At this surf shop, you can learn how to kiteboard and look good doing it. Even if you fly into a wall.
By Annie Vazquez
Have you ever wanted to learn how to "hang ten" or get those killer abs all the celebs are getting from paddleboarding? (Think Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey). South Beach's boutique, F1RST, can teach you how to catch a wave in no time -- and dress you up for the part, too.
The 2-month-old store, owned by local surf buddies Mark Gamez and Christian De La Iglesia, sells clothing, accessories and shoes as well as action sports equipment. Plus, the duo offer lessons in kiteboarding, paddleboarding and surfing. Lessons start at $80 per session and packages are available.
Inside the 1100 sq. foot shop, which De La Iglesia says was designed to give a relaxed vibe, with its wood flooring and neutral colored walls, the racks are oozing with merchandise. "It's not Quiksilver or Island Water Sports," says De La Iglesia. "We didn't want to carry the same top tier companies that most surf shops do. [So] we cover other brands in the market."
Those brands are Billabong, RVCA, Elwood, Insight and Hurley. Tees, board shorts, walking shorts, frocks in all lengths and bikinis make up most of the inventory. Tees run from $22 to $74 for women's swimwear while men's swim trunks average about $50. When it comes to shoes, there are plenty of sandals and flip-flops to sink your feet into. Labels such as Sanuk, Havaianas and Scott Hawaii are their best sellers. They retail from $18 to $65.
As far as accessories, De La Iglesia says the store's main draw is the hat and sunglass collection, which features classic aviators from Spy Optics to trendy and colorful shades by Von Zipper. For those looking to unleash their athletic side, skateboards, surfboards, kiteboards and paddleboards are available to rent or purchase. Rentals start at $30 and surfboards retail from $400 to $700. "We have access to just about any surfboard in the country, but [we] focus on local shapers from up and down the coast and big names like Town and Country and Lost surfboards," says De La Iglesia.
Aside from the merchandise, F1RST offers repair services on equipment and customizes boards.
Goals for the duo include making the store the staple surfshop in the South Beach community. "Past that, [we want to] just be that shop you can come share a story with and get pumped for the next swell or complain about how long it's been between swells," adds De La Iglesia.F1RST, 100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 305-397-8103
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