It’s ‘Aloha Day’ for a longtime local institution
After 24 years as a Crescent City institution, Noll Surf and Skate will close at the end of the month.
Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson Owner Beverly Noll with one of the carvings done by her son, Rhyn Noll: “I learned early on, that I just had to roll with wherever his creativity led him.”
Store owner Beverly Noll is welcoming everyone to reminiscence about the good times during an “Aloha Day” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the shop, 275 L St.
“We want to be positive with the community when we leave,” Beverly said. “We’ve had good times, good customers; there’s a lot of positive feel in here.”
Twenty-four years ago, her son Rhyn Noll asked her if she’d help him open a surf shop in town. “I said yes, and that I’d give him a year,” Beverly said. “Now I’m 24 years in.”
The entire Noll family, from Beverly to grandchildren, have been fixtures in the shop, as well as the regional surfing family that have considered it a “home base” in many ways, Noll said.
The family put Crescent City on the surf scene circuit by starting the popular Noll Longboard Classic, which wrapped up its 16th and final contest last fall.
Rhyn crafted the majority of the surfboards sold in the shop.
“At the time when Rhyn was making them he became the local shaper that everyone wanted to have — they wanted his work,” Noll said. “His work was a labor of love.”
A shop wall toward the back is covered with a collage of photographs of Rhyn’s hand-crafted boards held by their happy new owners. Below the collage sit albums filled with more photos of the same vein.
The Noll shop is a veritable surf and skateboard museum with ceiling racks displaying old-style surfboards made of balsa and redwood loaned by collectors. Until recently, the Guinness World Record-holding longest skateboard, crafted by Rhyn at just over 20 feet, hung above with the boards.
Rhyn rode the board down the winding, paved part of Howland Hill Road for the record books “with a great degree of difficulty,” Beverly said.
Rhyn’s wood carvings of surfboards, skateboards, suns, redwood trees, ukuleles, and tikis demonstrate his breadth of craftsmanship.
“When Rhyn walked through that door, I never knew what he would be carrying in,” Beverly said. “In the early days, I told him, ‘I need surfboards! I need surfboards!’ Then I learned early on, that I just had to roll with wherever his creativity led him.”
Community members aren’t as modest about Beverly Noll’s importance for the local surfing community, but she stresses Rhyn’s role.
“He was the master — and I do emphasize master — craftsman, artist, creator, and idea person of our partnership; I watched the store,” she said. “
Last year, Rhyn moved to Hawaii, the surfer’s paradise. “The combination of the two of us together worked,” Noll said. “My older grandchildren, Dane and Remy Noll, worked in the shop for quite a few years. They are now off to college, and now it is time to move on.”
Noll hasn’t been too vocal about the closing, relying on the shop’s “diehard cast from youth to adults to senior adults” to spread the word. “The drums beat loud among those people.”
Noll described a man that came in recently with his son, glanced around the shop, looking dumbfounded by news of the closing, and he reminisced about buying his first surfboard as a teenager at Noll Surf and Skate.
“Since I was a little kid, we’ve been coming here. It’s the only place in town to get skate equipment,” said Jenny Campbell, Rhyn’s sister-in-law, who’s helped out at the shop in the last couple months. “The feel of this place is really homey and Bev is an absolutely amazing woman.”
Noll is not leaving the community, and remains involved in a number of capacities, primarly marine safety education through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary and Alaska Marine Safety Education.
Campbell’s sentiment exemplifies the bittersweet finale: “It’s been a pleasure; it’s sad to see it go.”