Life After Russ at Russell Surfboards

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It’s been over three years since Russ Brown of Russell Surfboards fame passed away. And while many thought it might be the end of the line for his core surf shop in Newport Beach, it’s been nothing but the opposite. Newport local JP Roberts took over the shop shortly after Russ’s passing and has taken the brand and the business to a level Russ would absolutely be proud of. We caught up with JP to get an update on what’s been going on the past few years, and here’s how the conversation went.

Ghetto Juice: What kind of boards you been selling this past summer?
JP Roberts: We’re still doing a lot of those “Magic Markers” and it’s been fun doing a lot of the alternative stuff lately, the single fins and all that. The “Inglewood” has been really popular. I don’t know. It’s just a real fun time to make surfboards because everybody’s riding everything: longboards, short boards, Simmons, fishes … you can do anything right now and it’s a lot of fun!

Ghetto Juice: What’s it been like since Russell’s passing? You’ve really done a great job with the shop, and I know Russell would be stoked…
JP: You know, everybody’s been so supportive which has been really cool, and even all the old dogs who have hung around the shop have been really cool and we had a good team going into it, with Ryan and Balti and brining on O’Keefe was a really good move. So those guys making the boards look nice really helped a lot.

Ghetto Juice: Was it a little scary when you had to take over such a classic surf shop like Russell?
JP: Totally. It still is a little bit. There’s a lot of pressure, all that history and heritage to kind of come in, being a younger guy … we knew what we wanted it to be like but we didn’t want to get too far away from the roots of what that shop is, or was.

Ghetto Juice: What did Russell teach you about running a surf shop?
JP: You know, we just had a lot of fun days at the shop in the summertime. Hanging out and selling boards, and he would just get really fired up when old boards would come in, you know, some of the 70s boards. And just hearing him talk story about the old days was always a really good time. But I think just having the whole team there, with me and Ryan and stuff. There have been a lot of guys who’ve cycled through there over the years, but that’s what it was. The brotherhood aspect of it. I remember when I first wanted to shape a board, and spending time up at the glass shop, just spending time with him going through the works of it.

Ghetto Juice: Now it’s a whole new crew of groms hanging out in the shop and supporting the brand ….
JP: Yeah, Cole and Christian, and a lot of those kids from Harbor have been on the team and surfing good. They’ve been real loyal and are just really good kids. They’ve been stoked on the boards and are always hanging out, getting in a little trouble. It’s fun. It’s fun having them in there hanging out. It brings a good energy to the shop, for sure.

Ghetto Juice: Well it’s pretty cool that you guys are still pretty much the only core surf shop down in the Blackies area. Newport Surf and Sport’s been gone for years. Surfside went up the hill to Costa Mesa and you guys are all that’s left. The only core surf shop in the Blackies area.
JP: I know, there used to be a whole bunch right there and now we’re one of the only ones left. But there’s still a bunch of good shops around us, but we’re the ones trying to hold it down in that area for sure.

Ghetto Juice: So what’s the future hold for Russell Surfboards?
JP: I don’t know. It’s been really cool getting some of these other, bigger shops to carry our boards. That’s really exciting. But that’s a tough question. I think we’re just going to try and keep the soul alive and keep making a lot of boards. It’s cool to see the local guys riding them at 54th —-that always gets me pumped up. It’s been fun having Pirdy riding the boards, you know, that kind of stuff.

Ghetto Juice: Well, keep up the great work, JP! Russell would be proud.
JP: Thank you! I really appreciate it, brother!


Posted by: Ghetto JuiceGhetto Juice at: 24 Sep 2014 16:39




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It’s been over three years since Russ Brown of Russell Surfboards fame passed away. And while many thought it might be the end of the line for his core surf shop in Newport Beach, it’s been nothing but the opposite. Newport local JP Roberts took over the shop shortly after Russ’s passing and has taken the brand and the business to a level Russ would absolutely be proud of. We caught up with JP to get an update on what’s been going on the past few years, and here’s how the conversation went.

Ghetto Juice: What kind of boards you been selling this past summer?
JP Roberts: We’re still doing a lot of those “Magic Markers” and it’s been fun doing a lot of the alternative stuff lately, the single fins and all that. The “Inglewood” has been really popular. I don’t know. It’s just a real fun time to make surfboards because everybody’s riding everything: longboards, short boards, Simmons, fishes … you can do anything right now and it’s a lot of fun!

Ghetto Juice: What’s it been like since Russell’s passing? You’ve really done a great job with the shop, and I know Russell would be stoked…
JP: You know, everybody’s been so supportive which has been really cool, and even all the old dogs who have hung around the shop have been really cool and we had a good team going into it, with Ryan and Balti and brining on O’Keefe was a really good move. So those guys making the boards look nice really helped a lot.

Ghetto Juice: Was it a little scary when you had to take over such a classic surf shop like Russell?
JP: Totally. It still is a little bit. There’s a lot of pressure, all that history and heritage to kind of come in, being a younger guy … we knew what we wanted it to be like but we didn’t want to get too far away from the roots of what that shop is, or was.

Ghetto Juice: What did Russell teach you about running a surf shop?
JP: You know, we just had a lot of fun days at the shop in the summertime. Hanging out and selling boards, and he would just get really fired up when old boards would come in, you know, some of the 70s boards. And just hearing him talk story about the old days was always a really good time. But I think just having the whole team there, with me and Ryan and stuff. There have been a lot of guys who’ve cycled through there over the years, but that’s what it was. The brotherhood aspect of it. I remember when I first wanted to shape a board, and spending time up at the glass shop, just spending time with him going through the works of it.

Ghetto Juice: Now it’s a whole new crew of groms hanging out in the shop and supporting the brand ….
JP: Yeah, Cole and Christian, and a lot of those kids from Harbor have been on the team and surfing good. They’ve been real loyal and are just really good kids. They’ve been stoked on the boards and are always hanging out, getting in a little trouble. It’s fun. It’s fun having them in there hanging out. It brings a good energy to the shop, for sure.

Ghetto Juice: Well it’s pretty cool that you guys are still pretty much the only core surf shop down in the Blackies area. Newport Surf and Sport’s been gone for years. Surfside went up the hill to Costa Mesa and you guys are all that’s left. The only core surf shop in the Blackies area.
JP: I know, there used to be a whole bunch right there and now we’re one of the only ones left. But there’s still a bunch of good shops around us, but we’re the ones trying to hold it down in that area for sure.

Ghetto Juice: So what’s the future hold for Russell Surfboards?
JP: I don’t know. It’s been really cool getting some of these other, bigger shops to carry our boards. That’s really exciting. But that’s a tough question. I think we’re just going to try and keep the soul alive and keep making a lot of boards. It’s cool to see the local guys riding them at 54th —-that always gets me pumped up. It’s been fun having Pirdy riding the boards, you know, that kind of stuff.

Ghetto Juice: Well, keep up the great work, JP! Russell would be proud.
JP: Thank you! I really appreciate it, brother!

Image russell.jpg