Tom Peterson channels his passion for cycling and experience as a competitive racer into running his shop. Hoping to create a hub for cyclists of all experience levels, he’s gathered a team of cycling enthusiasts and seasoned mechanics to assist customers and perform a range of services that include repairs, tune-ups, and custom bike building. Their inventory of products from brands such as Shimano, Bianchi, Garmin, and 3T helps cyclists gear up for rides or find the perfect gift for their bike’s birthday.
Skateboarding shop Gravity Sports first flipped the open sign in 1976. If it catered to any other sport, this might not be terribly notable, but at the time skateboarding was just establishing itself as an organized, competitive activity and emerging industry. Since it was the first such shop in the state, Gravity Sports can honestly consider itself as something of a pioneer. The things that established it as a go-to resource for the area's early skateboarders—a skate-obsessed staff, deep inventory of brands—continue to help the shop thrive today. It's long since expanded into boards for surfaces aside from asphalt, including those for frothy ocean waves and powder-covered ski runs, and keeps its clientele safe with many options for helmets, other protective wear, and tune ups. The shop's decades of continued commitment has earned it a top-five ranking in KING 5’s Best of Western Washington’s skate-shop category.
Each of Cascade Paddle Boards’ fiberglass standup paddleboards are made the same way: by taking a blank EPS foam board, adding a hardwood stringer in the middle of the board for stability, covering the board with fiberglass cloth, and wrapping everything in an epoxy resin. The result is a lightweight, yet durable board that has been tested in all types of water—on both smooth and choppy waves found in rivers, lakes, ponds, the ocean, and fish tanks. The boards are sanded down to sizes of 12 feet, weigh 30 pounds, and are recommended for paddlers up to 220 pounds.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that range from baseball and football to snowboarding, skiing, and ice skating. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pickups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
For more than 15 years, the company’s Seattle outpost has fused the best aspects of a family-owned business and a national franchise. The friendly staffers can pinpoint the best gear for hitting nearby ski slopes, but they're also able to tap into a nationwide stock of new and gently used sporting goods.
Owned and operated by veteran competitive swimmer David Tait, Evo Swim School leads fun, structured classes that tutor young pupils in the watery arts. The classes start swimmers at a young age, introducing babes as young as 9 months to the water, and range up to lessons in advanced strokes that prep 12-year-olds for competitive swimming. The school sets parents' minds at ease with low student-to-teacher ratios; entry level and intermediate classes have one instructor in the pool for every four students.
During classes, parents are free to relax in the WiFi-enabled waiting room, where pool-overlooking windows provide an easy way to keep an eye on paddling young'uns. A kids' play area is also on hand to keep water-shy siblings and rust-prone sibling bots occupied while their amphibious brethren frolic in the water.
Todd Welter learned to surf before he learned to drive, and to this day the board seems to be his preferred mode of transportation. A native of the Oregon coast, he hasn't been able to shake his longtime lust for the sport; in turn, he opened up Wave Hounds, which helps surfers of all stripes acquire a board, find their footing, and set out into the blue.
Wave Hounds carries new and used boards from brands such as Bing, Webber, and Aloha, as well as wetsuits, surf wax, and other accessories that let everybody know you’re not a skateboarder that didn’t see the end of the pier. The store also rents out surfboards and paddle boards. Todd himself holds lessons at Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park, where students can practice their skills on land before venturing into the water to surf the way the Pilgrims intended.