HONOLULU (KHON2) — What started as a passion for surfing has grown into a well-known industry brand. Craig Sugihara founded Town & Country Surf Designs more than 50 years ago.
There’s been a recent change to his position but not to his passion.
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For Sugihara, the past 50 years happened in the blink of an eye.
“And time really goes by fast when you’re busy,”
His company, Town & Country Surf Designs, has six retail locations on Oahu, including one at Pearlridge Center. It’s just a few blocks away from the company’s first store.
“I want to give credit to my staff because it’s always the people that make the company — to give the customer service that we require,” said Sugihara.
The business grew out of Sugihara’s love for the ocean and surfing, which he started when he was 15 years old.
“And that feeling of that first wave that free feeling experiencing that you’ve never experienced like that’s why they say only a surfer knows the feeling, but it’s very addictive,” said Sugihara.
Sugihara went from renting boards to shaping them. Then in 1971, he opened his first shop. And for five decades, surfing, helped him create the balance he needed to weather the ups and downs of running his own business.
KHON2 asked him what does it mean to stay stoked?
“The stoke comes from a surfing, slang, it’s just that feeling of being happy, doing what you do in every kind of venue sport, you can be stoked,” replied Sugihara.
Sugihara is now 75 years old. He recently decided to step back from the business, giving the reigns to one of his two sons, Ryan. This gives Sugihara more time to enjoy life, which includes playing golf and doing home repairs. And of course, surfing, which he still does, several times a week.
He said, “I think it’s easier when you’re younger and strong but I think anyone can start later, they just have to be smart about it, like going with a little longer board so it’s easier to paddle.”
He says you also need to be physically fit. So when he isn’t surfing, he walks, bikes and lifts light weights. Sugihara also began eating a lot of plant-based meals. He remains focused on his health while enjoying more downtime as he continues to ride the wave of success.
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“To survive it all, and do well, for us, it’s an accomplishment,” said Sugihara.