Shore 2009: Gear

Boards, bikes, and whatever else you need to play

A few spots even amateur athletes need to know: Friendly, family-run Heritage Surf and Sport (based in Sea Isle, with branches in Ocean City and Margate) is known for its surfer gear—including hand-shaped surfboards made in-house by Brian Heritage—its ginormous sandal selection, and a ridiculously prime storewide sale at the end of the season. (Renters also hit up all three locations for boards.) Ever since charming art/surf stop Pine Surf Shop and Gallery tragically burned down in January, Farias Surf & Sport, with locations in Ship Bottom, Beach Haven and Surf City, has pretty much ruled LBI as the sole serious go-to for surfers in search of the best boards, for sporty types looking for bikes or kayaks, and for renters. The place loans out everything, from boards, surreys, wet suits and bikes to go-karts, beach chairs, baby cribs and rollaway beds. The huuuuge SunCatcher in Stone Harbor is a trove of apparel—surfboards, bike racks, swim caps, big and thirsty towels, Volcolm and Roxy suits, and beach bags and the like, while the Avalon Surf Shop is a smaller version of the same. (Heritage Surf and Sport, 3700 Landis Avenue, Sea Isle City, 609-263-3033, 744 West Avenue, Ocean City, 609-398-6390, and 9223 Ventnor Avenue, Margate, 609-823-3331; Farias Surf & Sport, 28th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, Ship Bottom, 609-494-7368, Taylor Street and Bay Avenue, Beach Haven, 609-492-0200, and 5th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, 609-494-8616; SunCatcher, 9425 2nd Avenue, Stone Harbor, 609-368-3488; Avalon Surf Shop, 2249 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-7115)

If you just want to lay hands (rears?) on some wheels for the day, bike rental shops abound. Try the AAAA Bike Shop in Ventnor (where a half day is $10, and you can sign up for a spin class if the pavement’s not for you), or Cape May’s Village Bicycle Shop, which seemingly just blossomed from a rundown garage into a great bike emporium. It supplies wheels for single riders (with baskets and bells, of course), bicycles built for two, and surreys. (AAAA Bike Shop, 5300 Ventnor Avenue, Ventnor, 609-487-0808; Village Bicycle Shop, 605 Lafayette Street, Cape May, 609-884-8500)