Russell has become a surf shop with nothing but simplistic, genuine, and world class vibes illustrating what the art of surfing truly holds. Robert Russell Brown, better known by his middle name as the one and only Russell, had DNA threaded into his surfboard designs. He had a blueprint unlike anyone else for how to take a foam block and craft something that just works.
His glorious shaping days began as a 13 year old out of his dad’s garage but quickly got pushed out of that space… he made one hell of a mess. Back in ’68 when the Australians came over with their thruster shortboards, the whole game changed. In the 70’s, Russell had a fleet of world class shapers revolving at his bay. Names like Bruce Jones, Shawn Stussy (Yes, that Stussy), Mike O’Day and Jeff Timpone were amongst some of the weapons he helped mold into the amazing shapers they were. Russell and O’dea started tearing up shortboards once the game started shifting from the big logs. From there, it was on. In that period of time, you had local legends such as Lenny Foster and Junior Beck paddling out at MACKING Newport Point on some massive South Swells. They would run to Russell and the boys, take out some fresh sleds, snap them, run back to Russell, beg for another, and u-turn right back out. These were some of the first “sponsored” surfers of Russell’s ‘Brotherhood’ era and that’s pretty much all the sponsorship consisted of… purely to let these guys have as much fun as they could and perform out on some of the best shapes anyone could offer.
Original surfboard shaped by Bruce Jones for the 'Russell Brotherhood'
He helped so many influential shapers in the surfing world including Paul Heussenstamm, who ended up becoming a competitor to Russell after learning the craft and then moving into a shop 15 feet away from Russ. This led to years of heckles and a scene I’m sure a lot of people would have loved to see, “Paul was suckin off my tit and then decided to break away 15 feet from me! I wanted him to do well but do it somewhere else man, yeah that road was a funny one,” Russell describes in Russell Raw - Snippet from the movie Echo Beach. Which then brings up the Echo Beach boom. Quiksilver came to town and grew exponentially to ultimately own the surf scene in Newport. People from every walk of life looked like they were modeling for Quik. Behind Bob Mcknight, the movement snowballed and never seemed to stop. “Yeah in ’86 we sold more boards in August than any month ever.. I’m pretty sure the number was 246,” Russ went on. Could you imagine shaping 246 fucking surfboards in one month?! I can barely hold my attention long enough to get this magazine launched.
When Russell began creating the Express and Plane Wrap, the industry got flipped on its side in the best way possible. Everyone was eating that shit up like there was a mad tapeworm on a hunt for their crafts.
Just as time does with anything, the culture around Russell changed, but to this day has stayed true to what the shop has always been about… simplistic quality. Jerry O’Keefe continues to pump out crafts that never fail to turn heads. Dane New mans the sanding and polishing to a tee. You can now find JP and Mike running the shop, two guys that hold the place up to just about the exact standard Russell ran it at.
Russell shaped because he loved it. A clean surfboard, no B.S., fueled from genuine love for something that offered him so much in his lifetime. Russell's store sells surfboards, shirts, wax, and not much else; that’s what makes it’s so great. A core surf shop just like Russell intended it to be. J.P. and Mike are two guys that I’m sure Russell would be proud to have keeping the place running. It’s not for the money, but for the love of the sport, the stoke that comes with it, and to touch other people's lives in the same way theirs and so many of ours have been touched.
Russell unfortunately passed away in 2011 but always has been and always will be core.
Don’t miss this spot, you can feel the unmatched energy just stepping into there.
R.I.P. You Legend.
Question of the week asked in Russell Surfboards
Larry: “Do you guys even surf?”
A Couple Of Grant Noble's New Shapes Sitting Pretty
TK Froghouse is by far one of a kind. In the heart of Newport Beach, just a couple streets south of River Jetties, you can find this band of misfits. Every time you step into this riot of a store nothing is left short of a unique experience. You will laugh harder here than in any other shop, take shit for whatever you’re wearing (all out of love), and will feel more ready to surf than ever. Our conversation started nothing short of what you can always expect…
Lame: “TK what’d you have for breakfast this morning?”
TK: “Well I had some heavy whipping cream, took a poop and there was some corn in it. Not sure how that worked out, always gotta check your poops though and try to figure it out”
Lame: “Live by it. What about earlier than your poop this morning. How’d this place even get going?”
