Earlier this week, the Hughes family closed the doors to the old Raglan Surf Co building for the very last time. They took with them 25 years of memories, that have since become the foundation of their new home, just two doors down.
For anyone who has been through town in the past few months, you might have noticed the old Vinnies building getting a bit of a facelift. With some fresh paint, new signs and some proper TLC, the Hughes family has brought new life into one of Raglan’s oldest buildings.
The late Craig Hughes opened Surf Co with his wife, Liz, in 1992, fuelled by his passion for surfing, his talent for making surfboards and his deep love for Raglan.
The Surf Co quickly became one of Raglan’s most progressive surfboard factories in New Zealand, with mastercraftsman Craig at the helm and a handful of skilled locals backing him up.
In the early 2000s, the manufacturing side of things moved just out of town, which allowed Surf Co to further evolve as a retail shop through the vision of Craig and Liz. The pair took the building from a dusty factory into what would be known for a time as “Raglan’s surf shop”, and a home away from home for both the Hughes family and many others.
With the passing of Craig in 2013, new changes presented themselves to the family, and a collective decision was made to find a new home for Raglan Surf Co and continue what their father had started.
Like Raglan Surf Co, the old Vinnies building holds a history all its own. Originally built in the late 1800s, it was one of the first buildings in town, so it is quite fitting that the two local icons have been moulded into one.
And while the past 10 years have seen various food offerings coming out of Vinnies, the remodelled space seems to perfectly hold its new occupants.
In the middle of the freshly finished (surf)board room upstairs, stands the very first board shaped by Craig when he was just 14-years-old. A representation of his legacy, a taonga of the Hughes family.
The new board room will serve as the home base for Hughes Surfboards, the family label established by their father over 15 years ago. The room is a place where surfers young and old can go, whether beginners or advanced, and take advantage of the knowledge of the Hughes family.
With more space to work with, comes the opportunity to further expand and share their surfing experiences both in and out of the water. It is also a space where custom board ideas can become a reality—utilising the knowledge passed down by Craig, they continue to shape and finish the boards locally.
To complement the board room, there is a hire room downstairs where both boards and wetsuits will be available. The addition of these areas connects Surf Co full circle to the original passion of their father.
The move lays ground for a new chapter of their story to be written and gives the family and their third generation surfer children the opportunity to evolve Raglan Surf Co and Hughes Surfboards in a new and vibrant space.
A space where they can share what Surf Co is, not just as a “surf shop” but as a place where anyone can walk in off the street and learn the fundamentals of surfing through the legacy of Craig.
Raglan Surf Co can now be found at 7 Wainui Road, with the same great quality and service as before. Stop by their new space to say hello, share your memories of the old building and start making new ones with them.
Originally published on 22 June 2017 in the Raglan Chronicle