For a fairly new shop, RSE has been around for ages. Raglan Surf Emporium may have only swung their doors open back in 2012 – but JC and Mel have been unknowingly planning it for over 30 years. Everything they’ve done has led to this point (even the hours behind the wheel chasing decent waves). From JC’s early days as a scruffy young shredder, to his years running Volcom down under – the beach and boards have never been far away.
It was back in the 80’s when JC first took to the Manu Bay waves as a competitive surfer. While he was battling his competitors and navigating ‘jump-rock’ at full tide, The Dead Kennedys could be heard drifting across the rocks from car radios. Those were the days.
JC’s love of surf, snow and skate meant there wasn’t much else he wanted to do – so it was lucky he met TB (makes a delicious brew and Founder of Raglan Roast, go grab a coffee down Volcom Lane if you’re in town). Together, the two of them worked on NZ’s first indoor mega skate park ‘The Skate Pitt’ in Wellington, 1986.
The Pitt proved to be a hit, and before long JC was off across the ditch to NZ’s West Island (or Australia as some like to call it), to set up the southernmost branch of Volcom. The international brand built on grungy design and good times went from strength to strength, and it was at this point JC met Mel. Mel was working as the Brand Manager for Burton, another epic sports brand. Now there’s a power couple.
Business was going well, but it was never really about the business. Volcom went from scrappy upstart to household name, which meant there were more opportunities to sponsor young athletes. You’ve probably heard of Bruce Irons, Ozzie Wright, Dean Morrison, Dustin Dollin and Kiwis Jay Quinn, Daniel Kareopa, Kelly Lovelock, Luke Cedeman and Olly Brunton – these are just a few of the world class athletes signed to Volcom at the time. But it wasn’t all about elite performance. This was a community that included everyone from the best of the best, to young surfers, skaters and snowboarders hitting it up for the first time – just like JC was a few years before (although by this point it was probably Pennywise blasting from the car speakers).
JC and Mel have always been known for their open door policy, giving up their home, couch and pretty much anything in their fridge to this rather large surf, snow and skate family. Everyone who comes into RSE knows, not a thing has changed.
In 2011 JC and Mel decided it was time for a change and they wrapped up their business with Volcom ,packed up the house and moved with their two sons to their favourite part of the world Raglan. Having been Involved with GAG Shop shop down Volcom Lane for many years this was to be their next venture to relaunch the store.It was while working within the store that they came up with the new name Raglan Surf Emporium seemed like the perfect word to describe the enormous array of surfing goods TB had collected over the years. This was their opportunity to combine their passion for surf culture with years of retail experience and it didn’t take long for Raglan Surf Emporium to make its mark locally – Sponsoring grass roots upcoming surfers, Navryn Malone,Tana Clapham, Brie Bennett, Kora Cooper, Josef Jungwirth and Maya Mateja and a wider community support for The Raglan Junior Rugby Club and Wakaama team Nekeneke.
Now surfers from near and far head their way for a bit of a shop and a bloody good chinwag. It’s fair to say JC and Mel didn’t know they’d end up here, but it’s as if they’d been planning it all along. So if you’re coming through Raglan don’t drop in, drop by and browse casually through the most curated range of legit clothes, hardware and surf tech this side of the high tide mark.