When longtime surfer Harley Pearlman was a kid, he shopped at Marin Skate Sports in San Rafael, now the location of his own store, Triumph.
The store sells skateboarding clothing and accessories as well as a variety of "cool looking" items for guys and gals.
Pearlman, 31, said that the surfing and skateboarding communities are closely tied.
"We would skate when the surf was flat." Harley said.
Skateboarding clothes are more about style than function. There are no particular rules about which clothing item works better for the sport. Triumph has some of the lesser known brands like The Hundreds, Manik, Huf, and 10 Deep. These brands can be found worldwide but Triumph is probably the only store in Marin that carries them.
In addition, Triumph has its own line of clothing inspired by the things its owner and manager see around town.
"About 80 percent of the merchandise is just cool clothes for school or to wear on the street," Pearlman said. "Triumph appeals to a broad range of people from their teens to mid-30s."
Triumph store manager and San Rafael resident Evan Johnson started skateboarding when he was 10 years old. He's just back from New York where he skated all over Manhattan. He took his skateboard into many restaurants, stowing it under the table for safe keeping.
Johnson can answer any question about skateboarding, said Pearlman.
The most important thing for skateboarding is the shoe. Unlike regular athletic shoes, which have a thick sole for cushioning against hard pavement, the sole for a skateboarding shoe is thinner, so the skateboarder can feel what is underneath his or her feet and so that the skateboarder can move his or her ankle to direct the board. Even with the high-top limited edition Nike SBs ($70 to $100), Pearlman said, you are able to move your ankle. Huf makes low-cut, mid- and high cut-shoes ($70 to $85), which come in great colors.
The store also stocks backpacks, sunglasses, denims, T-shirts, caps, and, of course skateboards, which run from $50 for the deck to $120 for a complete board, including wheels, trucks and bearings. Some of the board brands are Manik, Girl Chocolate, Real, Anti Hero, Krooked Habitat, Alien Workshop and Ender, which is owned by Shane Reuter, a San Rafael skateboarder.
Triumph also sells its own brand of skateboard.
The store sponsors a skateboarding team and the members have been close for years. They throw events to give back to the community, giving kids in the area something to look forward to. Some Triumph recent events have been release parties and skate jams. Sign up on their Web site to read skateboarding blogs and find out about upcoming events and store news.
Some skateboarders start as early as age five, but by about 30, Pearlman said, "you are busier and you sort of get over it."
For him, surfing was his primary thing, so he says he's more of a surfer these days than a skateboarder.
Most skateboarders on the street travel light, with just their clothes and a backpack, especially if they are school age. In the skateboarding parks, a helmet is required.
In San Rafael, skateboarding is not allowed on Fourth Street, but it is fine on Third Street, and there is a big park in Novato where many Triumph customers can be seen practicing their tricks.
Pearlman said a longer board with bigger wheels is best for transportation while a shorter board, called a regular board, is best for tricks. Like most sports, the ability to perform tricks depends entirely on the skill and tenacity of the athlete.
"Skateboarding is a lifestyle. It's always different. There is no routine," Johnson said. "You can really express your individuality through skateboarding."
907 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA