Ma Simes' Surf Hut, St. David's
High Street, St. David’s, Pembrokeshire SA62 6SD
Ma Simes’ is one of the oldest and best stocked surf shops in West Wales, but you may be wondering where the name came from – so here’s a little bit of British surf history…
Way back in 1979 a bunch of St David’s locals went on a surf trip to Biarritz. One night, sitting around the campfire with the cheap red wine flowing, it was decided that the local surf ‘shop’ needed a proper name – for since it was actually a garden shed it didn’t have one.
At that time when surfing was a very niche sport our local ‘surf shop’ could just about hold up as a viable business in the form of a shed in the garden of Moira Sime, the mother of Nick Sime, one of the surfers sitting around that camp fire – it stocked a handful of boards, wetsuits and surf paraphernalia and being located just above Whitesands also offered hot soup to surfers heading back home after a surf session.
Moira used to wear a pinny a lot of the time and looked just looked like everyone’s idea of a friendly, smiley ‘ma’, so as the owner of the ‘shop’ it was obvious to everyone after a few glasses of red that she should be called ‘Ma Sime’.
And since the ‘shop’ was actually more of a hut or shed than a shop she was clearly the proprietor of Ma Simes’ ‘Surf Hut’. When the business moved to St. David’s a couple of years later the name stuck, as did the logo which was painted for a sign when ‘Ma’ sponsored the North Wales Open Surf Championship in 1980.
Ma has since moved on to the great wave in the sky, but the shop named after her is still run by her son Nick, and it’s nice to know that his surf mad son Jago is also often to be seen in there – when not hitting the waves down at Whitesands.
Interestingly, one of Ma’s other grandsons, Charlie, is now based where the inspiration for the shop’s name came from, working for Quiksilver just outside Biarritz.
So, if you buy your surf requisites at Ma Simes’ you’re not only getting the services of one of the best surf shops in Wales you’re also dipping into a bit of surf history. And whilst you’re there check out the pics upstairs in the board room of the early days of surfing in North Pembrokeshire – there may even be some taken on that long ago surf trip to Biarritz, such as the b&w pic accompanying this entry....
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