was July 1983 when Wato and his mate Michael Beaumont met up to talk about how hard it was to get surf gear in Avalon. The only surf shops around at the time were Nat Young's store in Mona Vale and
Wicks at Collaroy. "Maybe we should open a surf shop." Said the guys. And so they looked around for the right premises.
The budding young business owners found just the right spot in North Avalon and for just $80 a week in rent. They thought, even if it didn't make money, they could pick up glasses at the pub to make ends meet. To fill that first shop with stock, they spent $2,500 in total and opened the doors to the Avalon community.
Wato recalls, "Sunbreaker was big in Avalon at the time and they had a warehouse in the lane behind Mitre 10. We got a credit line from them and stocked their gear." But it wasn't all easy. "We struggled initially to get brands." Said Wato, "We went to Quiksilver, they said we'd have to prove ourselves to them by staying in business for a year."
In those early days when fluoro and lightning bolts were all the rage, when the surf industry and the big brands were in their prime, you could find classic Quiksilver, Hot Tuna, Mambo, Rip Curl, Billabong, Cheetah, Piping Hot, Oakley, Ray Bans and Stussy in store at Beach Without Sand.
Always one to provide a superior product and service Wato tells of the days before the internet ordering. "I'd go into town once a week to look at the nice shirts. I'd handpick 20 shirts each week and bring them back to the shop as something different to what the other surf shops were offering. It was in the era when Moby Dick's was going very well over the weekend and people often wanted nice shirts to wear out."
It wasn't long before business started going well for the guys. They never had to pick up glasses at the pub to make rent. So towards the end of the '80s, Wato and his wife Anna took up two more shop fronts. One in the Avalon CBD and one in Newport. Both remained into the early '90s before closing.
It wasn't until 2008 that Matt Grainger referred the new owner of Aloha Surfboards, Greg Clough, to Wato. Greg had a lot of boards to move to tidy up the business and when his mate purchased a shopfront and apartment at Palm Beach he got in touch with Wato to see if he wanted to run the shop, sell the boards and give him the remainder of the shop space for Beach Without Sand gear. Since that time the Palm Beach store has provided board and wetsuit hire as well a huge range of the seasonal women's bikinis and fashion.
In 2016 Wato took notice that a number of the older stores in Mona Vale had closed down or relocated. "At one point there were three surf shops in Mona Vale." Said Wato. "It was Surfection, Division and Raised By Wolves. After they all closed, we thought it would be a good opportunity to find the right space for a Beach Without Sand store for the growing area around Warriewood and Bayview."
In addition to the expansion of the stores, Wato also rewarded Chris Friend's loyalty, professionalism and passion for his business by making him part owner. Kong continues to put his all into the business and community.
In 2018, Beach Without Sand is proud to celebrate 35 years of operation. Since day dot, Wato and the team has strived to have the best quality surf products on the shelves, provide the most extensive product knowledge and to support the local community.
He's stoked to now support the Avalon community not-for-profit 1% For The Community as well as be a continued supporter of the North Avalon Surf Riders Association as well as numerous fundraisers and local events.
Beach Without Sand are also proud to uphold their satisfaction guarantee in that if you're not completely happy with your product you can bring it right back for an exchange or refund.
From all the team, thank you for your support!