Joe Roper has become a well-known personality in the San Diego surf community over the past 40 years. As a kid growing up in the "dog town" era of surfing and skateboarding, Roper got to be pretty well known for his ability in and out of the water. He was an avid skateboarder in the 1970s and split his time between the waves at Crystal Pier and skating in the local alleyways of the beach community.
By the late '70s, Roper had started repairing surfboards behind San Diego Surf Shop so he could save money to go surf the legendary waves of the North Shore of Oahu. He had already established himself at the heaviest La Jolla reefs and was ready for a new challenge. By 1976, Roper had his tube-riding act mastered and took that act on the road to the world's heaviest wave: Pipeline. He charged into waves that most humans wanted no part of and the industry watched and took notice. Soon Roper got the invite to be in the prestigious Pipeline Masters.
Between surf trips, Roper worked hard to build a successful business and became very involved with the Windansea Surf Club (For more than 30 years, Roper has been excited to give back to his community with sponsoring and volunteering his time for surf contests, BBQs and fundraisers all to help local nonprofit organizations.) By the mid '80s, Roper had moved into his first freestanding location at Pacific Beach Drive. Located next to the old G&S Surf shop, Roper was a stone's-throw from the water's edge and was kept busy with repairs, surfing and fun. But soon Roper was going to be starting a family and he knew it was time to rev-up the business. He soon moved into a location off Morena Boulevard, where he spent the past 25 years repairing and restoring surfboards. In 2014, Roper knew it was time to grow once again and he recently moved his business into a state-of-the-art repair and glassing facility in Kearny Mesa.
This is the dream shop that Roper has been working so hard for these past 40 years. It's a journey that has the majority of his family involved with the business. His wife, Kim, and daughter, Sara, help run the shop and back-end stuff while son Jojo has followed his dad's footsteps by charging huge surf and works in the shop, doing anything and everything that needs to get done. His easy-going style is a nice juxtaposition to his father's intensity. The two of them are peas in a pod and the banter between them is priceless.
The new location is 7760 Vickers St. Roper is better equipped than ever to provide fast repairs, board restoration, custom surfboard glassing, fiberglass and repair materials and even has a small retail shop to provide accessories and clothing for his stoked clientele. Roper has done anything and everything when it comes to fixing all things made of foam and fiberglass, from repairing boards for surf industry titan Greg Noll to repairing a friend's motorhome. If you have an old board lying around in need of repairs, drop by and see Joe, you might be surprised at how good it will turn out.
To learn more about Joe Ropers Repairs check them out on Facebook and on the web at joeropersurfboardrepair.com
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him your thoughts about the surfing world to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.