Located near the USC campus and not too far from Owens Field Skatepark, Salty's Board Shop is a one-stop shop for a new board, repairs and style from the Pacific.
Bringing the So-Cal skate and surf vibe to the Columbia area has always been a dream of owner Paul Goff's, who said he was inspired by his time living in California, Hawaii and Oregon. Salty’s sells skateboards, surfboards, beachwear and gear for other outdoor sports needs from over 280 brands, including Free People, Billabong, RVCA, Penny, Santa Cruz and more. It stands out on Devine Street as a hot spot for the skateboard and surf lovers of Columbia.
"We march to the beat of a different drum, especially on [Devine Street]," Goff said.
Goff said he loves running the outdoor goods shop — and loving what you do is a firm belief of his.
“I love surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, windsurfing, all that stuff," Goff said. "To do something for a living and make a living out of it and love it is kind of a rare thing."
To him, this means giving back to the community. Goff said he freely chooses how he wants to help individuals and the community, including doing fundraisers and other events.
"We also carry a lot of brands that have humanitarian causes behind it," Goff said. "I want to be able to give back, rather than just to be a store too, you know, feels good."
Salty's employee Emily Hepworth said she loves the environment of Salty's with its mellow atmosphere, good music and passionate customers.
“I get to work with really great people,” Hepworth said.
Part of the atmosphere includes people skateboarding around the store. Salty’s allows customers to test out boards before they buy them, and Hepworth said she encourages customers to skate in the store when looking for a new skateboard.
"We always suggest they actually, you know, try the board, and they just kind of — like this guy right here. See?" Hepworth said as someone skated by in the shop.
Salty's holds a wide variety of boards to try out. Hepworth said her favorite to sell and most recommended is the Landyachtz boards, cruiser boards that have unique designs on them.
Growing up in Columbia, Hepworth would come to Salty's to get a pair of Rainbow sandals, calling it a “local treasure” of the area. She said it's cool to see how much Salty's has grown but still stayed true to its roots and genuine self.
Customer Capone June said that while he might not live in Columbia, he would certainly go to Salty's more if he did. June said he was attracted to all the different types of skateboards in the shop and would definitely come back to either buy a new deck for his board or a shirt from Salty's.
Columbia isn't the only place to find Salty's. The original owner of Salty's Board Shop set up shop in 1982 in Ocean Isle, North Carolina, following with locations in Florence and Columbia. Goff bought the Columbia location from the original owner 18 years ago, and it is now individually owned by him and his family.
"I love the environment here, and I get to work with really great people like Paul and his family," Hepworth said. "They're so cool."
Salty's is even "cool" enough to have a visit from the production crew of the Netflix show "Outer Banks."
About a year ago, Goff unknowingly welcomed a producer from "Outer Banks." Goff said the man visited Salty's to buy gear and clothing for a TV show but could not announce the name of it at that time. Goff said he noticed, almost a year later, that a lot of the stuff on the show looked like it came from Salty's, and he liked seeing the store's merchandise on the TV show.