By Ben Marcus
A different surf shop experience is now open for business in West Malibu, close to Westward and Zuma Beach. SeaNSoul Surf Shop is an extension of the SeaNSoul website, which is fast becoming the place for surfers, bikers, skiers, and outdoor people to buy and sell used equipment: Surfboards, wetsuits, snowboards, skateboards — everything.
SeaNSoul founder John Kozlowski is originally from Missouri and Texas, growing up playing football in rural towns far from the ocean. Living and working in New York City for many decades as an executive for Ralph Lauren, Kozlowski fell in love with all things surfing and ocean.
“We had a weekend house in the Springs, the bohemian part of East Hampton and close to Montauk, where I would surf literally every weekend year-round,” Kozlowski shared.
After 20 years of bright lights, big city, Kozlowski and his wife Erica heard the call of the surf and sun and moved with their two children to Malibu.
His first project was to ramp up a website for second-hand outdoor gear.
Kozlowski describes SeaNSoul.com as “…the leading social marketplace for outdoor gear and apparel. Sort of the Poshmark of Outdoor adventure gear and clothing. Our users can buy and sell items such as surfboards, wetsuits, skateboards, bikes, snowboards clothing etc…You can also learn about how to become involved as an activist for the outdoors through our partnerships with Surfrider Foundation and the Outdoor Alliance.”
The SeaNSoul Surf Shop is evolving in a space previously occupied by Clout, Drill, and Radfish. Just under a thousand square feet of thoroughly modern surf style, under Spruzzos, and a bit under 1,400 feet from the water’s edge at Zuma and in the path of tens of thousands of cars zooming past on PCH every day.
“My good friend David Olan called me one day and said, ‘Hey, there is a retail spot that is open in Zuma Beach Plaza, and I think you should open a surf shop there, and if you do, I will be your partner in the venture,’ and that’s exactly what happened,” Kozlowski said. “The space has been a surf shop for over 30 years with various owners and versions of. It’s now our turn, and we hope to carve a little niche and provide a place for people to gather, meet, talk surf, art, trips they have taken and plan to take, etc., and enjoy the space.”
Olan is a long-time Malibu surfer/attorney who testifies, “Meeting John was such an epiphany. We just kept on running into each other in random places.
“I met John and his wife Erica with their baby, Sailor, about a year and a half ago while I was buying a mandolin. I’ve been in Malibu a long time and was telling them things about how this place operates. He called me about his new online business, SeaNSoul, for some advice. I was giving him some insight both as an attorney and a long-time Malibu surfer. I knew about the history of both Clout and Radfish at Zuma Plaza. I called John and told him he needed a location and I would help him with contacts and financially. It has always been a dream of mine to have a high-end surf shop with other desirable and unique items, particularly vintage collectibles.”
Olan feels the location of the business has some untapped potential.
“A lot of surfing happens in West Malibu from Point Dume to the Ventura County Line but that side of town is underserved, surf shop-wise,” he said. “Zuma Plaza is anchored by Malibu Fitness, Spruzzos and the liquor store so there is lots of foot traffic, and also people heading to the beach for a day. I helped him negotiate the lease.
“The landlord and property manager knew the benefit of having a high-end store there. Everything has been so seamless from lease negotiation to building out and getting fabulous merchandise from the contacts John and I know. John and Erica worked so hard to put everything together. For us, it has been a labor of love.”
Olan said the business will be great for the area.
“We are very excited about this venture for a place that the community can come and enjoy,” he said. “We want our friends to come in and hang out, grab a cup of coffee and, of course, support the shop and the community.”
Kozlowski describes SeaNSoul Surf as a different surf shop experience.
“I love surf shops and the vibe they have, but I have always had a difficult time finding exactly what I imagined,” he said. “I mean, I am what most people would consider middle-aged and therefore I don’t feel comfortable wearing the clothes found in traditional surf shops. But at the same time, I still love the beach, surfing, and the lifestyle that comes with it. So we set out to create a surf and coastal lifestyle boutique. One might say we are a sophisticated soul surfers shop.
“We feature hand-shaped boards in a rainbow of colors. A lot of singlefin and fish boards by shapers who are not available at other shops in the area,” Kozlowski continued. “Our apparel selection is more lifestyle a little less logoed than specifically surf apparel. We offer both men’s and womens’ apparel. We want to dress the Malibu woman for much more than just a day at the beach. We hope to be the place to go to when searching for just that right dress for date night and full-moon surf sacrifices and other special occasions.”
In addition to being a different kind of soul surf shop, SeaNSoul will soon offer coffee and pressed juice “as soon as our equipment gets delivered from Italy,” Kozlowski said.
The shop is very tres chic and what you would expect from someone who orbited in the upper atmosphere of fashion for so many years. Art and neon signs adorn the walls, including a cool interpretation of the Malibu Pier and First Point.
“Our first installation on the chalkboard is by a Malibu local artist Daniel George,” Kozlowski said. “He is also an avid surfer and surfboard shaper. We are fortunate to have a couple of his surfboards in our rack. Daniel takes old boards that are no longer in use and strips them down to the foam, and then recreates and shapes a new board from it. A complete 360 recycle. This is something that is very important to our ethos and DNA. We make choices to work with artists and brands that have a responsibility and respect mother earth.”
SeaNSoul had a soft opening on the first weekend of June, and now they are open and ready to satisfy your soul. You can visit them online at seansoulsurf.com or call them at (424) 235-2430.