Joe Roper Surfboard Repair
1460 Morena Boulevard,
In the old days, when he practiced his art out of the wooden shack behind the old Gordon & Smith shop at the foot of P.B. Drive, tracking him down was a dice roll. His work area was in sight of the ocean, and, if the waves were good, the shaman was too busy dancing with the forces of nature -- usually at Big Rock -- to poultice your board's wounds. For the last dozen years or so, Roper's Surfboard Repair has been housed in a ramshackle industrial building behind a used-car lot in Bay Park. And now Roper, 20 years and 50 pounds beyond his attack-dog prime, is a businessman. Several young guys up to their elbows in fiberglass dust move among the boards lined in triage along walls and on racks. Sure, anybody with some catalyst, a little filler, and a piece of 80-grade sandpaper can repair a ding. But Roper resurrected one local's favorite Rich Pavel fish after it took a deck-crunching tumble over the boulders at Bird Rock. He charged 80 bucks, but hey -- four years later, yellowed with age, it's still watertight.