Surf Culture -- With board shorts and flip-flops, surfer fashion hits the mainstream at Old Navy and J. Crew

By Lori L. Tharps
Updated June 09, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Surf’s up, and not just in cyberspace. Board shorts, flip-flops, and the Hawaiian-born Hoku (daughter of Don Ho) mean the summer is awash in surf culture. Clothing chains from Old Navy to J. Crew are cashing in on wave-rider styles, while sales at surf-friendly retailer Quik-silver USA will exceed $400 million this year, thanks in part to latter-day Gidgets. The company plans to open its first Roxy store, specializing in ”surfette” clothing and accessories, in Costa Mesa, Calif., this July. Why has everyone hit the beach? ”There’s this identity of the surf community that’s cool and hip,” says Randy Hild, senior VP at Quiksilver USA and himself an amateur surfer. But not everyone is happy to see the Zen of board riding go trendy. ”People who wear these clothes trying to be cool are like people trying to be like Michael Jordan by wearing Nikes,” argues Patrick Polsunas, 19, a surfer and New York City surf shop employee. ”They’re not fooling anyone.”