Shannon Hampton from Innerlight said she just filed a claim for Innerlight’s surf camp losses, and that the process was extremely confusing.
“It’s a bunch of gibberish we don’t really understand and we have to go through old records,” she said, adding that they started filing claims on June 16th and got their first meeting with a BP official this past week.
(Right: Innerlight Surf Camp.)
Luckily for Innerlight, camper losses and cancellations are easier to prove than estimated lost sales.
Tim Carr at Fluid Surf Shop in Fort Walton, Florida got lucky and received his May claim in less than a month. But he also said the process is slow.
“We just have to keep submitting a claim a month,” he said.
With claims coming in slowly and retailers suffering, some brands are being more forgiving when it comes to receivables, but most shops say they haven’t heard directly from manufacturers.
“A couple of companies have called because I can’t pay them,” said Johnny Mcelroy of Blonde John’s. “FCS and Gorilla grip have called because they are concerned. Volcom has called and Rip Curl has called. Some of bigger companies don’t (seem to) care, but we appreciate the help we have gotten.”
(Right: Johnny McElroy of Blonde John's.)
Fluid Surf Shop’s Tim Carr said some brands have talked him out of buying goods, or “are afraid we are going to go out of business,” he said. “Others brands, though, have said they’d help us get through it. Guys like FCS and Channel Islands have said they’ll help us in any way they can.”
William “Boog” Cram from Ohana in Galveston said his Volcom rep has been checking in. “He checks in like clockwork once a month,” he said.
Every shop I spoke to said they’d love to get support from the brands. On July 1st, Jimmy Buffet hosted a free benefit concert in Gulf Shores that brought a lot of people to the area.
Matt Hampton said he’d love to get some surf musicians, guys like Timmy Curren or Donavan Frankenreiter to come play in the area. “No companies have contacted me, but just the last week I shot some emails to our rep at Billabong and he is forwarding some info over to California,” Matt said. “Along with economy being still down, I am sure it’s hard for people to reach out to us, but it would be amazing if we could get some people down here to support us.”
“The big thing is just work with us,” added Mcelroy. “I owe money to a few companies and we had already a bad January and February and now we have oil on our beaches. We’ll pay you, but times are really tough and we are all on this together.”
See page 4 for impact of oil dispersants on surfers