"Coffee. Surf. Beer." Besides being a chill guy's Instagram bio, this is also the slogan for Portland's upcoming surf/lifestyle shop Cosube, which will open this fall on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, at the same address as the space once held by afterhours Armenian disco Ararat. They will be the first tenants to occupy the new The Slate building.
The cold water surf shop is designed to fit the Portland surfer lifestyle, which combines local coffee, craft beer and local board shapers, catering to both actual Blue Crushers and the people who have Endless Summer posters in their rooms.
The shop will open at 6 am for coffee, which also makes it one of the earliest places to fill up a growler on your way out to the coast. Besides the basic board rentals, wet suits specifically made for cold water and other surf gear, the shop will sell supplies for a trip to the Pacific—including blankets and even firewood.
The shop's owner Alex Morris has been surfing in Oregon since the early 1990s. After living in Costa Rica, Barbados and San Diego, he says he moved back to Portland and was shocked at how many more surfers we saw at the coast.
"When I started, it felt like there were a dozen people who surfed in Oregon, and now it's just packed," he says.
Morris' observations may be backed up by the fact that by next spring, two more surf shops will open in North and Northeast Portland. Up North Surf Club is set to open on Northeast Killingsworth in late September with a beer-and-wine bar of its own—and the same Kinfolk-on-a-white-sand-beach aesthetic for their website.
"I look at it as less that I can't believe more surf shops are coming—I was more surprised that there hadn't been one yet," Morris says. "Now there's validation that this idea wasn't totally out of the blue."
Morris envisions customers coming in at 6 am to get a cup of coffee and pick up their gear, and then come back for a beer at the end of the day. There will also be a shaping bay that both novice and experienced board shapers can rent out by the hour to practice their craft. Morris wants to showcase local shapers, too, starting with Mike Hall from Blackfern Surf.
The idea isn't new—Morris first got the idea from a surf lifestyle shop called Saturdays in New York City, an equally hip, on-trend surf shop that also sold coffee.
He believes new wet-suit technology will encourage surfing in Oregon, because of newer suits' ability to hold heat.
"There's definitely sort of a romance with surfing. I think people have always had an interest and wonder, but never really had access or equipment that could do it," he says. "I laugh thinking about the first wetsuit I was wearing in 1993 and how inflexible and freezing I was all the time."
Cosube is set to open this fall, in late October or early November on 111 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.