Photos and story by Casey Koteen and Micah Abrams

Shop openings of old used to involve a keg of beer and hibachi barbecue. Not anymore. These days it’s all about red carpet, paparazzi, star power, and, of course a room full of flatscreen TVs pumping out amazing surf flicks like Windows and the snowboard movie Revolve. Rip Curl’s flagship shop opening in Santa Monica last night provided all the elements, and then some.

“Rip Curl needed a flagship store and Santa Monica is a perfect fit,” said Rip Curl Mountainwear brand director Dan Warbrick. “It’s a big city, but there’s world-class surf all around here. We’re very happy with how things are going with the store.”

Set in the posh Third Street Promenade area, the opening attracted a bevy of action sports and mainstream celebrities. While many press releases for openings like this often claim all sorts of big stars are “confirmed to attend,” Rip Curl actually delivered some of them. Okay, so Nikki Hilton didn’t make it, but Nicole Ritchie did, as well as Andy Dick, and a bunch of other Hollywood and rockstar type folks. And let’s not forget the action-sport athletes as well.

Snowboarders Chris Coulter and Andy Finch—who flew in for about twelve hours in between competition heats at the Grand Prix in Park City—were there, as was America’s sweetheart: 13-year-old Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton, who is recovering nicely after losing her arm in a shark attack several weeks ago.

Young surf guns like Julia Christian, Andrew Gahan, Kekoa Bacalso, and Mikey Klein were all socially lubricated.

And of course, Rip Curl staffers like CEO Jimmy Olsson, team manager Scott “Pod” Baneulos, Mike Makos, and Caroline Lindsell were representing, as well as so many more.

Not a bad afterparty either at a club a few doors down. The smart and hairy folks at Freeze magazine premiered The People vs. Brad Holmes, and then danced the night away.

The shop looked sharp, thumbs up to Rip Curl for a good multimedia set-up, as well providing an abundance of dancing ladies. Definitely the proper way to break the floor in. Nice job fellas.