I was gonna title this post ‘Sex Wax & the City’ in fact I actually Googled it in certainty that someone must have used it before but apparently not, in the end though even I couldn’t stomach a pun that far. So whatever lets move on, recently whilst dashing between meetings through a freezing cold Covent Garden I chanced upon Finisterres (newish) London store.
I consider myself fortunate to live in Brighton, due to the fact that atleast on some random days I can drive a few mins from home and score something resembling a surf. I also spend a bunch of time in London, for work and also because I love the place. But if I was stuck in London all the time, like many of my friends who surf, it would be amazing to have somewhere that provided some solace from the city and could fuel the stoke until the next trip to Saunton or Biarritz.
Since Saturdays opened in Crosby Street, New York maybe four or five years ago London dwelling foam and rubber enthusiasts have been thinking, when will this kinda thing happen here? Its only a matter of time? I mean just because you can’t surf in London it doesn’t mean there aren’t any surfers, right? This seemed to be the logic behind Saturdays original concept in New York and they’ve done very well from it.
Now don’t get me wrong theres always been surf shops and many of them sell coffee, but if you know about Saturdays its impossible to not draw comparisons between there and this Finisterre store. For me I’m just glad a brand with genuine surf credentials have taken the plunge here in London. So lets get to the store.
1. Location: I like that they’ve gone for Covent Garden, (just off the Dials towards Soho) Its been a bit off the radar for the last 10 years since the rise of the East (London thats is) but I’ve fond memories of pilgrimages to Covent Garden to visit the original Duffer shop and Slam City Skates so its nice to have a reason the head back that way again.
2. Design: From the outside its got a pleasing Farrow&Ball’y blue facade, kinda like the OG Saturdays in Soho (sorry, but it does) but this is no bad thing. The inside its spacious with scaffold board/pole fittings and thoughtfully reclaimed odds n ends, I especially liked the green metal pigeon holes with Dymo tape labels for housing socks.
3. The Goods: Now I’m not a Finisterre fan boy (or being paid for this post btw) but I have enough of their pieces to know they’re well made and generally hit the mark from a design point of view. So it was good to see a nicely stocked store which seemed to cover their whole range. I was particularly impressed with their new waterproof holdall/backpack, nice features and unlike other change bags its hand-bagage size, which goes to show they know little details a surfer would appreciate. I also had a look at the in-development winter wetsuit, which looks the business and should have you all ebaying your old Patagonias this time next year, when they’re on sale.
4. Boards: Upstairs theres a handful of Gulf Stream logs and fishes, which if you’ve bothered reading this far you know about already. In the basement they have a surprisingly large range of matt white short boards from Quiver (I think?) Which maybe hints that they expect to sell more thrusters to groms and rippers than retro logs to ageing hipsters (thats me btw;) which surprises me.
5. Coffee: I gave it a miss that day as I’d had two meetings earlier so I was cafinatted enough. However I can safely vouch for their supplier, Small Batch. Their roastery neighbours my studio so I spend a lot of time in there and have never had less than a superb cup. Brad the owner is always friendly and he also owns a rad old Bedford truck as a company vehicle. Anyway I digress, as long as the coffees made well it’ll be as good, or better than you’ll find anywhere.
6. Vibes n stuff: All good basically, they’ve a good sized seating area where I noticed a choice range of reading material, Foam Symertry, Wax Magazine and also the excellent Ernest Journal which I recommend you all to check out. A pet hate of mine is shops without music so I was very pleased that they were playing Mac Demarco when I was there. I just hope they have a Jack Johnson ban on the stereo otherwise all their other hard work will have been for nothing. They’ve also a beautiful bunch of free postcards by Al Mackinnon and free stickers on the counter which is a nice touch, especially considering some surf shops have the front to charge for own brand stickers (you know who you are). Most importantly all the staff were super friendly, helpful and seemed stoked on hearing even my boring surf yarns.
Anyway this has gone on much longer than I intended, but a place like this has been a long time coming in London so its been justified the prose. The new Finisterre store is well worth a visit and I hope it remains how I found it on a grim Tuesday for a long time ahead.