Bill “Blinky” Hubina, owner of Ventura Surf Shop, joins Dr. Bunny to discuss surfing and how his business is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Surfing has become even more popular during the pandemic because it’s a sport that’s done out in the fresh air, and Blinky tells us how he and his wife have navigated the waters during this unprecedented time.
Bill also tells us about the fascinating history of Ventura Surf Shop. They are a true local surf shop, selling custom new and used surf boards, accessories, and wetsuits. They’ve been around for so long, they’ve had the same phone number since 1967!
Tune in for a great interview and be sure to stop in to Ventura Surf Shop to support local businesses!
About Ventura Surf Shop:
Ventura Surf shop was started in the early sixties by Tom Hale. Tom had been building boards with V.I.P., Ventura International Plastics in the late fifties. VIP was owned by Bill Fisher with the shop located on Olive Street. The shop sold fiberglass, cloth, resin & laminated surfboards. VIP went on to a new factory on Callens Rd. where they produced boards “Pop Outs” (production boards) Ten Toes, Shark, Tiki and the Duke Kahanamoky boards. Boards were sold to mass merchandisers like Sears and Federated. Tom left VIP to open a small shop in 1962, located at 235 W. Santa Clara St. where he made custom Tom Hale surfboards. In 1963 Tom Morey moved to Ventura recruiting Tom Hale to be his shaper and moved into the small shop on Santa Clara St. with Hale. Morey made Australian surfboards and Tom Morey skeg works (aka TRAF Fins). According to Tom Hale the polypropylene fins while being shaped with a grinder smelled like a fart, (TRAF spelled backwards)! Morey’s wife Jolly was a talented artist and helped Tom Hale design the first Ventura Surf Shop logo for Hale’s custom boards.
In 1964 Morey decided to change the name of his Australian surfboards to Morey, then in 1965 Morey and Karl Pope became partners and opened Morey Pope on Front St. in Ventura. Tom Hale went on to produce his own custom boards nd opened a sales shop on Main Street across from Ventura High School. He eventually closed the Main Street shop and sold boards out of his glassing shop on Callens Rd. Tom made boards in Ventura until 1973 when he moved to San Diego.
In the meantime, Bill “Blinky” Hubina who also worked for Morey on Santa Clara St. became Morey Popes first employee on Front St. In 1967 Blinky and Dennis Ryder left Morey Pope to start William Dennis Surfboards in an industrial building on Callens Rd. Dennis departed the business shortly after it got started. Blinky continued to make William Dennis surfboards. The business grew and eventually Blinky opened a small show room on Thompson Blvd. in the front of the house where he lived. In 1972 Karl Pope who had bought Morey out decided to close Morey-Pope retail shop and start Wave. Wave was a corporation which included surf, wave, and Morey-Pope. Karl Pope moved the new company to Saticoy and in 1973 opened Wave, making honeycomb surfboards.
Blinky took over the Morey-Pope building on Front St. and expanded the William Dennis surfboard business in to it. Where they manufactured William Dennis boards and had a show room. In 1973 when Tom Hale left Ventura the employees started answering the phone “William Dennis” Ventura Surf Shop and assumed the name.
The Ventura Surf Shop was sold to Stan Fujii in 1980. Stan changed the sign on the shop on Front St. from William Dennis to The Ventura Surf Shop in 1986. Stan started making Fujii surfboards, then in 1995 Stan moved the shop to its current location at 88 E. Thompson Blvd. Stan ran the business for 20 years until he sold it to Mark Ellison in 2000 along with his managing partner Bill Blinky Hubina.
Blinky and his wife, Mignonne purchased the shop in 2012 from Mark and continue to run it