EL porto pipES

Dennis Jarvis
By Quinn RoBeRts Deeply embedded into the fabric of Hermosa Beach as the owner of Spyder Surfboards, Dennis Jarvis’ passion for what he does in undeniable. Continuing to make an impact on Hermosa Beach, Jarvis has lived and loved the town for over four decades.
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10X worLD champ SLatEr rippED on a SpyDEr

rst Dennis’ Fi 1978 Pro Event

New S ign PC H 1993

DJ shaping at ET ‘82
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Spend time with him, as South Bay built his thriving business into a surf empire. Since opening Spyder Surfboards in 1983, he’s tely feel his wisdom. Digs was lucky enough to do, and you’ll defini a kid in Hermosa Beach? Tell me a little bit about you growing up as

or four. He played bass and he used to play down I first started living here with my dad when I was three out about Hermosa. Going to the beach, I was at The Lighthouse and Poop Deck. That is how I found Pier. always riding down Aviation to Pier Avenue to Hermosa surf. So, I cruised down here and the first time I I started coming down to the beach to watch my brother The waves were one to two feet. But I remember paddled out, I had a used board. It was seriously terrible. I was the biggest goof ever, but I paddled out. thinking, ‘My dad is going to be so proud of me’. I know this area. I just fell in love with Hermosa Beach. You can’t beat t choose it. I’ve been around the world and had I chose this place to live, but it really chose me, I didn’ U.S., but you really can’t beat Hermosa Beach. the opportunity to live in other countries and area of the
? What do you think makes it such a unique beach

It is just in the middle of everything. It also You can do anything you want in a day’s period of time. ik and beachy. Since then, the temperament has used to be such a bohemian town around here. It was beatn learned how to surf on the south side of the pier. changed. It really is ever-changing. I grew up here and a family, so it is awesome. The family community is really ripe right now and I have
was it like? later on decided to turn professional? What Tell me about when you got into surfing and

Billy Robinson, who was an excellent surfer. He I met a lifeguard down at the water by the name of Surfboards. One day when I was riding home from befriended me. He introduced me to Eddie Talbot at ET hole in the wall and I went in. I then started the beach, I saw the shop and stopped. It was a tiny little do repairs. I helped physically build the inside of going there every day after school and learned how to the surf shop. Mike Benavidez, a pro surfer, called me one day The pro surfer thing came about with me surfing a lot. a kook, or are you going to come with us and surf and was like, ‘Are you going to just sit around and be decided to cruise. I went, had a good time, did in South Africa?’. I had money, so I said why not and boards I were riding weren’t working, so in that pretty well. The first place I went to was Brazil and the . I don’t know why, but I shaped a board and it second stop in South Africa, I decided to try and shape r than on the other board. So when I came home, came out really well. I rode it and I think I did bette at that time. I was trying to be ‘anything for I found out I had a knack for it. I was also airbrushing go on tour. a buck’ Jarvis because I needed money to pay rent and
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? venture of creating Spyder How did you get into the

SpyDEr piEr gi

rLS SiDE rEm

oDEL 2003

to save money. I’d get the I’m very well educated on how 1983, it would add up to about cover of a surf magazine and in I off all of that until one day $4,000. I was making money t. I went ‘Oh my gosh, I’m had $33,000 in my bank accoun e s not working out, I drove hom rich!’. With a few other venture left to buy a Porsche. I turned one night thinking I was going esia, I’m on PCH and I look to go down to Gould off of Art e a wig shop for lease and a hug over. There was a t-shirt shop, se sign out of the corner of my liquor store. But I see the lea at back up, pulled in and looked eye. I whipped a u-turn, went the space. g into this place and looking I’m this scruffy surf guy walkin ng. That night, I was laying around thinking I can do anythi took the key to the store I in bed, but couldn’t sleep, so I with a sledgehammer, turned was given, went back down there shing everything. Here is the the lights on and started sma o this one wall, inside it was irony though, when I busted int then that it was an omen a silver surfer. No jive. I knew and I was in.
ldn’t sell anything. How re were days when you wou I know you have said the has grown and thrived? to see how your business happy does it make you now

PCH 1993

Shapi

ng at ET 1 982

lt thing for me to do to hire It was probably the most difficu a micromanager control freak. my first employee because I am because of a tireless group of To see where we are today is rk really hard, and when you are individuals that work for us. Wo p working. It was just having the going to give up, don’t. Just kee best service and that is where top quality stuff and giving the nged. we are today, and that never cha
your shop? people want to come to What do you think makes

anymore, but it comes down to It isn’t so much brand loyalty duct, but to gain knowledge of service. We all carry the same pro element. I’m also the owner what you are purchasing is a key breed. Everything that I put my and shaper, and we are a dying o. name on, I put 100 percent int
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Quiver spy 1983

What does your day consist of? What is an average day like?

I usually get up pretty early. I check my e-mails from customers and anyone else. I usually do a round robin between the two stores and see how things go. I also go and design boards on a 3DM prog ram, which is unique. I used to hand shape everything. Now, I have a lapt op and sit there and design the boards. It takes some time. Then, I’ll take the blanks from the factory over to my cutter. We do that, I take them back to the factory on 190th and I’ll spend time on shaping them. I spen d more time doing details. If I were to write my job description, it would be trying to come up with creative ways to either do new things to the inside of the store--new t-shirt designs, add campaigns, anything to create an outward expression of the stores. So, my day is pretty all over the place, but it is good for me, because I couldn’t do one job. I couldn’t live any other way.

What do you love about surfing and the culture of it?

I used to be able to easily say it is the lifestyle. Surfing is the father of skateboa rding and snowboarding. So, you can’t say that surfing lifestyle anymore. It is a rarity to find a guy who will get up at 4a.m. and sleep on the beach to be the first in the water. Peop le used to do it. It s fun for me because ’ I get a bunch of things to do. I started out the surf shop and what it got me was to meet people. I’m the Spyd er guy and because of it, I meet people. Whether they are a friend or a busi ness acquaintance, it helps keep it interest ing to me. The relationships I create and the people I meet keeps me driven to be in this industry.
What types of movies have you been involved in?

I really made money on national tv com mercials. I used to go into these audition s and didn’t have the look of desperation that everyone else would. I’d walk in, they ask me what I want and I’d say ‘I just got out of the water, I’m sorry. I have a little salt on me’. They’d laugh and that always got them. Through that, I got the experience of working on Point Break. I taught everyone how to surf and built all the surfboards. I worked tirelessly. The beauty was, I realized I was a terr ible actor, but because I am so anal, I’m a great producer and director. I got to work with James Cam eron and Kathryn Bigelow as well. After that, I focused on the shop and we bega n to grow. I then stopped all the acting and refocused.
Have you ever thought about expa nding and opening new shops in the South Bay or anywhere else?

We have been in negotiations with a guy in Redondo Beach in an unbelievable location for four years. He says we can have it and we think that that area is underserved and we believe that we can serv e it. I am just waiting for an e-mail that says we’re on. I wouldn’t do it in this economy unless it was that location. The visibility is incredible. We are really fort unate to be by the beach because I hav e a lot of frie nds inla nd and tho se sho ps are gon e now , but peo ple gravitate towards the beach. I toDay yDEr StorE Sp wouldn’t open a shop anywhere that s not within a stones throw ’ of the shops we have.

DEnniS J arviS

(on thiS pagE) photography: pauL JonaSon | www.pauLJonaSon.com

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