The Santa Barbara Surfing Museum is closing this weekend after more than two decades in the landmark Funk Zone a block from the beach.
Gidget, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Reynolds Yater, and more are featured in the displays that are a journey through a surfing time machine.
The museum at 27 Helena Ave. just off Cabrillo Blvd. is going to be cleared out by curator and owner Jim O’Mahoney. He is an honored surfing and skateboarding champion.
The rare collectibles are now going to be cataloged and put up for sale. The space will be leased. O’Mahoney says it will help him make ends meet these days.
The museum also has vintage surfing posters from events, movies and concerts.
Along with surfing comes skateboarding in the Southern California culture. With that, there is a display of classic skateboards including some, customers have said were their ” first boards.”
It also has Ukulele’s and guitars that have created beach sounds and surf music for years.
“We’ve been in every major magazine and media and even Martha Stewart,” said O’Mahoney. ” It is a destination.” O’Mahoney says since he grew up in Long Beach he has been searching in odd places for collectibles. Some have been treasures discovered with no clue to their location. Others he has paid for.
As for the sale, some of the rare items he will miss, and some he will be just as happy to sell to a new owner who is also dedicated to preservation.
“This probably the best surf museum in existence right now, but it is time to go,” O’Mahoney says as he plans for his closing days.
Across the street from the museum the sweeping new multi story La Entrada hotel project and associated retail sites has a completion date targeted for summer.