Credit: Colin Nearman | Courtesy

Surfers packed into the Field Day Coffee parking lot to check out some new boards at the Surfboard Buy, Trade and Swap event on Oct. 3.

Surfers brought boards to sell, trade or buy. The swap was put on by local surfboard shaper and owner of Somma Special Designs, Shea Somma.

Somma wanted to bring the board swap tradition to SLO after seeing a large board swap in Leucadia, San Diego.

“Also, it’s a chance for people to meet each other and talk design, and maybe find something cool in the process,” Somma said.

Somma sold a few of his own boards at the swap. He has been shaping boards for 12 years and started after not being able to get into the Cal Poly surfboard shaping class.

“When I graduated … I was like, ya know what, I’m just gonna buy a planar and get going and do it myself.” Somma said.

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Video by Ellie Spink

Local board builders Mark Brown of Hoot and Holler Surfboard, Tyler Lawyer of Tyler Lawyer Surf Designs, and Mesa Surfboards also were selling and swapping.

“Purchasing a board off the rack, while instantly gratifying, is pretty stale in terms of a relationship with its maker,” Brown said.” Something that can truest add great depth to the surfing experience.”

Owners of Field Day Coffee Randy and Callie Price are friends of Somma, and own some of his hand-crafted boards. According to Somma, the pair was “stoked on the idea” of hosting the surfboard swap at their shop.

“We have always wanted Field Day to be a place for the community. Obviously, that’s a bit more of a challenge these days,” Randy said. “Shea approached me with the idea and it sounded like a great way to bring people together in a safe and socially distant way.”

According to Price, there are lots of advantages to swapping surfboards over buying.

“It’s cheaper than a new board and also better for the planet! Most boards just sit around or end up in the trash so this is a great way to spread stoke and also get rid of some old boards. Plus it’s way more fun than Craigslist,” said Randy.

Beyond price, board swaps like Somma’s bring surfers together on land and in the water, according to Brown. 

“The more surfers can interact in a positive manner out of the water, the more we’ll do it when we paddle out,” Brown said. “I don’t feel the swap is so much about the boards as it is the people and relationships it has the potential to create — scoring a great board is icing on the cake.”

Somma said the event was a success, as many surfers left with new surfboards, and he sold some of his own surfboards.

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