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Seaside Stories

Sharing the Stoke With Surf Shop Owner Josh Gizdavich

February 17, 2023 | by Michelle Kehm

SEASIDE SPOTLIGHT: Our latest profile in a series focused on the behind-the-scenes movers who make Seaside the unique destination it is today. Next. Previously.

 

It’s not uncommon to see swarms of neoprene-clad surfers shredding the frothy waves at the Seaside Cove these days, but it wasn’t always that way. When Josh Gizdavich — owner of Seaside’s legendary surf gear and rental shop Cleanline — started surfing at the Cove when he was a teenager, he and his buddies were often the only ones in the water. 

Seaside’s surfing scene has grown since the days when Gizdavich and his crew had the waves to themselves, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the excitement and community of the surfing lifestyle, also known as the “stoke.” This is what Gizdavich shares with every customer who visits his shop.

Seaside Local With a Surfing Habit

Born and raised in Seaside, Gizdavich started surfing in the 1970s, and it quickly became his obsession. When he and a friend opened the first Cleanline surf shop on Seaside’s First Avenue and Holladay Drive in 1980, it was to serve the needs of a small community. “There were maybe 20 people in the area who surfed, so I would order gear, try it out and then recommend it to everyone,” Gizdavich says.

The pair opened the original Cleanline with nothing but six wetsuits and one case of surf wax. When customers would come in to buy a wetsuit, they could try one on for size but would have to wait weeks for their special order to arrive. Gizdavich simply didn’t have the space — or money — to keep anything stocked. 

By the mid-1990s, Gizdavich was successful enough to open a second Cleanline in Cannon Beach, and by the end of the decade, he launched the online store. In 2010 he moved the original Cleanline shop into its current space on Roosevelt Drive and Highway 101, allowing it to grow into a full-service sales and rental shop. It features an impressive selection of surfing gear and a killer lineup of Patagonia fleece, rain gear, sunglasses and skateboards.

As Cleanline paddles toward the horizon of its 43rd anniversary this year, it might seem like everything has changed since the days when Gizdavich hung out with his friends in the original Cleanline shop. Gizdavich insists that nothing has changed at all. “A lot of the surfers who would come into the old Cleanline now have kids and grandkids that come into the new shop to buy wax or a new leash or just to get the surf report,” he says. “Some of the people who work here have been here almost 20 years, so we’re still like one big family.”

 

Sharing His Passion With the Community

Gizdavich’s enthusiasm extends into the greater Seaside community, as well: He’s a longtime supporter of Seaside Kids Inc., which provides athletic gear to active youth; Cleanline hosts a food drive every year for the local food bank; and Gizdavich has adopted a stretch of Highway 101 near a popular surfing beach in Oswald West State Park.

Gizdavich is proud that he’s been able to make a living doing what he loves and sharing his passion with everyone who visits his store. “Anyone who walks through our door, surfer or not, we make them feel as welcome as an old friend,” he says. 

Gizdavich — who still gets in an occasional surf session before work when the conditions are good — has no plans for retirement. He expects that when the day comes that he can’t be on his feet all day, he’ll still be at Cleanline, sitting near the front door, greeting customers and sharing stories about his collection of vintage boards hanging from the ceiling. Even after 43 years, Gizdavich is all about sharing the stoke.

 

Tips for Keeping the Stoke Alive

It’s easy to have fun, be safe, and keep the good vibes flowing in and out of the water with these surfing insights from Gizdavich.

Before you head out to the Cove, stop into Cleanline for a report on conditions. Be aware that  rip currents can be dangerous if you’re not a strong paddler. 

Novice surfers should start off on a boogie board. You can instantly have fun, and the rush of the water will make you feel so good.

Be mindful of the other surfers in the water. You don’t want to paddle out right in front of where everyone is surfing.

Paddle out with a smile, and if you see someone get a nice wave or do a nice turn, give them a hoot. 

and so much more!

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