Pacific Beach’s Surf Lounge is full of beans and boards
Owners are focused on being eco-friendly and committed to sustainability
The rich aroma of fresh brewed, fair-trade coffee streams from the beverage cart outside the cozy, kitschy, sustainable surf shop on Turquoise Street, the original Gordon and Smith surf shop location, and pulls you right in.
Just shy of their first year anniversary, the pair of sea-loving owners of Surf Lounge, Alex Kelso and Derek Framinan, greet surfing buffs and coffee aficionados with a refreshing effervescence.
Their talents and interests are perfectly blended like the lattes they whip up seven days a week.
Framinan, a former navigation officer aboard a merchant ship, and Kelso, a Daytona Beach denizen who loves surfing and experimenting with recipes, opened their brick and mortar in August 2021 “to make Surf Lounge a fun community surf coffee shop with occasional events like a summer kick off block party so people can get to know us,” Framinan said.
Want to visit?
Address: 763 Turquoise Street, Pacific Beach
Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
The former seaman stands at the helm of the surfing side of the shop that involves rentals and sales of boards on the rack, along with shaping the foam for custom boards in the on-site shaping bay.
Surf Lounge also sells beach accessories of all manners, such as, ethically made lounge wear like organic cotton T-shirts, recycled beach towels, blankets and hats, along with insulated tumblers, organic sunscreen and surfboard wax, leashes and super durable beach bags constructed from up-cycled boat cover material.
Everything in the shop is eco-friendly reflecting the owners’ diehard commitment to sustainability. Framinan also gives private board shaping lessons by appointment.
If you’re not a surfer dude, “you can at least grab a cup of coffee and take it to the beach, or hang out and sip the fresh brews on the outdoor deck,” said Kelso, a self-proclaimed baristo who runs the coffee, drink and snack portion of the business.
Kelso concocts everything from espressos, cold brews and iced coffees to regular drip coffees, lattes and bullet blends with a dollop of pasture-raised, grass-fed ghee butter “to give a dose of long-lasting energy throughout the day.” The beans are a fair-trade, single-sourced blend from Oaxaca, Veracruz and Guerrero, Mexico specially roasted for Surf Lounge.
Kelso, who also prides himself with a keen olfactory and palate, has been tinkering with artisanal flavor combos and has created 35 simple syrups from scratch to amp up lattes, iced coffees and cold brews. Some of his most impressive ones include blueberry basil, coconut vanilla, banana nutmeg, lavender and spiced cookie, his grandma’s recipe that’s reminiscent of a gingerbread snap.
Kelso also whips up organic, custom smoothies with such add-ins as acai, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peanut butter, blue spirulina and matcha powder, blended with whole milk or oat milk, never almond milk as that violates their environmentally-conserving ethos since the nut is a thirsty crop, requiring an “obscene” quantity of water to produce.
“Our main focus is creating as little a carbon footprint as possible, while providing the best quality product for our customers,” Kelso said.
Surf Lounge uses 60-day compostable cups, corn plastic for clear cups, agave straws and even offers a discount to customers who bring their own mugs, as well as containers for beans to-go.
While the surf/coffee shop does not yet have a food permit, it still offers some take-away treats like protein bars and authentic New York-style bagels from Best Coast Bagels sold on weekends.
There’s a steady stream of customers, mostly locals and seasonal tourists, but it’s growing every month embracing the shop’s motto: surf — lounge — repeat.
I’ll drink to that!