The Surf & Adventure/Ocean Rentals story begins back in 1974 with a couple of beach chairs and a few umbrellas. Tom Shell Sr. opened up Ocean Rentals Ltd. and started renting beach equipment to the visitors of the Sandbridge area. In those days, Sandbridge was a much simpler place, with its notoriety and mystique emerging from its “escape from it all” feel.
As more and more people discovered the remote beaches of Sandbridge, demands changed and the Shell family continued to build Ocean Rentals and its operations.
The demand to provide vacation linen rentals eventually arose, prompting Ocean Rentals to provide a comprehensive linen service. The operation started by providing rental bedding for Sandbridge’s vacation homes and has since also added a business-to-business laundry service serving Southside Hampton Roads. Ocean Rentals is also partnered with Eggleston Services, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to placing people with disabilities into the work force. Click on the video below to learn more about our relationship with Eggleston, which recently recognized Ocean Rentals as an “Eggleston Champion.”
Following a successful opening run to the business, Ocean Rentals established the Sandbridge Life Saving Service to provide surf rescue service for Sandbridge Beach. The service patrolled the beach for 31 years, and during that time, it became obvious that an outdoor outfitter was needed to serve the area.
Originally located in a small building on Sandbridge Road, Ocean Rentals gave rise to Sandbridge Eco Sports in 2000, serving as the foundation for great things to come. The shop provided essential beach equipment from boardshorts to surfboards and added surf lessons as well as kayak tours.
In 2006, Sandbridge Eco Sports morphed into Surf & Adventure Co., and with the name change came the transition to its current surf shop model — as well as the now-iconic pinwheel logo.
By 2008, the shop expanded its retail capabilities to provide men’s, junior’s and kid’s clothing, footwear, sunglasses, wetsuits, surfboards, hard goods and just about everything else to keep surfers and stand-up paddleboarders stoked in and out of the water.
As always, we continue to offer surf and stand-up paddleboard lessons, as well as kayak and stand-up paddleboarding tours from the Back Bay waterway that runs along the back edge of our property.
Surf & Adventure Co. currently serves as a retailer for major surf brands Billabong, Hurley, O’Neill, Rusty, Xcel, Reef, Von Zipper, Electric, Sanuk, Dragon, Smith and carries a fleet of boards from Global Surf Industries, Boardworks and locally-made shapes from Mike Clark and Mike Rowe.