Surf Zone Surf and Skate is a little shop with a big following. Tucked away in the Ramey Base area of Puerto Rico, this surfer-skater paradise over looks Surfer’s Beach and has become a destination for surfers and skaters from around the world. So how does a small family owned surf shop survive and thrive for more almost thirty years? The story begins with a young couple looking for a place to surf…
Thirty-eight years ago when Florida natives Bill Gieger and Becky Taylor began spending winter's surfing in Puerto Rico owning a surf shop was not even a thought. But as their time in Puerto Rico turned from seasonal to permanent, Becky thought the area needed a surf shop that understood the needs of surfers. Bill, a well-known surfboard shaper and clothing distributor of surf wear on the island, had an understanding of the market. With Bill’s skill, Becky’s vision, and a passion for wheels and waves, Surf Zone was born.
Becky’s vision was to create a store that met the needs of surfers, skateboarders and body boarders- markets that no one catered to in the area. Becky was uniquely qualified to fill this need. In 1986, Becky’s blueprints became reality, and Surf Zone Surf and Skate was opened.
“Since day one we have been core to this base. Fads may come and go but we are true to our roots.” If anyone knows about staying true to her roots, it’s Becky. Competitively surfing nearly her entire life, she has not ventured far from the field of her expertise. Since 1984, Becky has surfed for the Puerto Rico National Surfing Team and today continues to compete at World Masters Events. “Bill and I still surf everyday, Ponce de Leon was looking for the fountain of youth around here and I think we have found it. Enjoying nature while exercising and doing something you love, it really doesn’t get any better.”
Son Aron, who surfed on tour along side his Mom, helps run the shop. Aron has surfed on both the Quiksilver and Volcom teams and, like his Mom, has been featured in numerous publications, including the cover of Eastern Surfing Magazine. In recent years, Aron has taken an integral role in the store. “He brings new ideas and a fresh perspective to everything.” Becky adds, “Aron also runs our social media and special events.” Free movie premieres, barbeques, skate demos and live band performances make Surf Zone not only the hottest surf shop on the island, but a great place to hang out and have fun.
Today Surf Zone is well known throughout the world as the destination for surfers and skaters who visit Puerto Rico. Famous visitors include Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, Bruce Irons, Steve Caballero, Ben Severson, Jamie Thomas, Chris Cole, Bobby Martinez, Martin Potter to name a few. One famous athlete you might see when you visit Surf Zone is X-Games Gold Medalist and motocross star Tarah Gieger, who recently was featured on the cover of the ESPN Body Issue. Tarah is the daughter of Bill and Becky. She is not only a champion on the motocross track, but can hold her own surfing and skating. “There is nothing better than going home to Puerto Rico and spending time with my family surfing the waves,” said Tarah.
When asked why the store has thrived through the years Becky doesn’t hesitate, “Our longevity is due to being able to change, knowing when something isn't working. Really focusing on customer service. Making sure everyone gets what they are looking for and if not, trying to help them find it, even if that means we didn't make a sale.” She also added, “We are always striving to see what is next in fashion, surf design, you name it. We don't just sit on the current fad, but look for new and fresh ideas, which come not only from Aron but all my loyal and dedicated employees.”
On your next visit to Puerto Rico be sure to stop by and see why Surf Zone Surf and Skate is not like other surf shops; it’s anything but. This island treasure is a must see.