Surf’s Up At New Spot, The Surf Lot

 Surf’s Up At New Spot, The Surf Lot

By Kami-Leigh Agard

It has been said that post-Hurricane Sandy, Beach 96th Street evolved into being one of the most eclectic and diverse oceanside streets on the peninsula’s west end, and with the recent addition of The Surf Lot, (where the since-closed Moon Lot was located), it certainly is living up to its reputation. From coffee, CBD products, surfboard rentals and lockers, ice baths, outdoor showers, yoga, a vintage clothing boutique, pop-up food vendors, live music, art and more—The Surf Lot’s (TSL) owners, Andrew Oakley and Valerie Amend of Phase Surf, with Sean Robinson of Pharm.NYC, are all optimistic that the space will be a hub for everything surf and wellness in the community. And judging from the scores of locals and visitors—who thronged at their soft opening this past Saturday, July 15—the new Beach 96th Street business is well on its away.

Walk into the brightly painted space, and you’ll immediately see three trailers. The trailer on the right, owned and operated by Oakley’s company, Phase Surf, serves coffee, juices and other beverages, plus functions as a venue for pop-up food vendors. For example, on Saturdays, Just For Keys will be selling their popular Filipino homemade artisanal sweet treats, including the popular Twinkie-inspired dessert, Keyks. Aficionados of the pastry brand may remember the owner, Jae, who used to sell her treats at The Moon Lot. Incidentally, local coffee lovers may also remember Oakley, from Sovereign Surf & Coffee, which he ran inside a 1971 Airstream Trailer, parked between the ferry landing and the Sunoco gas station on Beach Channel Drive.

On the left, Oakley’s second Phase Surf trailer, operated in tandem with his partner Valerie Amand, has dual purposes as it serves as both a clothing boutique and surfboard shop. The boutique’s vintage tee shirts and the surf shop’s surf wear and hand-shaped surfboards are all curated by Oakley and his partner, Valerie Amend, both of whom are originally from Colorado. According to Oakley, some of the surfboards on display were hand-shaped by local surfboard craftsmen, including Jimmy O’Brien, whom he described as the newer generation of shapers. He said, “Jimmy apprenticed with highly regarded local shapers like Joe Falcone. So, Jimmy represents the younger generation of shapers, who we want to support. The overall goal of TSL is to boost local artists and smaller, sustainable brands. People who walk into this space will immediately recognize our overall vibe and mission. Sustainability is a huge push for us.”

The third trailer houses Pharm.NYC, a cannabis company which offers a wide variety of wellness products with CBD. Pharm.NYC was founded by TSL co-owner, Robinson, who lost his mom to a prescription drug overdose when he was two years old. As he got older, he entered the military and saw many of his fellow officers suffering from a number of conditions, ranging from traumatic pain-related wounds to anxiety, depression and PTSD. So, upon leaving the military, Robinson committed to his mission to bring organic plant-based wellness products and education to communities that need them the most. Some products Pharm.NYC sells include CBD tinctures for pain; a pain salve with hemp oil; CBD face, body and skin oil, CBD lip balms and even a CBD pet tincture for pets, who may need help calming down or suffering from achy joints.

In addition, the Pharm.NYC trailer also serves as a brick-and-mortar space, where local vendors can rent a shelf or rack to sell their products. According to Robinson, his trailer and the overall mission of TSL follows their tagline: “Supported for the community, by the community.” Robinson said, “I have sold my products at a lot of farmers markets, and I was on the hunt for a space in Rockaway, where vendors such as myself could sell our products at an actual brick-and-mortar location here with an inexpensive rent rate. So, the Pharm.NYC trailer gives vendors that opportunity.” For example, local clothing boutique Zingara Vintage and Brooklyn’s upcycled clothing store, Tree House, already have rented racks in the Pharm.NYC trailer.

Then, to the rear of TSL, behind the Pharm.NYC trailer, is where the surfboard lockers and showers are located. According to Robinson, the showers are open to everyone, including the homeless.

When Oakley was asked what his inspiration was to usher in TSL’s multi-faceted surf and wellness offerings to the community, in one word, he said, “Rockaway.”

He shared, “Valerie and I are from Colorado, and we were both always drawn to nature, and Rockaway offers that intimate experience with surfing and being by the ocean. I also love how this community connects and supports each other. So, I wanted to give to Rockaway, what it gifted me—friends, community connections and surfing. I wanted to create an experience that connects the community on various levels. For example, local Samantha Cintron of Nature U Wellness will be offering her massage and other services here. There’ll also be other wellness experiences such as the ice baths.

“So, when people enter TSL, they can grab a coffee, and while sipping on their coffee, they could browse through the vintage clothes, surf apparel and boards, and the Pharm.NYC CBD products, also, even grab some food. After surfing, surfers can come here, hang up their wetsuits to dry, take a shower and warm up, while connecting with other surfers and the surrounding community.”

As for the entertainment offerings, TSL will have live music from local bands, comedy shows, art, poetry and more.

And TSL will be a year-round spot. “TSL won’t just be a summertime gig. We’ll scale back the winter hours, and maybe take a break during the year at some point. However, the surf lockers will be open year-round. As a surfer, I personally enjoy the bigger waves the early winter season brings, and I know that surfers coming from Manhattan or Brooklyn would appreciate a space where they can store their board, take a shower and enjoy a cup of coffee.”

If you are a vendor or local business with food, apparel, accessories, wellness products and more, and are interested in renting a space to sell your items, Oakley and Robinson said to reach out via Instagram pages: thesurflot, phase_surf or Also, bands, performance artists and comedians are also encouraged to reach out if interested in performing or exhibiting their work.

Oakley emphasized, “We’re trying to get as many people involved as possible, as we want TSL to offer a variety of experiences for the community.”

Again, as their tagline states: “Supported for the community, by the community.”

The Surf Lot is located at 189 Beach 96th Street. They are open Thursdays through Mondays. Though subject to change, general opening hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more info, follow: surflot on Instagram.

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