“Key Industry Surf Shops Impacted by Oil Spill” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

“Key Industry Surf Shops Impacted by Oil Spill” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Workers cleaning oil that washed ashore on Corona Del Mar State Beach Wednesday – Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

The oil spill in Orange County that has closed beaches in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point is not only a crisis for the environment, it also could have a major impact on important industry stores and other businesses in the area.

“This is an ecological and economic crisis for the city of Huntington Beach,” said Aaron Pai, the owner of Huntington Surf & Sport on Main Street. “I feel for all the animals and businesses affected.”

Last weekend, Huntington Beach was packed due to the Pacific Air Show, which draws thousands of people to the beach to watch the planes perform off the coast. HSS was a sponsor of the event, which ended up being cancelled on Sunday, the last day of the show.

“We had to navigate through COVID, and now we’ll have to navigate through this,” Aaron said.

The spill has also cancelled this weekend’s City of Huntington Beach Surf Contest, which HSS was also sponsoring.

The only good news is that the spill didn’t happen in the height of summer, Aaron said.

Huntington Beach also just hosted the WSL’s U.S. Open of Surfing at the end of September.

“Thank God it didn’t happen during the U.S. Open,” said Bobby Abdel, a partner at Jack’s Surfboards, whose flagship store is directly across from the beach in Huntington. “Can you imagine?”

Jack’s has already noticed a drop in traffic as people avoid Huntington Beach because of the spill and the negative publicity.

“There’s no surfing in Huntington Beach, no tourists,” he said. “It’s hurting every business here. People are now afraid to visit Huntington Beach.”

Click on the following link to view the remainder of this story: Key Industry Surf Shops Impacted by Oil Spill

Editor’s note: The public is discouraged from taking part in the cleanup because of the toxicity of the oil.

For more information on the spill and ways the industry can help, visit the Surfrider Foundation.

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