POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA
Ron Jon rules, surfboard or not
Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach still sells every imaginable kind of surf-oriented gear and trinket -- 24 hours a day. (Ron Jon Surf Shop / April 14, 2003)
First I came clean on my Soundboard music blog that I was utterly sick of enduring 1980s pop-star soap-opera heartthrob Rick Springfield, then followed that with the equally stunning admission that I really liked his concert in Orlando.
Now comes the admission that, after a lifetime in Florida, I made my first visit to the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, at the corner of state roads A1A and 520 in Cocoa Beach. It was a beachside road trip for another concert, always a good occasion to engineer a collision between my day job and my night job.
It was a cloudless, breezy day that made me feel as if I were a surfer, even though I did a good job to keep from breaking some important bones on a skateboard back in the day.
Inside the store, the 52,000 square feet of merchandise made it hard to keep my hang-10 fantasy under control as I ran my fingers over the fiberglass boards on the second floor.
"I could do this," shouted the inner voice that so often gets me into trouble. "No, you can't," responded the skeptical looks of the other shoppers, dressed appropriately in flip-flops and baggy shorts compared with my blue jeans and pointy cowboy boots.
If you want something with a surf theme, it's here:
Bobble-doll hula gals that stick on your dashboard ($6.99) were on the shelf next to a row of $20 ukuleles, a legitimate temptation for two-fer impulse buy. On the ground floor, next to the indoor waterfall, there were enough sandals to accessorize an army of vacationing sand people.
Bamboo wind chimes. Stocking caps. About a million stickers. Ron Jon T-shirts, paddle sets, baseball caps, floppy hats. It's the place to buy a pair of Vans crib shoes, if you have $22.98 for a fashion to statement to be quickly outgrown. Somehow, a lone shelf of NASA souvenirs made it into the mix.
I was fascinated.
Outside, I wandered across a walkway to the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum, where a suggested $2 donation offers the chance to look at an honored local son. Cocoa Beach's own Kelly Slater is an 11-time surfing champion, a Lance Armstrong with sunscreen.
The museum also is the spot to rent surfboards by the hour, day or week.
Surfboards? This could be my chance.