Business Matters: T&C Surf

For Craig and Ryan Sugihara the road to success has always been like trying to catch the perfect wave. 

Knowing when to back off and knowing when to go all in.

“You always want to be doing something that you love,” said Craig. “I never thought I would end up this way. It just happened, it happened really quick.”

Craig started the company with a single store back in 1971. He took over his friends old barber shop.

His monthly rent? $75. His passion: the art of shaping. 

“So I learned how to just by watching,” said Craig. “I just stripped this old board in my neighbor’s backyard. He gave it to me and I stripped off the fiberglass, reshaped it and that was my first board.”

Today, Town & Country is a world recognized designer of surfboards with seven stores on Oahu and a brand and logo that is recognized around the globe.

“We have licenses in Japan, in Brazil, New Zealand and Australia and they make the product in their country and sell it with our label,” said Craig.

But despite their growing success, T&C Surf has always been, and always will be local and the business plan simple. 

“Slow and easy,” said Craig. “Having the right staff, having the right location, living the surf lifestyle as we know it and keep on going.”

Keeping it going is now up to craig’s children who vow to stay the course, and learn from the past.

“Same thing like the dad says,” said Ryan. “Ride the wave, might be barreling real fast and it might slow down, so you just got to adjust. When I first got into the business 9/11 hit. So that was a big challenging time for us and a really challenging time for Hawaii. So I’ve seen ups and downs already.”

Ryan knows nothing will be handed to him. 

“I work hard for sure. But yes, we’re looking for that right opportunity. We will jump on the opportunities that we can,” said Ryan. 

He says his vision to success can be found right there in the company logo. 

“I see the yin and the yang and the balance,” said Ryan. “You need to balance your life…we’re going to go for it when we can, and when we feel like we need to keep it going. But always balance off and look for the opportunities. We’re gonna work hard and play hard.”