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Scarborough surf shop owner says more people are suiting up this winter

Winter surfing is nothing new, but the demand for gear is so strong surf shop owners are having a hard time keeping up.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — The pandemic and the relative isolation that comes with it is prompting a lot of people to try something new. Something they never had the time to do before.

For example, a lot of people appear to be bundling up and grabbing their boards.

Did you think we meant snowboards?

Nope. 

"I was an extreme boogie border, so this was the next step up."

Crystal Ouimette has been surfing almost her entire life.

As the co-owner of Black Point Surf Shop in Scarborough, Ouimette said she has definitely seen more people diving into the cold to catch a wave.

"We got a lot more surfers now," she said.

She thinks, in part, it's because when people are working from home, their schedules are more flexible. So they can surf when the conditions are just right.

"But the issue that we're having is there's nothing. I can't order winter boots if I sell out of them. Winter suits I literally don't have any. I have two women's suits hanging left. That's it."

She said it's likely due to a shortage of the material needed to make the suits, boots, hoods, and gloves.

"Normally we stay super stocked all winter we have access to reorder if we had to, but there's no neoprene there's a crazy rubber shortage just due to production delays more or less."

Even so, after a wipeout of a year, this winter the saltwater will perhaps be as popular as the slopes.

"It's like southern California," she said. "You're like, 'what are these people doing for work? It's like Wednesday at noon what are you doing?'"

Ouimette said one thing to keep in mind is that if you already have a wetsuit that works in the summertime it may not be warm enough to keep you safe in the cold. 

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