FTW — Find the Waves
This letter is in response to the recent drama surrounding the opening of the new surf shop on Beach 116 Street.
Bob Vaughn, the proprietor, was very open and forthcoming about his past both in California and in New York City — to all the people he has met, the reporters who came to his shop for an interview and the 100 Precinct. Perhaps a little too forthcoming but it was the decision he made. I bet, however, that his intention was not to alarm parents and others about what past mistakes he's made but to put his situation out on the table and start fresh with a clean open slate in a new community. I'm sure his approach was to cleanse his own conscience and not have any skeletons in his closet should anyone go digging into his past.
I have met Mr. Vaughn and he appears to be a stand up guy with good intentions. I agree with his marketing approach in that he needs to connect with the kids on a level that gets their attention, however, I wouldn't want to be the person trying to connect street cred with surfing in a community that has seen its fair share of devastation and despair. It seems like a tall order.
We have great kids in this community. But they need to grab onto something that they can be involved with. If the local kids are not into sports or cannot get into the programs due to overcrowding or being out of parish, and they take up surfing - there is only one store in the community that supports them - Boarders Surf Shop. Boarders has been sponsoring the kids since they opened with the Richie Allen Memorial Surf Classic, RockStock and Barrels and other endeavors. What our kids need are more shops like Boarders that will support the surf community and not just stuff their pockets full of green.
From the looks of things, FTW is already the rave with the kids and some parents, too. Moms and Dads are sporting FTW stickers on their cars and the kids are really psyched to be involved in a "cool" surf shop.
Mr. Vaughn, it is imperative that you take responsibility for your actions and support the local surfers through responsible marketing and
Letters active participation and promoting of surf contests, skate contests, etc. Between FTW and Boarders, Rockaway could be on the map as far as the future of New York City surfing.
I wish him the best of luck in his endeavor and look forward to hearing a great success story from somebody who apparently has had his fair share of tough times and most importantly the kids that will be supported and heard through the prospective efforts of your establishment.