Cape Gazette
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Surf Report

Go ahead...surf and dive!

By Angelica Clemmer | Jun 20, 2013
Cindy and Bill Cunningham are the new owners of Rehoboth Beach Surf Shop, located at 26 Wilmington Ave.

As many of you know I started Rehoboth Beach Surf Shop a few years ago. Needing more time to focus on my art, I decided to sell it.  Here is an interview with the new owners.

You are not new to Rehoboth, tell us about your summers growing up here.

I’m going to sound really old, but I first came to Rehoboth Beach in 1966 when I was 4 years old.  It’s the first time I’d ever seen or been in the ocean.  I loved it immediately.  My mom bought a beach house in the little community of North Shores in 1972 and I spent my summers either skateboarding or body surfing until some of my friends and I got into surfing.  When they built the North Shores Jetty (wooden, not a rock pile like now), it quickly became one of the best breaks around.  Sometimes we would drive to O.C. and back looking for the best waves and more times than not they were at the North Shores Jetty.  Those were some of the best summers of my life and instilled in me a lifelong passion for the ocean.

How did you get into diving?

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My mom took my sisters and I to St. John in 1970 and again I was immediately drawn to the Caribbean Sea.  I did my first dive when I was 12 years old and have been diving ever since.  I have travelled in Central America, Hawaii, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Vancouver Island, BC, as well as all over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands looking for great surfing and diving conditions.  In the process I have met and made amazing friends around the world.

STATS
Name: Bill Cunningham
Nickname: BC, Diver Bill or Lobster Bill and Cindy Lou or Cindy Lou Who
Age: 51
Weight: 205 pounds
Stance: Regular
Hometown: I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, spent my summers in Rehoboth Beach from age 4 to 16. I now call St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands home during the winter and Rehoboth Beach in the summer.
Home break: Growing up in Rehoboth Beach, my home break was the North Shores Jetty which was built approximately 200 yards from my house. That jetty used to break really clean in the mid to late 70s. In St. John I surf Cinnamon Bay on a north swell and Reef Bay when the wind is pushing strong out of the Southeast.
Board: My favorite board ever is a 6 foot 8 inch G & S twin fin.

What is your life motto?

You’re never too old to learn something new.

How stoked are you on being the new owner of the most authentic surf shop in town?

We are so grateful to you guys for working with us to make this happen.  Cindy and I first saw the shop last September and loved the vibe.  Coming from the Caribbean where I work in the scuba/water sports industry we instantly had a good feeling.  [It is] not pretentious, very genuine and totally friendly.  We love meeting people (both locals and visitors) and enjoy hearing about their experiences surfing, skateboarding, diving, paddle boarding and anything water related.

How are the waves in the Virgin Islands?

The British Virgin Islands (Tortolla in particular) get some awesome swells, especially during the winter months when we get pretty consistent ground swells. 

Due to St. John’s location south and slightly east of Tortola, we lose much of the swells to Tortola.  However, occasionally they wrap around the West end of Tortola and then Johnson’s Reef and Cinnamon Bay break nicely.

Do you plan on offering surf and dive lessons this winter in the Virgin Islands?

I’ll definitely be doing the dive charters and would love to offer surf lessons as well.  We have a local guy called Surfer Gary who has been teaching surf lessons for years on St. John, but I heard he might be moving to Costa Rica.

How has Rehoboth been treating you?

In a word, awesome. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming.  I thought the locals might be a little standoffish, but everyone I’ve met has been really great and helpful.  We are enjoying a change in weather (as it is always mid-80s in St. John) and look forward to catching some waves this summer.

Favorite wave?

Cindy loves long lines and surfed one in Santa Cruz for over 200 yards.  For me, there’s no feeling in the world like getting barreled.

Worst wipeout?

Cindy confesses that her worst wipeout didn’t happen surfing, but riding her horse. For me, it was definitely following Hurricane Belle in 1976.  On the morning of Aug. 11 the North Shores Jetty had double overhead waves with stand up barrels.  I was riding a 7’4” Gerry Lopez Lighting Bolt and paddled into a beautifully clean, hollow wave. 

As I popped up, I side slipped down the face literally clawing at a wall of water to maintain my balance when the lip caught up with me and exploded at the base.  I remember feeling the impact, then felt myself getting pulled up into the barrel and sent through the spin cycle.  I didn’t know which way was up but popped to the surface in time to see another 10’ wall of water about to pound me.  Whenever I see surf footage showing surfers wiping out at Mavericks or Peahi (Jaws) or Teahupoo, I think about my wipeout and can’t even imagine how scary that must be to eat it on waves that powerful.

What would you say to someone who feels they are too old to learn?

As I enter my fifth decade, I can say from personal experience that people today who stay healthy and exercise can participate in any sport or activity.  Look at Randy Couture of the UFC. 

That guy is competing against guys half his age and holding his own.  In surfing, legends like Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, Shaun Tomson, and Mark Richards are all over 50 and still ripping and shredding.  So, like my motto says: “You’re never to old to learn something new.”

How can someone sign up for the lessons?

They can contact us by phone at 302-212-2619, email rbssde@gmail.com, or stop in the shop at 26A Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971.  Our website, therealrehobothbeachsurfshop.com, is currently under construction, but will soon have information about our surf lessons.  

You can also check us out on Facebook for current lesson photos and info.

What type of products does the shop carry?

We just ordered a variety of BIC boards including epoxy-composite, polyethylene, and some sweet Super Frog glass boards.  We are also talking with Brian Wynn about carrying his boards shaped in NJ.  We are the exclusive dealer in this area for WoodRoze sunglasses which are uniquely handcrafted bamboo frames with polarized lenses that float!  We are also the exclusive retailer for Craig Mizeras and The Ocean Net Works including jewelry and other amazing products made from recycled commercial fishing net.

The Ocean Net Works also donates twenty percent of all proceeds to Surfrider Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  Penny boards, Sector 9, Ozoboard SUP, surf and skate accessories as well as continue to carry T-shirts and hats featuring Angelica Clemmer designs!

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