TK: “Fuckk, Alright here we go. Well in 1962, Frank Janson use to drive a beat up milk wagon up and down the street selling about 6-10 used surfboards all over. He’d post up at Blackies bumming it out of his car until the city finally came up to him and goes, “Dude you don’t have a permit you’ve gotta get out of here.” Off went Frank. He’d motor up to Cliffs over in Huntington… sit there… sell… no permit… Seal Beach was the new home. After that, right back down to Blackies and the cycle started right over. That fucker didn’t even surf, he barely knew how to swim! So the story goes… He ended opening at that old gas station up the street for a few months, called it Hossy Speed Shop… Actually do you know the reason why it’s called Froghouse?!”
Lame: “No clue, let’s hear it”
TK: “Dude so Jensen was the dirtiest mother fucker you’ve ever met, this guy would eat KFC, throw the bones all over the ground… earned himself the nickname ‘Frog’… One day the boys and I go over to his place, he’s got shit all over the floor, he’s laying on the couch like a tard, it was disgusting… one of us belts out, “Dude this is the Froghouse, nothing less to expect!”
There she is. It stuck. So essentially I end up soliciting this place all the time, because I loved it more than anything else, I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I bugged the shit out of these guys so much they finally offered me a part-time job, nothing serious… Saturdays part-time while the mean time I was driving a school bus around….
Some of Frog's dirtiness lives on, a year and a half old piece of pizza hangs from the ceiling... thing is as hard as a hockey puck... but still holding strong. We love it.
Mid Conversation a customer walks in, holding up his torn wetsuit, “TK I need help I blew my ass out!”
TK: “What’d happened? You eat too much Mexican food or what?!”
Back to our conversation:
TK: “So I finally end up being a manager later after I marry my childhood sweetheart and it was time for us to start thinking about having a family. You can’t make enough money at this place behind the counter and raise a family. I start looking at hopefully buying the shop… Frank’s living on a boat at this point, comes by and picks up the dough, that’s about it. When I asked him if I can buy the shop he says the shop isn’t up for sale. I tell him I’m not making enough money to raise a family, I might have to open up my own surf shop… found a spot… I come back and go, ‘Hey, I found a little spot, I’m about to sign a lease, I’m not gonna be able to run your shop anymore’, which ultimately led him to open up some dialogue about selling the place.”
Joey Walks up (one of the employees) mid conversation holding up a wetsuit
TK: “Yeah dude I wanna sell that.”
Johnny: “How much you thinking TK.”
TK: “I don’t know knock 40% off, put it somewhere. Thanks Joey.”
TK: “…So yeah I buy this place, we live happily ever after up until now…”
….Many more of this story can be caught in the Froghouse Exclusive Article…
TK: “I love this place. Everyone always asks me about an exit plan… I don’t have one! I’ve got a son who’s got an MBA, I think his time has passed on looking at owning a surfshop… I’ve got a grandson, a little 13 year old that can hopefully grow into loving this place like we do, the next heir to the thrown is Johnny.”
All the boys start hooting and hollering.
TK: “But it’s special here man. That’s the only thing that kills me is if this place shuts down, is that no kid will see what it was truly like to be in a surf shop back in the day. The rowdiness, everything about it, it’s about sipping from that fountain of youth and that’s what surfing is about. I get parents who come in here often and go ‘TK, you have been such a positive influence on my son, not someone who I’d want to date my daughter though”
TK employee: “Once he gets out of prison he’s gonna be great guy.”
TK: “Oh god that’s good… I try to teach honesty and being straight, good values… we’ve got a Penis Pokey book but I’m not sure if we can put that out into the community… but besides the Penis Pokey, we’re gonna keep this place until the wheels come off and preserve it for as long as we can.”
Lame: “Well I can tell you that we appreciate you and how you preserve that stoke so well, keep killing it.”
TK’s Froghouse is a place unmatched. You'll always get something out of walking in there, whether it's something surf related or a laugh. The boys are all great, they’ll teach you, laugh with you, laugh at you, and get you ready to paddle out as soon as you leave.
TK’s Froghouse is the all-time surf shop of Orange County. We couldn’t be more thankful for it and everyone in there. We can’t wait to ride with it until the wheels fall off, and then hopefully some more.
“TK would you like me to suck your”- Jokes
“Is this a restaurant?”
“Goofy footed leashes?”
“My wetsuit is letting in water”
No website... get in there