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Jul 30, 2019 6:14 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Main Beach Surf And Sport, A Wainscott Surf Institution, Is Looking For A New Home

Ciaran and Phinnian O'Hare, from Hershey, Pa. take a surf lesson with Lars Svanberg, right, of Main Beach Surf & Sport Monday in Wainscott. BEN KAVA
Jul 30, 2019 12:34 PM

After 32 years of running a business in Wainscott, the owner of Main Beach Surf and Sport is looking to downsize to a smaller retail spot.

The surf gear and clothing store, which has become an institution among water enthusiasts, will remain open through August, but what will happen after that is unclear, the owner, Lars Svanberg, said on Friday.

“I’d love to stay in Wainscott if we can,” he said, adding that the ideal space would be about half of the current 4,000 square feet.

The surf shop, which is currently conducting a moving sale, has been located at the eastern edge of the Wainscott Shopping Plaza for around 11 years. Prior to that, it was on the corner of Sayre’s Path and Montauk Highway, where a building firm, Michael Davis Construction, currently sits.

Mr. Svanberg explained that business during the winter season is slow, and that, “in recent winters, it’s gotten much slower.” That, combined with yearly increases in rent, led him to decide to move from the Wainscott shopping center into a smaller storefront.

Though Main Beach’s physical address will soon change, its realm stretches beyond the store. Mr. Svanberg operates a summer surf camp—catching waves on Beach Lane, Atlantic Drive, Napeague Lane, and Navahoe Lane—and provides kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals for use on Sagaponack Pond. When the store moves, it will continue to run the camp and rental operations, Mr. Svanberg said, regardless of whether a new retail space is opened immediately.

“We’ve seen generations of families, parents and then their kids, buying surfboards and learning how to surf,” he said.

Mr. Svanberg has surfed in Brazil, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico and Costa Rica, among other places, and has competed in 10 Iron Man triathlons, once coming within a minute of qualifying for the world championships.

He also organizes an annual paddleboarding trip for charity. Taking off from the Montauk Lighthouse and setting their sights for Block Island—a total of 18 miles—he and friends raise money to tackle issues affecting East End children. He is also involved in Surfrider beach cleanups and in Paddle for Pink, a charity paddleboard ride benefiting breast cancer awareness.

Some may know Mr. Svanberg from “The Surf Report,” a daily public announcement on WEHM radio announcing daily surf conditions.

“Lars is more than a business owner,” said Max Vreeland, a surf instructor at Main Beach Surf and Sport. “He is a community leader, and I think a lot of people view him that way.”

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