I was travelling by myself on a surf trip in Jan-Mar. 1990 and met one of the employees by the name of Byron Lovering. He showed me a lot of aloha, took me surfing around Ulladulla, got to stay at his house instead of sleeping in my beat up Holden which was really appreciated! I also met Kent Saunders and he was super nice to me as well. I left my broken board at the shop before I left for home, sold it and he sent me the money! (see attached letter). Say Hi to Kent for me and if you see Byron say hi to him as well.
Aloha, Dean Otsuki
We moved to Ulladulla in 1991 when I was 17. I loved your surf shop and over the years have purchased lots of surf gear for myself and later for my 3 boys.
About 2 years ago I was in the surf shop looking for school bags for my boys when Kent approached me to see if I required help. We ended up chatting and somehow I blurted out to Kent that a family member was really unwell with depression and that I too had been depressed and was finding it really tough.
Kent was compassionate and encouraging and shared some of his own personal experiences. I walked out of that shop feeling heard and hopeful.
I'm also turning 40 in May - maybe we can party together!!
Thanks for great service :)
Local Milton Ulladulla Area
10/4/2014 0 Comments
I remember buying my first rusty dress and my first rip curl watch from southern man when I was 10. Kent was just as bubbly then as he is now.
I worked at Southern Man for three years and still go back and say hello everytime I go back to ulladulla. Amazing surf shop amazing people.
Gold Coast formally Bawley Point
We love the family orientated surf shop. Kent and Juanita have always taken the time to have a chat, and Kent always speaks with my boys and the boys have a great respect for him.
All the staff are helpful and greet you with a smile.
23 years ago I bought a pair of fins from Kent. After a few months they developed a fault. I returned them expecting the normal "we will send them away and the manufacturer will replace them in due course". But no, Kent went straight to the shelf and gave me a new pair saying "you can't be expected to wait for a replacement, you need them now".
That bought him a loyal customer a I have never had that level of service before. Congrats on 40 years!
Since then we started Christian Surfers and Southern Man has been helpful with donations, word of mouth and advertising.
Southern Man Surf Shop has supported our association for a number of years now, first at our monthly competitions, then at our annual developemnt camp which turned into the Navy Surfing Championships. Now they are supporting our Tri-Service championships.
Kent and Juanita have been a blessing to us, their community spirit is overwhelming. The same can be said for Martyn and his team up at RipCurl. Lovely people who truly have bent over backwards to assist and support in whatever way they can.
Happy Birthday Southern Man.
Navy Surfriders Association
Southern man is the best surf/skate shop on the south coast and you have helped me out by have all the skate and surf stuff I have needed and anything else was looking for.
Southern Man surfs the best!
9/4/2014 0 Comments
To celebrate its 40th birthday, Southern Man Surf Shop will host a monster market day this Friday and Saturday. Shoppers can grab a bargain off the sale tables outside the store in the Woolworths complex during the two-day birthday event. Find some great swimwear, clothing from the top surf brands as well as shoes, bags, sunnies and accessories. “There will be some great specials and something for everyone,” store owner Kent Saunders said.
“It’s our birthday, so there’s no better time to give something back to our customers. “Drop in and grab a bargain on Friday and Saturday.”
KENT and Juanita raised their three boys in the district and always like to give something back to the community that has supported them. When the new shop was built in 1984, the couple lived behind the shop on the Princes Highway in Ulladulla.
Their three sons, Ben, Tim and Martyn, attended Ulladulla Public and High schools and helped run the shop in their teenage years. Tim now manages the new store inthe Woolworths shopping centre, while Marty runs the family’s Rip Curl shop at the top of town and Ben lives in Canberra with a young family of his own.Kent said the community has always been supportive and loyal to his family’s business and he likes to give back to the town.
Over the past 40 years, Southern Man has sponsored hundreds of sporting teams, from soccer and cricket to rugby league and the Mollymook Surf Club as well as up-and-coming surfers. The business has also been involved with school and community events such as the Blessing of the Fleet Festival.
Kent said it was important to have a presence within the community and to be involved in activities such as kids sport. “Children’s sport is so important,” he said. “I’ve always supported anything that gets kids out and about and active. “It’s not just about surfing, we have supported all kids of sporting teams and clubs.”
Individual surfers have gained a helping hand from Southern Man, with some going on to compete at an elite level. Southern Man sponsored Glenn Kelly, as well as Adam Boland, Aaron McKenzie, Steve Dair, Graeme and Brad Parsons, John Gillies, Nathan Marks and Jason ‘Bullfrog’ Evans and many more.
The business now sponsors surfers Scott (Whippy) Dennis, Sean Mawson , Chad Elkins and Beau and Ben Buckpitt along with bodyboarders Stirling Banks and Damien Marty. Kent said the business has been involved with local surfers at a ground level over the years.
He has been an ongoing supporter of the Ulladulla Boardriders Club, Ulladulla Bodyboarders Club, Mollymook Longboarders and the Disabled Surfers Association. In 1984 Kent, in conjunction with the Ulladulla Boardriders, launched the popular Southern Man Surf Off competition which later became the Ulladulla Charity Classic. The event raised up to $4,000 annually for charities, such as fire brigades, Milton Hospital or local families in need, for more than 20 years.
The competition is now run by the Mollymook Longboarders and continues to support local charities. Kent said supporting the community, for him, has always been more than money. “It’s about getting in and volunteering your time and helping at ground level.”
SOUTHERN Man Surf Shop rode the wave alongside some of Australia’s top surf brand when beach culture took off in the early 1980s.
When Billabong, Rip Curl, Quiksilver and Mango, to name a few, introduced their new surf fashion labels, Ulladulla’s little surf shop at the top of the hill jumped on board.
Surf clothing went from guys wearing a pair of shorts in the water, to wanting a whole range of colourful boardshorts, t-shirts and jackets to wear on and off the beach.
Owner Juanita Saunders said Southern Man embraced the popular labels and went from selling a few pairs of shorts a week, to selling hundreds of pairs of boardies in a couple of days. “It went mad in the ‘80s,” she said, “everyone wanted these bright surf clothes.” “Everyone wanted to wear the surf labels that were so big around the country. “At the time, we were the only surf shop in town.”
By the end of the decade, women wanted part of the action and the big names went into ladies wear. Southern Man expanded to stock women’s swimwear and a range of fashions and accessories. Juanita said surf labels have never lost their appeal with women and young girls.
Many smaller labels have come and gone, but the big names are still popular and are leaders in fashion around the world. “The girls like to wear Billabong and Roxy clothing,” she said. “They still have swimmers, shorts and tops, but also a range of dresses, skirts and more dressy styles as well.” She said, along with the rest of the fashion industry, surf fashion was constantly changing and people were always seeking out the latest styles.
“We have new stock every six weeks,” Juanita said. “It is always changing and we have to work hard to keep up and ensure we have the current look. “There are four seasons now, not just summer and winter.”
Kent said Southern Man has continued to focus on surf wear, but has introduced skate wear, including shoes.
“The surf and skate shoes are really big now,” he said.
“It’s always changing. “We never used to sell many thongs, but now people want surf brand thongs and we sell hundreds of pairs.”
Surf fashion is not just about summer clothing, winter is just as big for Southern Man with loads of jackets, wetsuits, jeans and fashions from the big name brands.
THE staff at Southern Man Surf Shop havealways prided themselves on being friendly
and knowledgeable about their products.
Kent and Juanita try to remain in the background, while allowing the younger generation to be the face of their business.
An avid skateboarder, their son Tim has introduced a new flavour to the shop, with a range of skating gear, accessories and clothingavailable. “Skate and street wear is really popular at the moment,” Tim said. Tim said, with a lot of good young skaters in town, it was important to provide a good range. “If there’s no surf, skating is a great way to keep on a board,” he said.
Sam Anderson, Sarah Richmond, Natasha Saunders and Jon Thomson, along with a host of casuals, work alongside Tim, Kent and Juanita at the new store.
Martyn Saunders runs the new Rip Curl shop with Danielle Evans, Bryce Gage and Perry Mason, who has been with the company since 1992.
Kent said it was important for his staff to be friendly and know their product. They attend training workshops in merchandising to ensure the shop remains fresh, bright and current, while Sarah is completing her Certificate III in Retail.
WHEN Southern Man opened its doors, local surfboard shapers were churning out the latest boards sought after by surfers up and down the coast.
Kent said people would flock to the shop to see the latest models and to meet the local shapers.
Mark Richards’ boards were the first sold by Southern Man, with Ulladulla Surf Board Co by Bruce Heggie and Swift Stix models by Terry Glass soon to fill the racks.
Kent said Skip and BK boards were also popular. “People from out of town would come to see these guys and buy local boards,” he said.
“They lived and breathed surfing and their boards were brilliant.”
While most of the shapers have moved on, Southern Man still sells Vern Jackson surfboards made by the Lake Tabourie local.
Surfboard styles and shapes have changed a lot over the years, with many surfers now owning a selection of boards, from longboards to short, fast models.
ULLADULLA’S iconic Southern Man Surf Shop is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. What started out as a small surf shop and jeanery in the Top of Town complex, has grown into one of the South Coast’s largest surf stores. David and Joy Matthew opened the original store in April 1974 and the Saunders family took over the business five years later.
In 1984, Ulladulla businessman Joe Pirrello built the small Southern Man shop on the Princes Highway which soon became a destination for surfers from up and down the coast. Kent and Juanita Saunders moved to Ulladulla in 1979 and started in Saunder’s Menswear in the CBD, but it wasn’t long before Kent decided to ‘swap jobs’ with his parents Nan and Joe, and the modern couple with one young child took the helm at the surf shop.
The little store at the top of the hill boomed in the early ‘80s as Australia’s surf culture continued to grow. “Before then, surfers had a board and a pair of shorts – that was about it,” Kent said. “But in the early ‘80s things started to change and people wanted to wear surf labelled clothing. “We steered away from the jeans and introduced more of the bright, colourful surf gear that was really coming into fashion.”
