Today we’d like to introduce you to Billy Meistrell .
Billy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My father, Bill and uncle, Bob Meistrell were raised in Boonville, Missouri and moved to Manhattan Beach, CA in 1944. Even in Missouri, they were fascinated with the water. As kids, they fashioned a dive helmet out of an oil can and bike pump and would explore underwater world in a pond. After they moved to California, they became interested in diving & surfing and became Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Bill and Bob each bought one third of the local sports shop Dive N’ Surf, owned then by surfboard shaper Hap Jacobs and dive entrepreneur Bev Morgan. They had a passion for teaching scuba diving, surfing and pretty much anything included being in or around the ocean. In 1953, Bill went to Bedford, Virginia where he found the insulation used in the back of refrigerators, neoprene, and the first practical and commercial wetsuit was born. The Meistrells designed and tailored their own brand of wetsuits. In the beginning, the wetsuits were named the Dive N’ Surf Thermocline. Shortly after that Body Glove was launched to support their full line of wetsuits. Dive N’ Surf is now a 4 generation family business.
Has it been a smooth road?
Most family businesses don’t make it one generation. All of our advisors told us to sell and that we would never make it past the first generation. We have now made it four generations and really it’s two family businesses since it was started by twin brothers. Though not everyone works in the family business, Bill and Bob’s great grandkids are starting to grow up with a love for the ocean just like all of us. The 50-80s were great decades of building a business and innovating and creating. My father and great uncle would always be asked if they fought about work. And they would say every day but the next morning they were there to open the store together and getting back to doing what they loved. I have been so lucky to have been raised in a family business that I loved as was passionate for because for me, I am excited when Monday comes around because I know I get to be back down at the shop talking about our history and helping customers. Retail is getting and harder with ecomm business growing. We continue to try to be creative and really make Dive N Surf a destination that people come to for anything they need for their waterspouts activities.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Dive N’ Surf – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
We sell products for surfing, diving and the beachgoer. We teach scuba diving on site. We have a full array of rentals including kayaks, stand up paddleboards, surfboards. We have the Island Diver boat in the harbor for scuba lessons, scuba trips, and fishing trips. We fill dive tanks- one of the last places to get air filled in the area.
Known for a rich heritage, and being in the South Bay for 67+ years
Still, a family business that lives by the values that Bill and Bob started: Good customer service & selling products at a fair price. I am most proud of being a product builder, innovative, being creative. I am proud that Dive N Surf is still around and we have made it this long. I recently started creating products out of condemned scuba tanks. At Dive N Surf now, you can buy repurposed dive tanks that have been fashioned into cell phone charging stations, pots, bells, bowls, etc. I am a huge fan of the bell and always say when you ring the bell, you are saying hi to your loved one up top.
We are a 67 years old company. Our customers walk in the door decades later and remember all of their memories. We have parents and grandparents bringing in their kids showing them the same experience of coming in when they were younger to learn to dive.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Best: What I love about this city is that it has so much history, especially when it comes to Dive N’ Surf and my father and uncle. For our 60 year anniversary, the city put in a statue of Bill and Bob at the Sea Side lagoon. Bill and Bob are looking out over the ocean. I think that the harbor is one of the nicest, quaintest harbors there are. The Body Glove boat still sits in the harbor, the same boat that my father and uncle shared. My daughter got married this June on the boat in a small ceremony. It is a very special place for our family. When we go out on the boat, I just think of all the times my dad would hop on a boat and go out on a new adventure. Because the history is still there, their passions still live on in our family.
Least: Traffic 🙂
- Address: 504 N. Broadway
Redondo Beach, CA
- Website: www.divensurf.com
- Phone: 310-372-8423
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org