“The support from the community was unbelievable — so many volunteers came down to help,” said Dave Juan, co-owner of Unsound surf shop, a week after the store reopened its doors — and more than five months after it sustained significant damage during Hurricane Sandy.
Because the store’s interior was destroyed by floodwater and sewage, Juan and his business partner, fellow surfer Mike Nelson, were forced to deal with the enormous task of gutting and rebuilding the entire space.
Though their Quiksilver store in Oceanside sustained less damage in the storm and has since reopened, the flooding at Unsound caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
Juan and Nelson opened the business, at 359 E. Park Ave., in 1997, and it has become a hub in the local surf community. Unsound organizes a number of pro surfing contests and events throughout the year, and is largely credited with bringing the Quiksilver Pro New York contest to the city in 2011, an event that gave national attention to Long Beach and East Coast surfing.
“They’ve always really supported the community, and they’re very generous toward donating to everyone, including our foundation,” said Rockville Centre resident Martin Brull, a local surfer and a co-founder of the Tommy Brull Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money to benefit people with physical, mental and emotional challenges.
“They’ve done art auctions and other things to help local people and organizations — they always support the youth of the community through surfing and skating, in addition to setting up both pro and amateur surf contests,” Brull added. “They’re solely responsible for the promotion of [pro surfer Balaram Stack] and supporting real hard-core surfing. They have the only pro contest in New York besides the ASP world tour, and they’re responsible for Quiksilver coming here as well.”
Unsound, Juan said, did not have flood insurance. All of the merchandise was ruined — boards and other items were floating in sewage-tinged floodwater — and the store had to be gutted. Juan said the past five months were a challenge, as they dealt with insurance and other issues.