 total votes — and with a late-week surge rallied on Facebook, Heritage Surf and Sport pulled ahead to outpoll Surfers Supplies, 711 to 587. The 7th Street Surf Shop came in third with 183 votes.
All three shops are part of the fabric of Ocean City, and perhaps our first commenter, "Tony," said it best:
"Picking one out of the three is difficult, I have done business with all of them, and know the owners (past and present) of all three. Each shop carries different brands of boards, wetsuits, and accessories, they all have friendly knowledgeable people working their stores. If I could vote for all three I would ..."
Dan Heritage started shaping boards in the 1960s, and the empire he created now includes shops in Sea Isle City, Margate and Ocean City (the retail location here opened in 1978). The shop continues to shape and repair boards. It prides itself on maintaining a variety of the latest surf products, and the store's surf team has been a regional winner in a surf-shop challenge for five years running.
The main Heritage store is on the 800 block of West Avenue, and a new Boardwalk location near Bob's Grill at 14th Street is now open on weekends — with a full-time opening scheduled for May.
For much of the week, Heritage was running a very close race in the polls with Surfers Supplies — a classic surf shack at 31st and Asbury. The shop opened in 1962, and long before the era of surfcams and even the Internet itself, Surfers Supplies was providing surf reports by telephone.
Patch commenter "J MAN" speaks for generations when he says: "If you close your eyes and think about how a surf shop should look/feel/smell/etc. ... You picture Surfers Supplies."
With a Boardwalk location overlooking one of Ocean City's best breaks and two locations on Asbury Avenue, the 7th Street Surf Shop has a large and loyal following of its own.
So hats off to Ocean City's three iconic shops:
The Readers' Choice polls are designed to highlight local businesses and encourage people to shop locally. (Business owners are also encouraged to "claim" their listings for free to update their own information. Here's how.)