Rip Curl opens Downtown Santa Cruz store

by Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 29, 2015 SANTA CRUZ >>

The new Rip Curl store downtown didn’t open until 10 a.m., giving manager Danny Ritz time to get in a surf session with his area manager before going to work Wednesday.

“Nobody had to sell me,” said Ritz, who came from Rip Curl’s San Clemente store for his new assignment. “I love Santa Cruz … I love that big small-town feel.”

Ritz, 28, who has surfed in Indonesia, Australia, Central and South America, plans to make South Africa his next stop.

He calls himself a Rip Curl “lifer.”

He rode for a Rip Curl regional team and worked at surf shops to put himself through college in Maryland, where he studied communications, philosophy and marketing. He started at Rip Curl as a sales rep and worked his way up.

“It’s all I’ve ever done,” he said. “I take pride in it.”

Sounding like the millennial he is, he said, “If I am going to work, I’d rather do something fun.”

He has a dozen employees; prospective employees are invited to stop by with a resume.

Rip Curl is a designer, manufacturer and retailer of surf wear. Founded in 1969 by two Australians, the privately held company ranks with Billabong and Quiksilver.

Rip Curl’s Flashbomb won “wetsuit of the year” for the past three years. The company won “women’s campaign of the year” the last two years for “My Bikini,” swimsuits.

The new store on the ground floor of the Rittenhouse Building, a block from O’Neill and Pacific Wave and down the street from Berdels, creates a surf mecca downtown.

Rip Curl’s ambiance is laid-back.

Big screens show surfers in action while the background music is a mix.

A photo of the Santa Cruz swell by Ryan “Chachi” Craig fills the entire back wall, announcing “The Search,” the surfer’s never-ending journey to find memorable waves.

Wednesday’s shoppers and browsers included Jennifer Williams, visiting from Sacramento with her husband and three sons, and locals Briana Ackerman with her daughter Stacie, who noticed the new store with the picture windows.

“It’s good to finally have this space utilized,” said Matt Henderson, a Scotts Valley resident working in Santa Cruz, noting the store has “all the stuff I tend to wear.”

The Rittenhouse Building, completed in 2008, stayed vacant through the recession and slow recovery. Fast-growing tech company Looker became the first tenant, taking the top floor last year.

First-floor space next to Rip Curl is still available.

Down the street, Sarah Sondassi, helping customers at O’Neill, said she already had traded business cards with the Rip Curl staff.

What: Flagship surf store, wetsuits, bikinis, board shorts, T-shirts
Where: Rittenhouse Building, 1395 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz
Manager: Danny Ritz
Employees: 12
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Information: 831-713-5394

Read the original article on the Santa Cruz Sentinel web site HERE

Photo: Manager Danny Ritz and supervisor Samantha Martin at Rip Curl’s new flagship store at 1395 Pacific Ave. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel)