The original Waterboyz were a group of Pensacola Beach surfing talent that ruled the waves of the Emerald Coast in the mid-eighties. And the group probably would have stayed just that had it not been for vision and determination of one of its members. On a surfing trip to the Atlantic Coast in the autumn of '88, Sean Fell purchased his first surfboard blank, and was soon after shaping boards for all of the other 'boyz. These first boards proved popular in the scene, and eventually Sean was shaping for surfers outside of his tight knit group of friends. And after a girlfriend of one of the other Waterboyz had t-shirts made as Christmas presents the following year, more than just the boards were in high demand. After spending a few years shaping in garages and screen printing shirts on a press made out of a motorcycle tire and other miscellaneous parts, Waterboyz needed serious warehouse space to accommodate its growing list of local customers.
Waterboyz's first warehouse was on Navy Boulevard. The larger space allowed for increased production of shirts and boards, with Sean and co. soon expanding beyond their Florida limits. Now, instead of only getting local business, the Waterboyz brand was being sold as far away as California, Texas, and even Puerto Rico.
CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
Always evolving and looking for a better way to reach the public, Waterboyz moved again. The new location on Gregory Street included not only the shaping shop and printing press, but also a retail storefront where Sean could have direct interaction with his customers. It was in these early retail days that Waterboyz would attain an important addition to the family: shaper and longtime friend, Rick Bullock. Rick brought with him years of experience in the shaping business, adding a layer of legitimacy to the young business.
With the retail side outgrowing the wholesale side, it was time for another move for Waterboyz. The new location was inside Cordova Mall, where many of you may remember seeing it for the ten years it occupied the space. The new small store had its drawbacks, however; Sean was back to shaping and printing in a small garage behind his house in Gulf Breeze.
RETURN TO DOWNTOWN
After leaving the mall location, and spending a brief stint in the Target shopping complex on Bayou, Waterboyz found its current home on 9th Avenue in 2007. Waterboyz was back downtown! The new space, a former antique shop, is the largest yet, and includes an indoor skatepark along with the shape shop and screen printing. The most important move in the brand's history, Waterboyz finally has a true place to call home. The new shop, with everything under one roof, allows Sean to be a part of all aspects of Waterboyz, keeping his vision of the brand focused.