historyiws

Mission

Island Water Sports is located in Deerfield Beach, on the east coast of South Florida. At Island Water Sports surfing is not just our business, it's our blood. We are owned and operated by second and third generation surfers and skateboarders. Kirk Cottrell opened the shop in 1978. His son, Cheyne, took his first steps as a child inside the store and now Cheyne oversees the operation with the help of his mom, sisters and close family friends.

While overseeing the shop, Cheyne also mantains a professional surfing career. Many of our other staff members are also top rated amateur and professional surfers, which ensures that we have the most up to date product knowledge and experience! We have the most comprehensive selection of products in South Florida, for all varieties of action sports. We have dedicated our lives not just to surfing and skateboarding, but to serving the local and traveling surfer and skateboarder. We are always ready and willing to offer advice on products or just swap stories after a session.

History

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Island Water Sports was first opened on October 20, 1978 in Pompano Beach, behind McDonalds, off Atlantic Blvd. With $15,000 and about 500 sq. feet the venture was begun.

That first year was very difficult. Being “off the beaten path” combined with the fact that we really didn’t know what we were doing, sales were slow and break-ins were common (we had nine that year - without insurance!).

However, we persevered. We also learned that the location we were in was very localized and so we decided to move the store to Deerfield Beach, where we took over the lease of an existing surf shop (750 sq. ft.) whose owner didn’t enjoy his customer base (mostly young people!). It was September, 1979, and things started to happen. It was the year Hurricane David came through town. Of course, everything was closed except our surf shop as the waves were good and our customers needed supplies. We thank the Lord for a grand opening sale boost.

In 1982 we moved the store to the east, closer to the beach, and expanded it at the same time to approximately three times it’s size. “Surf” (the beach look) and sales grew and even that space, which we thought when we first committed to the lease was way too big, was becoming too small. We expanded again and again and again, taking more space, building a loft and building out the back to it’s present location of approximately 7,000 + sq. ft.

The 80’s were a time of incredible sales increase and Island Water Sports branched out by forming a franchise company. At one time we had twenty-six IWS stores! However, unknown to us, difficult times lay ahead.

1989 was the bubble before the burst. Sales were booming, money was cheap and the owners were leveraged. Then the 90’s hit. Sales went down, people wanted to be paid and the owners found themselves deep in debt. It was time for humble pie. We recommitted the company to the Lord (now that it wasn’t worth anything!) and got back to our surfing roots. In 5 short years we were miraculously able to pay off all our debt and began to re-establish ourselves with a more conservative approach to business, having learned our lesson.