In 1971 Craig Sugihara founded the Town & Country Surf Shop. The beginnings of this venture were humble - an old barbershop in Pearl City Hawaii served as the original storefront. Fueled by an unrestrained passion for surfing and initial start-up capital of $3,000.00 Town & Country has evolved into a multifaceted surf company and has solidified its passion as a worldwide industry icon.
Craig's love affair with the ocean and surfing started long before entering the surf business. Though not a competitive surfer in his formative years, Craig can recall with grom-like stoke his first wave. Craig knew from that experience that he would be surfing for the rest of his life. What Craig did not realize was surfing would eventually define his career, his accomplishments, his lifestyle, and his character.
As a young boy in the early 60's Craig would regularly rent boards from Captain Wata and other Waikiki Beach Boys at George Downing's rental stand. The price of rental was $1.00 per day, but the chance meetings with now famous beach boys like Rabbit Kekai, and stories about Duke Kahanamoku were priceless. The rich history of surfing and the related lifestyle only increased Craig's enthusiasm for surfing. In 1963 Craig's stoke for surfing pushed him to work hard all summer to purchase his first new surfboard - 9'4" Hobie ($134.00).
While many surfers are drawn to the ocean and the act of surfing, few have a real thirst for understanding and creating their own equipment. Craig is one of those exceptions. As his surfing skills improved his interest in the anatomy of the surfboard and its impact on performance increased. The intrigue led to countless visits to Surfboards Makaha between college classes to watch Joe Kuala glassing and glossing, as well as Sparky and Ben Aipa shaping boards. Though attending college at University of Hawaii, Craig's mind was filled with thoughts and theories on board design. He silently dreamed of working at Surfboards Makaha, but this never came to be. This did not deter Craig from pursuing his interest in shaping. Around the same time Craig stripped an old, long forgotten, brown board from the neighbor's house and re-shaped and glassed it. Beneath the brown 'crust' was the bright-white foam of a new board. The completed board was the start of something very special. Not a 'magic' board as performance goes, but certainly a magical board!
The second board was shaped from a blank purchased from Surfline Hawaii. Like the first board this board was shaped and laminated by Craig. As fate would have it, Greg Noll Surfboards had just lost a laminator around the same time. On the urging of his friend Peter Banks, Craig brought his board in to show owner Charlie Galanto his work. They set up two blanks, each glassing the bottom of one. Charlie then left Craig to finish the boards and call him when he was done. After inspecting the work Craig was told "come back tomorrow, you got the job." Though not shaping, Craig was moving closer to his goal. At Greg Noll Surfboards Craig met a number of people that would play key roles in the development of the surfing. Included among these people was Randy Rarick, long-time surf promoter and Director of the Triple Crown of Surfing. This was also the time when Craig first met Makaha's ambassador of surfing - Buffalo Keaulana. Craig would often deliver boards to Buff, these meetings and surf sessions were the start of a lasting friendship.
The years at Greg Noll Surfboards were memorable and provided excellent learning experience, but Craig still wanted to shape. The opportunity came when he was offered a position with Mystic Surfboards in Wai'anae. Having started many friendships with other surfers on the Westside and enjoying the waves at Makaha, the chance to build complete boards made the decision an easy one. Soon Craig was shaping for a number of local standouts, but his passion for surfing still wanted more. About one year later, Craig decided to open his own shop.
In 1971, with limited capital and limitless stoke Craig opened his first shop in Pearl City. At the time Kamehameha Highway was the only access to the North Shore and its many epic waves. The name reflected the shop's position between the two epicenters of surf on Oahu - Town & Country. The strategic position of the shop and quality boards drove strong demand for Town & Country Surfboards. In early years such notable shapers like Glenn Minami and Barry Kanaiaupuni helped Craig meet growing demand. The logo, suggested by a t-shirt artist, has strong graphic character and deep meaning. Most simple and applicable to surfing is - BALANCE. This balance has defined the evolution of Town & Country over the years.