16/02/09 15:52 Filed in: Work
Westbeach grew out of Canada's fascination with California and everything it represented. If Chip had decided to sell shorts with an Eastern European theme we wouldn't be talking today.
Here are some things from the archives. First is an article clippped out of the Calgary Herald from Chip's personal stash from about 1983 or 84.
Next is one of Chip's early business cards.
And finally an old sticker. This sticker is significant because it is a snapshot of the moment in time when Cal B.C. became Westbeach. It's cool to see the single surfer logo that preceded the "three surfers" that everyone knows. Also, Westbeach was never really known for its involvement in skating despite having sold the product for years so it's cool to see the "Westbeach Skate Lounge".
Finally, here is an excerpt from the book that talks about some of those times. Enjoy:
As the kids started to pick up on snowboarding, the retailers inevitably followed—even if they were a little skeptical about the new sport at first. Scott Sibley worked with Chip for Dome petroleum and he also had a business selling sailboats in Vancouver. He was the first to sell Chip’s shorts in BC and as they became more popular his business changed from sailboats to surf and skateboard brands. He and his partner Richard Mellon had a little pink house on 4th Ave. that they called Cal B.C. and they eventually formed a partnership with Chip and the store became Westbeach. Scott remembers his first impressions of snowboarding:
It was so good for us, because all the young guys [were] coming into the store going, “Oh, have you heard of snowboarding?”—you know, bringing input to us—and we’re going, “Oh, really?!” There was a kid called Kelly Alm and he was just on us like crazy about this new thing called snowboarding. He brought in this—it was the Burton with the medical-hose bindings and all of this stuff—and he goes, “Check this out!” And you look at it and you go, “Are you serious?” But, you know, that was my first discussion about snowboarding. And it comes through a kid.
Of course, once Westbeach started to carry boards, things really started to pick up steam. I asked early Westbeach team rider Paul Culling about discovering snowboarding and the role that the shops played in the sport’s development:
I went to Cal BC, which was a little pink house [on 4th Avenue in Vancouver]. It was a California-inspired clothing store, and then downstairs in the basement there was a skate shop, so we used to go over there. It was probably just a matter of hearing that there was a shop in Vancouver that sold some kind of snowboard…When you were a kid and you were skateboarding, you would take the bus clear across to—I mean it—two hours to go to a skate shop, not even if you had any money, [but] just to stare at the new decks on the wall, right? And that’s the kind of feeling of this passion that you have, and you want to go in and you want to talk to somebody else. Back then if you were to see somebody else on a snowboard, anybody to do with snowboarding, you would immediately just talk because you wanted to share experiences—“Where have you gone? What have you done? What are you riding?”—because it was all so new. I mean, everything was new.
In 1987 Cal BC officially became the Westbeach Surf Company, and the store moved out of the little pink house and into the spot that would be the center of the Westbeach brand for more than twenty years: 1723 West 4th Ave.
- From the soon to be published "Out West: Snowboarding, Westbeach and a new Canadian dream"