A Local Legend: Live Water Surf Shop and its Famous ‘No Shark’ Logo

Live Water Surf

Gracing everything from car bumper stickers to sweatshirts and hats, Live Water Surf Shop’s iconic “No Shark” logo is recognizable far beyond its Marin County roots.

The logo, which features a great white shark in a red circle with a slash across it, was designed by Live Water Surf Shop founder Kirby Ferris back in 1981, when great white shark sightings that summer closed Stinson Beach, where the shop is located, for a number of days, disrupting business. Missing the beach, local surfers soon slapped the stickers on their bumpers in a show of solidarity, and since then, the logo has made its way around the world, according to current Live Water Surf Shop owner Brenna Gubbins. “People come to the shop from all over, and we also sell online, so we’re constantly sending gear with the logo to other states,” Gubbins says. One thing Gubbins wants to clarify however, is that in no way is Live Water Surf Shop anti-shark. “We love sharks, just not when we’re surfing, please,” she laughs.

When Gubbins bought Live Water Surf Shop from Ferris’ ex-wife in 2007, she found it filled with a treasure trove of old issues of The Surfer’s Journal, article clippings and art by local artists — a legacy she intends to preserve. Although she added a second location in Fairfax in 2013 that sells skateboards and gear in addition to surfboards, wetsuits and beach attire, the Stinson location is still located in historic Avilla’s Barn.

Gubbins says not a lot has changed since the shop’s early days (it opened in 1978), much to the gratitude of loyal locals and visitors alike. “We get tourists from all over the world and other states, and many people come in to share stories about what the shop has meant to them,” she says. “Throughout the years, so much has remained the same. It’s a well-oiled machine that’s continued on for so many years, and I’m just overseeing it now.”

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Lotus Abrams

Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.