- First Surfboard: Morey-Pope John Peck Penetrator with slipcheck.
- Favorite Surf Spots: Vezeland, Spanish House and Rivermouth (Costa Rica).
- Favorite Surfer: Nat Young.
- The Reason I surf: The Freedom to express yourself.
The man behind it all, Mike Sciarra started surfing in the summer of 1964. Mike had a fond love for the ocean that continues to this day. He started surfing when he was 12 and you can still find him riding the waves at the Jersey Shore. Mike attended the University of Hawaii and earned a degree in business that has helped his company thrive. Mike also learned the art of shaping and glassing surfboards from the masters who lived at the North Shore.
Once Mike had returned from the University of Hawaii he needed to figure out two things: How to make money? How can I surf doing that? So, in the summer of 69 Mike had begun shaping surfboards out of the back of his garage to earn some profit. He started to realize that there may be a market in surfing and began drawing up plans for expanding his garage business structure. He took his idea and started a small surf shop at 4611 New Jersey Ave in Wildwood, NJ. At this location he continued to shape and glass surfboards with the help of Scott Grider. He mentioned the key to any business is taking the growth slow. He didn’t want to expand and over-do himself which in the end may have destroyed his dream. Instead the business kept growing from year to year.
In the late 70’s Mike decided to take a chance and developed the Kona skateboard line. In thought this was a great idea that could have generated numerous amounts of money and recognition. Sadly though this only lasted 2 years. He said, “There just was not enough capital there”. I guess you never know until you try. What ideas that may have been long shots in the minds of many sometimes turn into gold mines, so the risk is worth taking a shot. Even though the skateboards did not pan out, Mike had the big picture still in mind. Each year expansion was thought of more and more.
It’s moving day… In 1979 Mike moved into the present location on Rio Grande and New Jersey Avenues in Wildwood, NJ. Only half the store was used for Kona at the time because the other was filled by another store. By 1982 Mike had fully expanded and bought the current building. The entire building was his playground and ready for action. He renovated the entire place and open for business. Mike & Dee Sciarra alongside life long friend and manager Tony S continued grow the business. Not only did they sell surfboards, they now sold bikes, footwear, sunglasses and apparel. What was once a small garage business in the back has now come full force into a thriving business that all would come to love.
Times always change and a business that ignores that usually gets left behind. Wildwood, NJ has always been a tourist town and Kona’s main business comes during the summer months. Was this it? Was the business just going to be 3 main months a year? Then my son Chris came to me with an idea. The type of idea that can get the Kona name known worldwide. Start an online catalog for Kona. So in 2004 with my sons Chris and Brendan along with my brother Pete leading the way, Konasports.com was launched. Konasports.com has been tremendous. We have so many customers from all over the world that visit our brick-and-mortar shop in Wildwood. After there vacation our relationship is gone until next summer. That is not the case anymore. Now we can serve our customers from the friendly confines of their very home. One click and a credit card away we are at your door delivering your favorite Kona products.
In 2011 Kona Surf & Sport undergone a major renovation. The store now looks more like a modern day surf shop. Wood floors and wood over hangs highlight what the store has become. Mixed in are flat screen tv's over the registers for customers to watch while they wait in line. The new and improved Kona Surf & Sport and Konasport.com are now set to bring Mike into the future of business. At the end of the day Mike started this business for his love of surfing and business. In 2010 Kona celebrated its' 40 year anniversary. It has been an up and down adventure that no one could have predicted, but Mike is still doing what he dreamed of doing and what this business has aloud him to do. He's still surfing...