The ongoing introduction of surf boards, body boards, wetsuits and surf accessories meant the shop soon outgrew its space. Five major renovations were carried out since 1984. Kent said the introduction of women’s surf clothing and swimwear was huge for the business. “In the early 90s the big names like Billabong, Quiksilver and Rip Curl became popular with the girls and ladies,” Juanita added.
“They started with shorts and t-shirts, but it wasn’t long before those companies were selling bikinis, dresses and beach clothing for women as well as men. “Surf fashion really took off.” Southern Man Surf Shop became an icon for clothing and surfboards on the south coast.
Kent said people would drive from Sydney and Canberra to visit the store and check out the latest boards and fashions. “We sold boards made by locals, so surfers would come in and talk to the shapers and see what they were working on,” Kent said. “There was a really strong grass roots surf culture in this town.” He said Southern Man paved the way for surf fashion on the coast and opened its doors at a time when surfing was on the crest of big changes in Australia.
About five years ago, Kent and Juanita decided they needed to move into bigger premises to meet growing demand. “We just ran out of room and started to think about moving,” Kent said. “When Woolies was developing the new complex, we decided to work with them to design a modern, bright shop with access from the shopping centre and the highway.” The modern new Southern Man Surf Shop opened its doors in 2012 and is twice the size of the old store. The shop, run by the Saunders family, took out the Fit-out of the Year title at the 2013 Australian Surf Industry Awards and has set the standard for other surf shops and brings a touch of city-styling to the coast.
Kent said the business has diversified and now offers a range of surf fashion, boards, wetsuits and shoes, along with skateboards and accessories. He said surf fashion was still in high demand and was constantly changing, with new styles in store every six weeks. Despite the move and the expansion, Kent said the family-run business continued to operate with a focus on surfing, with the same great service and the best brands still available. “We have retained our loyal customers and we’re still the same, privately-owned coastal country town surf shop we’ve been since 1974,” he said.
Congratulations Southern Man - Ulladulla's Original Surf Shop - Since 1974. Now part of the Woolworths Ulladulla Shopping Centre in your award winning store.
Donut King Ulladulla, Flight Centre Ulladulla, Telstra Ulladulla, Horizon Credit Union Ulladulla, Jems Newagency Ulladulla, Capital Chemist Ulladulla & Woolworths Ulladulla.
Woolworths Ulladulla - Australia's fresh food people - Plus 7 specialty stores on the corner of the Princes Highway and South Street Ulladulla.
BSP Chartered Accountants (Burchers Services Proprietary) wish to congratulate Kent, Juanita and the Southern Man team for a wonderful and successful 40 years in business. The are pioneers of the Australian surf shop and one of the first to open accounts with the major surf retailers. Their hard work, long hours and dedication to perfection is pivotal to their success.
Thank you for the partnership we have had together over many years and look forward to your continued success in the future.
BSO Chartered Accountants and Southern Man Surf - Celebration 40 years
7/4/2014 0 Comments
Congratulation to the Saunders Family, on such a successful history of surf retail in Ulladulla.
We appreciate your committed approach to the spirit of surfing, and for keeping it true, core and real for so long.
On behalf of all the crew at Rip Curl Australia we say thank you and celebrate this milestone with you.
The Search is Everything!
I can remember when I was younger about 11 years ago when I was purchasing my 1st surfboard off Kent in the smaller surf shop where Rip Curl is now. My Dad was bartering with Kent to get the best deal. It was custom made by BK and I only just sold it last month. The whole 'experience' was very funny. Happy Birthday Southern Man!
The fist thing I ever brought from Southern Man Surf Shop was the coolest bikini about 2 or 3 years ago.
In about 2002 we had a basketball team called the Southern Man Shooters and we played in a friendly comp up at the Milton Show Ground. It was great fun... I don't we ever had many points on the board but we definitely had some post game beers and parties.
Nathan Pomfret from Gerringong
Kent and Juanita employed me one summer as a 17 year old back when Southern Man was up the top of the hill. It was pretty fun working in a surf shop. I'm pretty sure I just stood near the sunglasses cabinets all day! Haha.
Jack from Surry Hills
I remember getting my 1st Rip Curl wetsuit from Southern Man when I was on holidays down there. Back then it was the best thing but at the same time thinking back it was rock solid. I would love to compare how flexible it is to my new Flashbomb Steamer! But maybe it's the surfer not the wetsuit. Happy Birthday Guys!
Johny from Para
As a kid I can remember hanging at race course beach Ulladulla, egg bacon and rolls, and helping my dad judge the board riders. Man.. there was always a good feed back then. Marty from Ulladulla.
- 2014 Runners Up NSW Retailer of the Year
- 2013 Australia Surf Shop Fitout of the Year
Phone: (02) 4454 0343
T7, 119 Princes Highway
Lower Level Woolworths Centre
ULLADULLA NSW 2539
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